Magda Szubanski AO Actor and Activist
Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s most beloved actors, having graced our screens for many years as Sharon Strzelecki in the sitcom Kath & Kim. She has also appeared in the award winning film Babe and its sequel, Happy Feet and even a national tour of Grease: The Arena Spectacular.
Magda has received many accolades throughout her career and is a regular in the top ten list of people whom Australian’s most like and trust. She also wrote a book, Reckoning, in 2015 which dealt with her journey of self-acceptance and has helped countless LGBTIQ+ people and their families. In 2013, Magda came out on national TV and has been an active and high profile campaigner for LGBTIQ+ rights ever since.
She has become a patron of Twenty10 and The Pinnacle Foundation, volunteered at the Orlando concerts in Melbourne and Sydney and has spoken at Marriage Equality fundraisers. She frequently voices her support for Marriage Equality and LGBTIQ+ rights on national television, including on shows like Sunrise, The Today Show and Q&A. She has spoken at rallies, lobbied politicians and has added her name to public petitions against the plebiscite.
Daniel Kowalski OAM Retired Olympic Swimmer
Daniel Steven Kowalski is an Australian former middle and long-distance swimmer specialising in freestyle events. He competed in the Olympic Games in 200-, 400- and 1,500-metre individual freestyle events and in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, he was the first man in 92 years to earn medals in all of the 200-, 400- and 1500-metre freestyle events. He was an Australian Institute of Sport scholarship holder.
Kowalski announced his retirement from competitive swimming on 8 May 2002. He studied sports marketing at Bond University, graduating in 2003. He was named as an assistant swimming coach at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2007, and also won the 2007 Pier to Pub 1.2 km open water swim held annually in Lorne, Australia.
In February 2004, he was the host of an overnight program on SEN 1116 with former South East Melbourne Magic basket-baller Andrew Parkinson. In May 2007 Kowalski appeared as one of the celebrity performers on the celebrity reality singing competition It Takes Two.
Bob Brown & Paul Thomas Activists and Environmentalists
Robert James “Bob” Brown is an Australian former politician, medical doctor, and environmentalist who is a former Senator, and former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens. Brown was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, joining with sitting Greens Western Australia senator Dee Margetts to form the first group of Australian Greens senators following the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 2001 and in 2007. He was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party.
Bob resigned as leader of the Greens in 2012, and now dedicates his time to environment and human rights activism, with his long-time partner, Paul Thomas, a farmer and activist whom he met in 1996.
Bob and Paul set up the Bob Brown Foundation to promote environmental awareness.
Ro Allen Gender and Sexuality Commissioner of Victoria
Ro is Victoria’s first Gender and Sexuality Commissioner. Ro has over 20 years’ experience in community services, governance, social justice and LGBTI+ advocacy. Ro was the former Chair of the Victorian Adult, Community and Further Education Board and a commissioner on the Victorian Skills Commission.
As founding CEO of UnitingCare Cutting Edge, Ro established Victoria’s first rural support group for LGBTI+ young people and a state wide network facilitated through the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for training and workers support.
Ro is the former Deputy Chair of the Hume Regional Development Australia Committee and former Chair of Communities for Children in Shepparton. Ro was appointed to the first Victorian LGBTI+ Ministerial Advisory Committee in 2001, chaired the second and served on the third Committee concluding in 2014. Ro was a member and later co-chaired the National Working Party for GLBTI Social Reform established from 2011 to 2013.
Ro is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was recognised for community service in receiving a Centenary Medal in 2003. In 2009, Ro was inducted into the Victorian Government Honour Role for Women.