Families Australia Policy Forum and AGM

I am pleased to provide an update on the Families Australia Annual General Meeting, which was held on Monday 21 October 2019 in Canberra. Prior to the AGM attendees heard an inspiring address by Dean Parkin on the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Dean was closely involved in the Referendum Council process that resulted in the historic Uluru Statement From The Heart, and he continues to advocate for constitutional and structural reform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Dean challenged us all to take action to advance the calls made in the Uluru Statement, including for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution (more here).

AGM and new Board

The subsequent AGM adopted Families Australia’s FY19 Annual Report including financial statements, here. It also appointed/elected the following persons to the Board, each for three year terms:

Founding Member and SNAICC – National Voice for our Children nominees appointed to the Board:

  • Australian Foster Care Association: Naomi Nicholson
  • Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia: Tricia Murray
  • SNAICC Voice for our Children: Kathleen Pinkerton

General Member nominees elected to the Board:

  • Australian Foster Care Association: Professor Morag McArthur
  • NAPCAN: Dr Sue Packer AM
  • Playgroup Australia: Fiona May
  • School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University: Dr Marilyn Casley
  • SNAICC – National Voice for our Children: Richard Weston
  • UnitingCare National: Simon Schrapel AM
  • YMCA Australia: Melinda Crole

Outside of this election process, Annette Michaux from the Parenting Research Centre continues on the Board as a Co-opted member.

Farewell to Prue Warrilow

The AGM also marked the conclusion of Prue Warrilow’s nine years as Chair of Families Australia. Many tributes to Prue flowed at the AGM and the subsequent farewell lunch. As I mentioned to attendees, it has been an immense privilege to work closely with Prue. I will miss her greatly.

Thank you to Members and supporters

As I wrote in my report, all of Families Australia’s achievements arise from a great team effort. I wish to thank all our Members and supporters, in particular, the Commonwealth Government Department of Social Services. I appreciate greatly the support, guidance and collegiality of the Board. I am fortunate to work with wonderful staff colleagues―Stella Conroy, Jennifer Horsfield, Elizabeth Hunter, Margaret Fisher, Dr Marian Esler, Eileen O’Brien and Fiona Langford―and thank them all most sincerely for their excellent work.