Graham Ashton

Graham Ashton, Deputy Police Commissioner, Specialist Operations.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) Officer for 24 years, Graham departed in December 2004 after attaining the rank of Assistant Commissioner. He had undertaken a diverse range of operational policing roles including the investigation of drug trafficking, organised crime and money laundering, which included a lengthy secondment to the former National Crime Authority. Graham served as an AFP officer in most capital cities in Australia holding a number of positions including directorial and management positions in Melbourne and Brisbane. Between 2003 and 2004, he was appointed to the role of National Manager, Counter Terrorism, with responsibilities for managing global AFP resources in the field of Counter Terrorism investigations.

In October 2002, Graham was tasked with Operational Command of the successful Australian Law Enforcement response to the Bali bombings, known as Operation Alliance. This was one of the largest police investigations Australia has conducted. Graham’s role as Police Forward Commander of this investigation resulted in him receiving an Order of Australia in October 2003. Graham left mainstream policing in December 2004, and accepted a position with the newly formed Victorian Office of Police Integrity (OPI), with responsibility for investigating and preventing police corruption in the State of Victoria. During his tenure as Deputy Director, Police Integrity, the OPI made more than 200 key recommendations for policing reform. In December 2009, Graham accepted a position on the Victoria Police Executive. After initially working as Director of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department, Graham then assumed the role of Director, Corporate Strategy and Governance Department, and in April 2009, commenced in the position of Assistant Commissioner, Crime. In that role Graham instigated numerous reforms designed to improve the Victoria Police response to serious and organised crime.

In February 2012, Graham was appointed Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations, with responsibilities that include oversight and management of Crime Command, Forensics Services Department, Intelligence and Covert Support Command, Legal Services Department and Road Policing Command. Over this time, Graham has led changes to the handling of child sexual abuse cases, cracked down on crime associated with Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, and initiated sport integrity reforms.

Dr Elaine Enarson

Dr Elaine Enarson, leader in international gender and disaster scholarship.

Personal experience sparked Elaine’s extensive work on gender, disaster vulnerability and community resilience following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In 1999, she conducted some of the first research to explore the link between domestic violence and natural disasters in the US and Canada. In addition to research publications, she co-edited The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women’s Eyes (1998), Women, Gender and Disaster: Global Issues and Initiatives (2009), and The Women of Katrina: How Gender, Race and Class Matter in an American Disaster (2012). Her book Women Confronting Natural Disaster: From Vulnerability to Resilience was published in 2012.

Elaine is a founding member of the Gender and Disaster Network and of the US-based Gender and Disaster Resilience Alliance. She initiated and directed the development of a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) course on social vulnerability, and the electronic Gender and Disaster Sourcebook project. While teaching disaster studies in Brandon University’s Department of Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies (Manitoba, Canada), she helped facilitate community resilience workshops and later developed a gender mainstreaming manual for emergency managers and an emergency preparedness workbook for women’s organisations. Currently, she is a Distinguished Teaching Fellow with the doctoral program in emergency management at Jacksonville State University, teaching on-line.


‘Sharon’ is a Black Saturday survivor who lost not only her home, but her relationship

Debra Parkinson and Claire Zara

Debra Parkinson and Claire Zara (WHGNE) launch the ‘Men on Black Saturday’ research report

Debra Parkinson is a social researcher, committed to feminism and social justice. She co-authored this research into men’s experiences after Black Saturday, and is currently a PhD candidate (Monash University) researching violence against women in the aftermath of the Black Saturday fires. Debra works for both Women’s Health Goulburn North East and Women’s Health in the North. She has completed research on women leaving violent relationships and partner rape, and Living Longer on Less: Women and superannuation. Current projects include a partnership project with the Women’s Legal Service Victoria to improve access to family law advice, entitled Women, Lawyers, Workers, and funded by the Legal Services Board, Victoria.

Claire Zara has been a researcher and health promotions worker with Women’s Health Goulburn North East since 2007 and is currently a PhD candidate at the Monash Injury Research Institute studying men’s experiences in the aftermath of Black Saturday. Claire’s past projects include A Powerful Journey: stories of women leaving violent relationships and Raped by a Partner, women and workers’ accounts of intimate partner violence. Her recent research into family violence after the 2009 Victorian bushfires has contributed to significant policy and practice change in emergency management services, and the development of a family violence after disaster training package for emergency services and recovery workers. She produced the DVD It’s Real, a dramatisation of the dangers of sexting, with young people from the Beechworth area.

Andrew Wilson-Annan

Andrew Wilson-Annan speaks of his experience of Black Saturday as a CFA volunteer

Andrew Wilson-Annan was appointed as General Manager, Strategy and Risk at Rural Finance Corporation on 9 May 2011. Andrew is a Director of St Luke’s Anglicare and also an active firefighter in the Woodend CFA since 2002, with significant participation in the 2006 Victorian Alps Fires and 2009 February Fires.

Prior to joining Rural Finance, Andrew worked with ANZ Banking Group Limited for 11 years occupying many roles in retail and commercial banking in Australia including Chief of Staff, Regional Commercial Banking and Head of Capital and Provisioning during the Global Financial Crisis. Andrew is an alumnus of the Williamson Community Leadership Program and Cranlana.

Andrew is an active member of his community in central Victoria, leading the development of a community strategic plan and the creation of a Victorian Business Recovery Network to assist practitioners working with businesses recovering from natural disasters and other business disruption.

Professor Bob Pease

Professor Bob Pease, Australia’s leading academic on masculinity studies. Bob Pease is Chair of Social Work at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia. He has been involved in profeminist politics with men for many years and was a founding member of Men Against Sexual Assault in Melbourne. He has published extensively on masculinity politics and critical social work practice, including four books as single author and eight books as co-editor, as well as numerous book chapters and journal articles. His most recent books include: Critical Social Work Theories and Practices for a Socially Just World: (co-editor, second edition, Allen and Unwin 2009), Migrant Men: Critical Studies of Masculinities and the Migration Experience (co-editor, Routledge, 2009) Undoing Privilege: Unearned Advantage in a Divided World (Zed 2010) and Men and Masculinities Around the World: Transforming Men’s Practices (co-editor, Palgrave 2011).

Dr Michelle Tuckey

Dr Michelle Tuckey, University of South Australia (filmed presenter)

Dr Michelle Tuckey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology, Social Work and Social Policy at the University of South Australia. She leads a program of research on work and well-being, focussing on occupational stress and workplace bullying. Dr Tuckey has won nationally competitive research funding, given plenary addresses at national conferences, and presented in invited symposia at leading international conferences. By invitation she currently serves on the editorial board of two international journals, and she is Chair of the Scientific Committee for the next Congress of the International Committee on Occupational Health – Work Organization and Psychosocial Factors. More importantly, Dr Tuckey’s research has been translated into policies and practices that protect the psychological health of workers, as evidenced by changes within the Norwegian national surveillance system for psychosocial risks, SA Fire and Emergency Services Commission, SA Country Fire Service, SA State Emergency Service, and NSW Police Force. She has a particular interest in emergency services, having served as a volunteer fire-fighter since 1996 and been involved in stress prevention and peer support for the SA Country Fire Service and, later, State Emergency Service since 1998.

Craig Lapsley

Craig Lapsley, Fire Services Commissioner for Victoria.

In 2010, after an impressive 30 year career in the Emergency Management sector, Craig was appointed as the first Fire Services Commissioner for Victoria. As the senior operational fire-fighter in Victoria, he exercises control over major fires as the permanent State Fire Controller and has legislative responsibility to provide leadership to the three Victorian fire services—the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). The Fire Services Commissioner role includes developing a three-year rolling reform program for the three fire services; developing and reviewing performance standards; developing and reviewing incident management training, development and accreditation; developing incident management facilities and systems; and managing the state control centre.

Earlier in his career, Craig was employed for many years with the CFA, concurrently serving as a volunteer fire-fighter, and attaining the rank of Deputy Chief Officer in 2007. That same year, he was appointed Director of Emergency Management – Health and Human Services, with state responsibilities for the health sector emergency response to major incidents including mass casualty, pre hospital (ambulance) and hospital surge capability, extending to the state co-ordination and management of Emergency Recovery arrangements for all emergencies. Prior to this, Craig was seconded to a number of positions, including Manager State Operations for the NSW Fire Brigades (Sydney) in 1996- 1998. In 2005, he was seconded to the Victorian State Emergency Service to oversee its transformation from a Government Department to a Statutory Authority, fulfilling the positions of Director and then Acting Chief Executive Officer.

Stephen Fontana

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana has been a member of Victoria Police for over 38 years and has spent the majority of his career as a criminal investigator, working at busy metropolitan Criminal Investigation Units, in the Crime Squads and on a number of high profile task force investigations. He also spent a number of years working at the Ethical Standards Department leading investigations into complaints against police and police corruption. He was promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner in charge of the State Emergencies and Security Department in early 2008. This involved him performing a significant role during the Black Saturday Bushfire Emergency and he has been instrumental in overseeing and implementing a number of key recommendations arising from the Victoria Police Bushfire Royal Commission. In June 2011, he took charge of the North West Metropolitan Region which delivers frontline police services for the largest region in the state (1.71 million Victorians living in 14 local government areas).

He commenced his current role as the Assistant Commissioner Crime Command on 1 July 2012. This role manages the portfolios of Sexual and Family Violence, Serious Crime, Organised Crime, and Investigations & Specialist Support across the state.

Mark Duckworth

Mark Duckworth is Executive Director, Citizenship and Resilience in the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), in Victoria. He is responsible for a range of policy, security, emergency management, community engagement, multicultural and public administration issues and chairs the Victorian Disaster Resilience Taskforce. National positions he holds include:

  • member of the Australia New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) and co-chair of its Implementation Steering Group. He also co-chaired the Working Group that prepared the National Disaster Resilience Strategy that was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in February 2011.
  • member of the Australia New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) since it was established in 2002 and co-chair of its Countering Violent Extremism sub-committee.

Mark is also a member of Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre Advisory Board. Before joining DPC, Mark worked at the Cabinet Office of New South Wales, the University of Sydney Law School and the Law Reform Commission of Victoria. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne in history and law.

In the 2007 Australia Day Honours he was awarded the Public Service Medal for his work in establishing the National Counter-Terrorism arrangements.

Daryl Taylor

With more than 20 years contributing to personal, organisational and community development, ‘integralevolution’ and ‘Resilient By Design’ founder, Daryl Taylor, has significant ‘whole systems’ project partnership brokerage and leadership experience. He initiated and led a national pilot project on Masculinities and Men’s Health in rural Victoria, evaluated service systems support for men’s health and welfare and has been a behaviour change and cultural development facilitator in Men’s Violence programs. Daryl’s participatory public health and social planning, anticipatory action research, and organisational and community development project work has been formally acknowledged with seven state and national innovation and best practice awards and commendations. His practice features prominently in VicHealth’s Local Government Good Practice Resource ‘Leading the Way.’

Peter Farrell

Peter Farrell has led bushfire management in north-east Victoria since late 2001 in both parks and forests, which cover around 1.5 million hectares. During this time, Victoria has faced some of the worst bushfires in living memory with the 2003 Alpine Fire, 2006 Great Divide Fire and 2009 Black Saturday fires. Peter’s role is to coordinate the response effort across the north-east and his experience has played a key role in reshaping the regional emergency management coordination arrangements in the region. In this role, he has overseen a substantial increase in planned burning to better protect communities and reduce the impacts of bushfires, with the area treated each year nearly doubled. This has involved some significant challenges—in particular bringing along key stakeholder groups impacted by smoke from planned burns.

Peter played a key role in the recovery phase from bushfires through ensuring assets on public land were repaired and replaced, as well as supporting affected communities. Importantly, he has ensured affected staff were, and are continued to be, supported, particularly in the Murrindindi part of the Region, and now in the upper north-east following the tragic deaths of two fire-fighters earlier this year.

Mark Somers

Mark Somers has worked in Emergency Services for over 25 years, the majority with Ambulance Victoria in many departments such as Air Ambulance, Quality Review Team and Driving Standards, and predominantly as a paramedic clinical instructor for 18 years. He is Captain of the Buxton CFA brigade and a wildfire instructor. He is a level 2 Incident Controller and has performed in many operational leadership roles such as Sector Command, Ground Observation and Task Force Leader at many of the recent major events including the 2009 Black Saturday Fires and 2011 Floods.

Mark recently worked at the Yarra Ranges Council as the Coordinator of Fire and Emergency Management Projects. Here he represented Local Government on several State committees on matters including the Vulnerable Person’s database and MECC Central Software. He developed a new structure for municipal emergency operations centres including introducing the AIIMS (Australasian Inter-service Incident Management System) across the Outer Eastern Metropolitan collaboration of Councils. Mark’s current role is the Manager of Regional Operations and Emergency Management at the Victoria State Emergency Service in Gippsland.

Euan Ferguson

Euan Ferguson is the Chief Officer of the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, with over 30 years fire and emergency management experience in rural fire and land management and rural fire services. He holds a Diploma in Forestry, an Honours Degree in Forest Science and a Master of Business Administration. He is a past Chair and current Board member of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC), and a past President of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority (AFAC). Euan worked in various field operational roles with the Country Fire Authority of Victoria during the mid 1990s, rising to the rank of Deputy Chief Officer and Deputy Director of Operations. During his time with the CFA, Euan led a multi-agency team that investigated the circumstances of the tragic Linton bushfire which claimed the lives of five CFA firefighters in December 1998. The recommendations from that investigation saw significant changes to training, systems of work and safety in the CFA and throughout the bushfire industry. In December 2001 Euan was appointed as Chief Officer of the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS). In 2003 he also assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer. Following the Wangary Bushfire in January 2005, he instigated Project Phoenix which brought about positive changes in CFS and rural firefighting in South Australia. Euan also managed CFS during the complex and long-running Coronial Inquest that followed the fire. The South Australian Coroner strongly praised Project Phoenix when the recommendations from the Coronial inquest were handed down in late 2007. In November 2010, Euan returned to the Country Fire Authority of Victoria as Chief Officer.