Benjamin Law Australian Writer and Broadcaster

Benjamin Law is the author of the memoir The Family Law (2010), the travel book Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012) and the Quarterly Essay Moral Panic 101 (2017). He is the editor of the anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia (2019) and creator and co-writer of three seasons of the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, based on his memoir. He has a PhD in creative writing and cultural studies from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

In 2019, Benjamin was named one of the Asian-Australian Leadership Summit’s (AALS) 40 Under 40 Most Influential Asian-Australians (winning the Arts, Culture & Sport category) and one of Harper’s Bazaar’s Visionary Men.

Every week, Benjamin co-hosts ABC RN’s weekly national pop culture show Stop Everything. He also co-hosts online startup and tech TV show That Startup Show, and you can catch him on TV shows like Q&A (ABC), The Drum (ABC), The Project (Ten), Filthy Rich and Homeless (SBS) and the ABC’s two-part ABC feature documentary on Chinese-Australian history, Waltzing the Dragon. He has also written for over 50 publications in Australia and beyond—including the Monthly, frankie, Good Weekend, The Guardian, The Australian, Monocle and The Australian Financial Review.

Benjamin co-wrote the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say (2014) with his sister Michelle, and the sex/relationships advice book Law School (2017) with his mum, Jenny. He was a researcher and associate producer on Blackfella Films’ Deep Water: The Real Story (SBS), and a writer on Endemol Shine’s Sisters (Netflix/Ten). His debut play, Torch the Place, (Melbourne Theatre Company) runs during February and March 2020.

Benjamin is based in Sydney. He is a Pinnacle Foundation Ambassador, Plan Australia Ambassador and Story Factory Board Member.

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.

Daniel Kowalski OAM Retired Olympic Swimmer

Daniel 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.

Dan 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.

Dan has been a dedicated and active advocate in the LGBTIQ+ community and campaigned extensively for Marriage Equality around the country.

Georgie Stone OAM Actress, Student & Transgender Activist

Georgie Stone is one of the most visible transgender individuals in Australia.

In 2011 she was the youngest person to receive puberty blockers in Australia, and in 2013 a landmark ruling in her case re:Jamie meant that no other child had to go to court to access puberty blockers. Since then, Georgie has dedicated her time to advocating for trans and gender diverse young people.

Her advocacy work has driven progress in health and medical services, access to safe schooling environments and legal reform. Many organisations, from schools to the NSW Police Force, use her appearances on Four Cornersand Australian Storyfor training and education. Her presence in the media has brought much-needed awareness to the issues facing trans and gender diverse young people today.

Georgie was named the 2018 Victorian Young Australian of the Year, and in 2017 she won the Young People’s Human Rights Medal awarded by the Australian Human Rights Commission. She is also the recipient of numerous other awards including GLOBE Person of the Year, Making a Difference Award (Anti-Defamation Commission), the Young Voltaire Award (Liberty Victoria), and Hero of the Year (Australian LGBTI Awards). As well as The Pinnacle Foundation, Georgie is also an Ambassador of the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service.

To our delight, Georgie was also awarded a Pinnacle Scholarship in 2019 to pursue a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English Literature and Theatre Studies.

Jessica Strutt – Journalist and Broadcaster

Jessica Strutt is a journalist and broadcaster with ABC Radio Perth. She worked as a political reporter in WA for more than a decade and has experience across all media platforms including print, radio, television and online.

Jess joined ABC News Perth seven years ago, after two years out of journalism working as a senior media adviser in government. Prior to making the recent decision to switch to a full-time radio gig with ABC, she was ABC’s chief state political reporter. She started her journalism career as a print reporter, which included five and a half years with The West Australian.

At WA’s daily newspaper Jess covered State politics for four and a half years before taking on the social and Aboriginal affairs round which had her travelling to many remote spots across the State. In 2010 was selected to travel to the USA on exchange to study the role of an independent media and journalistic practices as part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists.

Before entering journalism, Jess completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in politics and history at the University of WA. Her first full-time reporting job was in the Wheatbelt farming town of Merredin.

Jess grew up as one of seven children in the beautiful Perth Hills of WA where her love of family, community and nature began. She lives in Perth with her partner Lauren and their vertically challenged sausage dog Oscar. Jess loves jogging, bushwalking, and dancing like she’s 21 again in the ABC radio studio when she gets to play the odd dance track and thinks no one is looking.

Jess is a firm believer that people should be able to be true to themselves and that love conquers all – as evidenced by Australia’s same sex marriage vote.

Libby O’Donovan – Performer, Composer and Musical Director

Libby O’Donovan is a “powerful and sassy performer” (SMH), renowned for her nuanced interpretations and extraordinary voice. She is a critically acclaimed Jazz and Cabaret Performer, composer and an award-winning Musical Director.

Libby has entertained audiences world-over with her unique talents, performing in New York, Tokyo and Toronto as well as Australia-wide. Equally at home in small ensemble acts as well as solo performances, she has been a proud member of ARIA nominated Coco’s Lunch, Flat on Your Bacharach, and Women With Standards, for which she won a Green Room Award for Musical Direction.

Highly regarded as a solo artist, Libby has performed seasons for the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Edinburgh Fringe, Sydney Spring Festival, Perth International Arts Festival, the International Jazz Educators Convention, Adelaide Cabaret Festival (including working with Broadway composers Jason Robert-Brown and Andrew Lippa), Melbourne Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Feast Festival and the Hindu Festival in India.

Her theatre credits include Matthew Robinson’s Metro Street, Doppio Parallelo’s DJ Squat, Contaminations Lab and The Last Child, Vitalstatistix’s Way Dead Cool and Patch Theatre Company’s Sharon Keep Ya Hair On! Libby’s recent body of work in Cabaret includes Kate Leigh – The Worst Woman in Sydney, UNSUNG, Get Back, The Cowgirl and The Showgirl.

As a recording artist she has featured on numerous Jazz, Cabaret and Country albums, as well as her critically acclaimed self-penned albums The Complication, Home To You and her latest album, Back to Broken Hill. Libby is also highly in demand as a composer, arranger and musical director.

“Libby O’Donovan, impressive as always, is engaging, cheeky and unquestionably one of the hardest working singers in Australia. Her richness of vocal range and emotion-filled song interpretations are captivating and instantly engaging.” Rip It Up

Narelda Jacobs News Presenter

Narelda Jacobs has been a journalist at Network 10 since 2000 and has presented 10 News First Perth for the last 11 years. She is the first Aboriginal and openly lesbian newsreader in Australia. In March 2019, Narelda co-hosted SBS’s national broadcast of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. She is also a regular panellist on The Project and Studio 10 and has shared the stage with the prime ministers, international leaders and humanitarian advocates. Narelda has been honoured as one of Australia’s 25 Most Influential Gay People.

Community and family are of absolute importance for Narelda. She once described how the love she receives from her Indigenous and queer communities empowers her to speak out against discrimination. “I do belong to some of the most beautiful communities that you could ever imagine. And I’m just completely embraced by both of those communities.” Narelda wants any person who belongs to a minority to know that, “you can always reach into your own community and get a hundredfold of love back and support back. The love that you get from that minority outweighs anything that you could feel from any discrimination – know that you’re on the right side of history.”

A patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association WA, Narelda is also an Ambassador for The Pinnacle Foundation, the Disability Services Commission and Breast Cancer Care WA. She lives in Perth and is a proud Mum to daughter Jade.

Ro Allen Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities, Victoria

Ro is Victoria’s first Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities. Ro has over 20 years’ experience in community services, governance, social justice, and LGBTIQ+ 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 LGBTIQ+ 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 LGBTIQ+ 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.

The Honourable Justice Thomas Bradley

The Pinnacle Foundation’s first Queensland-based Ambassador, Justice Bradley was born in Cairns. He was educated at St Bernard’s School and Clairvaux College in Brisbane and, in 1987, graduated from the University of Queensland—Bachelor of Laws.

In July 1989, his Honour completed articles of clerkship at Morris Fletcher & Cross and was admitted as a solicitor. On 1 July 1991, he was appointed as a Senior Associate of the firm, which later became Minter Ellison. As a solicitor, his practice was in commercial litigation and, later, corporate advisory. He served on secondment in corporate counsel roles for Cable & Wireless Optus, Incitec, Department of Transport and Shell Australia.

On 1 August 2000, Justice Bradley commenced practice at the private Bar in Brisbane. On 14 November 2013, his Honour was commissioned as Queen’s Counsel. At the Bar, his Honour’s practice was predominantly in commercial disputes with a particular focus on economic regulation, competition, energy and resources and construction.

Justice Bradley was a member of the Bar Council (2016-2018) and Treasurer of the Bar Association of Queensland (2017-2018). His Honour was a Deputy Chair of the Competition & Consumer Committee of the Law Council of Australia Business Law Section (2011-2014). His Honour has been a member of the Supreme Court Library Legal Heritage Sub-Committee since 2013.

Justice Bradley is the Queensland honorary correspondent of the Selden Society. Founded in 1887, the Selden Society is a learned society and publisher, formed as a charitable trust, to encourage the study and advance knowledge of English legal history. His Honour has presented three papers for the Selden Society: Dr Simpson and the Origins of the Qld Courts (2013), Innocent Diversions: Legal Dress (2015) and The Dobell Case (2016).

Justice Bradley was a part-time lecturer in Industrial Law at the University of Queensland (1993-1996) and the Queensland University of Technology (1992-1994). In 1994, he published The New Employment Law. His Honour is an Honorary Life Member of the University of Queensland Law Alumni Association.

Before appointment to the Court, Justice Bradley was a member of the practitioner panel of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, having served as a sessional member of QCAT (2009-2011) and the Commercial & Consumer Tribunal (2004-2009).

Justice Bradley is a long-term supporter of the arts and literature and is the chair of the Brisbane Festival Giving Committee, which raises funds to commission new work, tour international performers and support independent artists at the Brisbane Festival. He was President of Access Arts (2013-2019), a body working to support access to the arts for people with disability or disadvantage since 1983. He is deputy chair of the Brisbane Writers Festival, the second longest running writer’s festival in Australia, which for 57 years has been bringing communities together to debate, share experiences and celebrate the power and wonder of literature. He is a member of The Australiana Fund Queensland committee. His Honour formerly served on the Council of the National Library of Australia (2014-2018) and the Foundation Committee of the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art (2013-2019). He remains a patron of the National Library and a vice-patron of the QAGOMA Foundation.

His Honour maintains an active interest in the visual and performing arts. His own arts career peaked at age 9, when his Honour won second prize in charcoal drawing at the Mount Gravatt Show and played Eric the Red in Vic the Viking.

Justice Bradley is a Fellow of the Royal Numismatic Society and a member of the Royal Queensland Historical Society.

Justice Bradley was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 2018 and Ambassador to The Pinnacle Foundation in October 2019.