2010 Speakers

Fair Share Festival Speakers
Speaker Biographies


Professor William (Bill) Mitchell
Prof Bill Mitchell holds the Research Chair in Economics at the University of Newcastle. He is the inaugural director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE). He has published extensively on wage and price inflation, unemployment, modern monetary macroeconomic theory and policy, and regional science. He is on the management Board of the ARC Research Network in Spatially Integrated Social Science (ARCRNSISS).
Title: What caused the financial crisis and what we need to do about it for a sustainable future. The presentation will investigate the underlying factors that caused the recent global financial crisis. It will show that the problems began a few decades ago when we accepted that the role of government was to deregulate financial and labour markets and diminish its own role in the economy as an employer and manager of overall economic activity.
This neo-liberal era set in place the pre-conditions which manifested finally with a near collapse of the entire global financial system. The talk will argue that the approach now being taken is short-sighted and will re-create the conditions that generated the crisis. The solution lies in a thorough reconstruction of the way we see the economic role of government.


Bronwyn Grieve
Bronwyn and her husband Max have lived many years in Mayfield, privately and in community, trying to use the systems in society to advantage all! These activities have ranged from within the family, to the local schools, businesses and numerous volunteer roles.
They included setting up mayCARE community Centre, serving on the Mainstreet committee, working towards a public park revitalisation by the community, and setting up a community bank.


Circus Avalon – John Campbell
We offer a workshop in circus skills, or a play session with circus toys, depending on how you see things. We have been teaching people how to unicycle, juggle, balance on each other and hula hoop for 25 years.
Its fun, challenging and a wonderful way to relax in a supportive group.

Col Roach
President    Bonnells Bay Progress Association Inc. Public Officer    Southlake Business Chamber & Community Alliance Inc Chairman (Marketing Sub Committee)    Bonnells Bay & Districts Community Bank Committee Member Southlake Integrated Healthcare Committee Committee Member    Morisset Hospital Bowling Club Born in Albury NSW; 30 Years in the Oil Industry; Self employed for 20 years; retired in 2008. always had an interest in Local Government affairs through family connections. Other Details – Bendigo Bank The Bendigo Bank in Bonnels Bay is currently, like Mayfield, going through the Pledge stage where they promise to take a shareholding in the Bank. At the conclusion of the Pledge stage we will move to the Feasibility Study stage which will be conducted by Independent Consultants to ascertain if the proposal stands up financially. There are currently 250 Community Banks in Australia backed by Bendigo Bank. Bendigo Bank has been around for about 150 years, initially as the Bendigo Building Society and dates back to the Gold Mining days in Bendigo. Bendigo Bank is now the 5th largest bank in Australia, is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and was voted “Bank of the Year in 2008/2009.The Community Banks are operated as Franchises of Bendigo Bank and Shareholding is limited to 10% so that no one shareholder can dominate the Share Register. This is not the case with the Majors whose Share Registers are dominated by the “Institutions”

David Whitson
From the age of seven, David learnt magic from reading books at his local library. He was a teenage member of the Magic Department of the Young Peoples Theatre in Newcastle, and has a Degree in Drama. David is a professional magician, performing at schools, preschools, festivals, clubs, shopping centres, churches, as well as birthday parties. He was a winner of Bert Newton’s National Television Program: ‘New Faces’. David is a past winner of Newcastle’s ‘Magician of the Year.’ David is the current President of the Newcastle Society of Magicians.

Graeme Stuart
Graeme works as a lecturer/facilitator at the Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle, and is active in Transition Newcastle and Lambton Public School P&C. He first became involved in the peace movement in the early 1980s and has been involved in many community groups and organisations and he loves facilitating workshops.
Asset Based Community Development: an introduction. 1 hour Workshop The workshop will be a brief introduction to Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). ABCD is an approach to community building that focuses on the strengths and assets of communities rather than focusing on the problems and deficits. While we don’t ignore problems, we concentrate on identifying and mobilising community assets. ABCD can be a powerful tool for harnessing community resources.

Harvey Purse
Harvey studied Industrial Relations and Sociology at the Universality of Wollongong and became heavily involved in student politics and local community action in the Illawarra. This involvement continued in both local community campaigns such as the Redfern Community Save Our Station Campaign and larger campaigns such as the anti-apartheid movement in the 80’s, and the anti-nuclear movement from the 80’s onwards. Harvey has worked as lighting operating (theatre and rock and roll), Immigration Officer, Sydney Water Officer, Trade Union organiser (CPSU and ASU) and is currently the Trade Justice Campaigner at AFTINET.

Helen McCall
Helen is the Executive Officer of the Co-operative Federation of NSW Ltd. She took on that job some years ago because she felt that the situation in regional Australia was getting very difficult and that the only solution was co-operation. Since then things have only become more challenging and she still feels that co- operatives provide an ideal vehicle to empower individuals who have few tools to enable them to change their environment. In a previous life Helen practiced as a Chartered Accountant. She lives on acreage in the Hunter Valley.
Democracy in action – the co-operative solution


Associate Professor Jenny Cameron
Associate Professor Jenny Cameron is a member of the University of Newcastle’s Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, and the Community Economies Collective, an international network of scholars and activists. She has been researching community economies for almost fifteen years, particularly collaborating with community groups to develop community economy initiatives or contribute to strengthening existing initiatives. She is a keen backyard and community gardener, and is a founding member of Silsoe Street Community Garden in Mayfield. Jenny reckons there is nothing better than sharing backyard and community garden produce with friends, neighbours and colleagues.

    Building a Sustainable Food Future: Lessons from the Hummingbird

In Dirt!: The Film, Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Africa, tells the story of the tiny hummingbird who fights a huge bush fire, drop by tiny drop, of precious water. What can the little hummingbird tell us about ways of building a sustainable food future? In this paper, I overview the range of hummingbird-like initiatives that people are already working on in Newcastle and beyond to build a viable and sustainable food future. I highlight how these initiatives draw on diverse economic practices, and in so doing contribute to ethical people-centred and environment- centred economies.

Lee Rhiannon
Lee is an Australian politician, having joined The Greens NSW in 1991 and elected to the NSW parliament in 1999. In June 2009, Lee ran as the lead candidate on The Greens NSW ticket for the Senate at the 2010 Federal election, and won a seat to take effect next year.
Lee holds a strong personal belief that social change and environment protection come from people’s movements, not politicians. In her inaugural speech to NSW Parliament she said, “This Parliament makes the law, but it is the people who make history”.
Lee has three adult children and lives with her partner in Sydney.


Dr Louise Crabtree
Dr Crabtree is an urban geographer specialising in urban sustainability and housing affordability. Her research focuses on the social, ecological and economic sustainability of community-driven housing developments in urban Australia, on the uptake of housing innovation in practice and policy, and on the interfaces between sustainability, property rights and democracy. Current research focuses on complex adaptive systems theory in housing, and on models of perpetually affordable housing including community land trusts. Louise is driving the exploration of community land trusts as a model of perpetually affordable housing and land stewardship in Australia. In 2009 Louise was awarded the Housing Minister’s Award for Early Career Researchers

Mark Fordham
Mark Fordham is a proud Aboriginal man and LHMU member from the NT who was sacked by the Barkly Shire Council in April 2010 after taking a strong stand for his people. Mark is a passionate advocate for an end to racist policy and the creation of properly resourced employment programs for Aboriginal people that vitally necessary to help drive community development in Australia’s most impoverished communities. He has personal experience with the NT Intervention that has stripped the community of its assets and lands and seen the majority of municipal workers laid off.
Mark will speak about the devastating impact that massive job losses through the NT Intervention have had on communities. He will also talk about experiences of the Labor government’s new Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme which is forcing Aboriginal people to work long hours for their Centrelink payments, half of which are ‘quarantined’ onto a BasicsCard. In some cases, people are receiving less than $4 cash per hour.

Mary Yaager
Mary Yaager has been with the Labor Council for seven years and prior to joining the Labor Council Mary was employed by the Health and Research Employees Association. She has responsibility for all of the Labor Councils’ Occupational Health and Safety & Workers Compensation policies This involves working closely with the unions to develop OHS campaigns adequate policies and procedures for particular industry sectors.
Mary provides information to unions and their delegates on all aspects of workers compensation and OH&S, including assisting unions in with disputes in the Workers Compensation Commission. Mary also provides training to unions and their delegates on workers compensation and Occupational Health and Safety.

Robert Pekin
Robert Pekin is . the Executive Director of the Food Connect Foundation, . on the world committee of URGENCI (the global organisation for fostering Local Solidarity Partnerships between Producers and Consumers), . the Co-founder of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance, . founding member of Ecological Agriculture Australia and . is on many Food, Fibre & Agriculture working groups. Robert is also on the
Leadership Council of the Social Enterprise Coalition and is a mentor for the emergence of the Social Business Concept. Robert completed his Permaculture Design Certificate in 1994 with David Holmgren and has been a guest lecturer and speaker on the future of sustainable food systems around the world.
Over the last 15 years he has researched and set up numerous Community Supported Agriculture systems (CSA’s) around Australia and North America constantly improving the model for distributing food to be convenient for both farmers and city folk to participate in and be scalable without losing it’s community values.
The Food Connect Foundation has pioneered a business replication system that is seeing the model spread autonomously throughout Australia. Food Connect won the prestigious Banksia Peoples Choice Award and the QLD Gov Climate Smart Leadership Award in 2009

Roshni Sharma
Roshni Sharma is an environmental and social scientist researching sustainable consumption. She is passionate about her garden, meditation and yoga. She unites these areas in her quest to more deeply understand the spiritual and psychological sides of Permaculture.


Dr Shann Turnbull
Dr Shann Turnbull is Principal of the International Institute for Self-governance and a Patron of Economic Reform Australia, and also of the Fourth World Review. Dr Turnbull is a prolific, internationally recognised author in socio-economic reform. He has founded, directed and managed many organizations, three of which have traded publicly. Examples of his writing include ‘Building Sustainable Communities: Tools and concepts for Self-reliant economic change’, and ‘Democratising the Wealth of Nations’. Some Memberships Founding Life Member & Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors; Senior Fellow, Financial Services Institute of Australasia; Founding member Australian Employee Ownership Association;


Dr Ted (F. E.) Trainer
Ted Trainer is a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Social Work, University of New South Wales. His main interests have been global problems, sustainability issues, radical critiques of the economy, alternative social forms and the transition to them. He has written numerous books and articles on these topics, including The Conserver Society – Alternatives for Sustainability; Saving the Environment – What It Will Take; Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain A Consumer Society; and The Transition to a Sustainable and Just Society. He is also developing Pigface Point, an alternative lifestyle educational site near Sydney, and a website for use by critical global educators http://ssis.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/

Tree Frog Permaculture
Tree Frog Permaculture designs and builds permaculture gardens (see http://treefrogpermaculture.com.au/) and runs workshops on Permaculture and sustainable living.  It is run by Chris Wallis and Lachlan Storrie who gave a festival workshop with “closing the loop – why we can’t afford linear systems”, and “natural pest control systems for your garden”.

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2 Responses to 2010 Speakers

  1. Oh no! Tree Frog Permaculture was forgotten off the list! Don’t worry, you can check out our bio on our website – Treefrogpermaculture.com.au – follow the link to “Who are we”

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