Dr Brian Babington, Chief Executive Officer

Dr BriaBriann Babington has worked for over three decades for stronger communities, families and individuals in Australia and developing countries, particularly in Asia. Since 2005, he has been CEO of Families Australia, a national, not-for-profit peak body that advises the Australian Government and Parliament on ways to assist the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families and children.

 

 

National and international roles

Brian’s other current national roles include:

His current international development-related roles include:

Qualifications and awards

Brian’s tertiary awards are PhD (Australian National University, Crawford School of Public Policy), MA (University of Sydney), BA (Hons.) (University of Sydney), Graduate Diploma in Management (Central Queensland University), and Graduate Diploma in Community Counselling (University of Canberra).

His doctoral dissertation investigated the dynamics of public policy change with a particular focus on marginalised children in Indonesia. His study, For the benefit of children alone?, explored the political, economic, cultural and other factors that motivated the Indonesian Government to adopt a policy during the 2000s ostensibly to reduce the number of children living in orphanages (it is estimated that up to 500,000 children reside in 7,000 children’s institutions in Indonesia, known as panti asuhan).

Brian received the 2015 Central Queensland University Outstanding Alumnus Award for his contributions to the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families in Australia and internationally. As a 2008 Sir Winston Churchill Fellow, he examined multi-jurisdictional child protection systems in the US, UK, Ireland and Canada, bringing back to Australia many lessons that assisted in developing the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020.

He is a regular interviewee on radio and writes on contemporary social issues. A selection of his publications is set out below. In addition to published works on contemporary child protection issues in Australia, his book about managing loss and finding greater meaning in life—Bouncing Back (2003) or (Italian edition) Come riprendersi dalle mazzate: le cose che fanno bene quando stai male (2008)—was inspired by the phenomenologically-based works of Carl Rogers, Erich Fromm and Viktor Frankl, and his own experiences and training as a counsellor.

Early career

Brian’s interest in community development commenced when, as a young diplomat in the 1980s, he directed Australia’s aid program in rural and remote parts of Burma (Myanmar), seeing first-hand how education directly improved people’s lives. Later, as a senior diplomat in Australia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, he represented Australia at four annual UN General Assemblies on aid, humanitarian, public health, economic and environmental issues, as well as on the Governing Council of the UN Development Program and on the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). He played a leading role in negotiating some of the earliest UN resolutions to boost the UN’s resources to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

As Deputy CEO of the Australian Heritage Commission in the 1990s, Brian helped to promote community understanding about the importance of conserving Australia’s natural, Indigenous and built-historic heritage places. In the early 2000s he founded an innovative social venture firm that built partnerships between private sector and community organisations, particularly in the field of Indigenous leadership development.

Brian has held leadership positions in many international, national and local community development and allied professional organisations.

  • At the international level, he served as Vice-President of the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program, one of the world’s largest aid and emergency relief organisations.
  • Nationally, he has been Deputy Chair of the Australian Families and Children Council, adviser to the Alliance for Forgotten Australians, member of the Australian Children and Family Roundtable and the Australian Council for Children and Parenting, member of the Australian Government carer payment review taskforce, Chair of Food-Share Australia, and Chair of the 2006 National Child Protection Conference.
  • In the Australian Capital Territory, he has been President of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, as well as President of Parentline, a counselling service for parents and carers.

Selected publications

Babington, BK (2016), ‘What road ahead? Directions and challenges for the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020′. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal. Issue 44 (April 2016)

—— (2015), For the benefit of children alone? A discourse analysis of policymaking relating to children’s institutions in Indonesia, 1999-2009. (PhD dissertation through the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra).

—— (2013), ‘Vision splendid or desert mirage? The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children’. Communities, Children and Families Australia, Vol. 7 Issue 1 (Dec 2013).

—— & Bessell, S. (2012), ‘Our kids deserve a champion’. The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 2012

—— (2011) ‘National framework for protecting Australia’s children: perspectives on progress and challenges’, Family Matters, No. 89

—— (2010) ‘A lantern on the stern: drawing inference from the way we protect children’, Communities, Children and Families Australia, Vol. 5 Issue 1 (May 2010).

—— (2008) Come riprendersi dalle mazzate: le cose che fanno bene quando stai male, Sperling & Kupfer, Milan.

—— (2008) ‘Anticipating 2009: The year the nation joins forces on child protection’, Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal, Issue 22 (Summer 2008).

—— (2008) An examination of multi-jurisdictional child protection systems in the UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA’. Report to The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia

—— (2008) ‘At last, an acknowledgement of child-abuse crisis’, The Canberra Times, 27 May 2008

—— (2007) ‘Family wellbeing’. ABC Radio National interview (21 June 2007)

—— (2003) Bouncing back: how to overcome setbacks, become resilient and create a happier life’. Finch, Sydney (available through Amazon).

Speeches and media

Child safety & wellbeing: latest national developments and next steps
Address to Families Australia national forums on the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020, Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane
March 2017

National campaign on child safety and wellbeing: progress and next steps
Address to the FRSA National Conference 2016, Canberra
1 December 2016

Families Australia: today and tomorrow
Address to the Families Australia Annual General Meeting, Canberra
7 November 2016

On lifelong learning and family: the lady who wrote history essays
Convocation address to the Central Queensland University Graduation Ceremony, Sydney
15 September 2016

National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children: Progress, directions and challenges
Address to the ACWA Conference, Sydney
15 August 2016

Promoting child welfare and rights: challenges and ways forward – Indonesia and Australia
Address to Save the Children’s ‘Families First Learning Event’, Jakarta
27 July 2016

Towards a more Child Aware nation
Address to the Child-Safe, Child-Friendly Conference, Bathurst NSW
28 June 2016

Envisioning a better future
Address to the Child-Safe, Child-Friendly Conference, Bathurst NSW
28 June 2016

Champion of Families: Priscilla Crighton discovers how Brian Babington became one of Australia’s biggest advocates for Families and Communities
Be: Issue 23, 2016. CQUniversity Australia

Making child safety and wellbeing everyone’s business
Address to the Child Aware Approaches Conference, Brisbane
24 May 2016

Supporting change for the better
National Families Week address to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, Canberra
20 May 2016

Bouquets and brickbats: on the work of peak family-related organisations
Address to the Families ACT 10th anniversary celebrations, Canberra
10 May 2016

Towards a brighter future for child safety and wellbeing. How? When?
Building Stronger Australian Families policy forum, Sydney
2 May 2016

Building Stronger Australian Families
Policy forum address to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, Canberra
11 April 2016

National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020: latest developments
Address to Building Stronger Australian Families policy forum, Melbourne
29 February 2016

Children’s institutions in the global south: overcoming barriers to deinstitutionalisation
Address to Save the Children, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
23 February 2016