Dr Cassandra Goldie | CEO | Australian Council of Social Service
Dr Cassandra Goldie is CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, the peak body for the community sector in Australia, and the national voice for people experiencing poverty and inequality. She is a leading advocate on economic and social policy, a regular media and public commentator, and a highly respected human rights lawyer.
Cassandra has an impressive track record as a successful reformer. Representing the community sector in major national public policy debates, including at the Prime Minister’s recent Economic Forum, the National Tax Forum and in the Superannuation Roundtable, her advocacy has helped achieve the major reduction of unfair tax breaks on superannuation in the last Federal Budget, and a range of progressive tax reforms. She has also played an important role across business, community, unions and in the media to build national consensus on the need to improve low paying income support payments, improving job prospects for people locked out of paid work, action to deal with Australia’s worsening housing affordability crisis, climate change, and reforms to promote a strong, independent civil society. Cassandra was also centrally involved in delivering historic gender equality reforms, including Australia’s first paid parental leave, pay equity and ASX corporate governance standards, as well as sexuality law reform.
Cassandra has a Masters of Law from the University of London and a PhD from the University of New South Wales. She is a member of the National Legal Assistance Advisory Board, Australians for Affordable Housing, and the Southern Cross Climate Coalition, and was a member of Australia’s Not-For-Profit Sector Reform Council.
She has worked globally as a human rights advocate, including through the United Nations, the Commission on the Status of Women, and UN Habitat. She also has grassroots legal practice experience both as a legal aid lawyer, and as Director and Principal Solicitor of the Darwin Community Legal Service in the Northern Territory, which won the National Human Rights Award for Community Service during her leadership.
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine | Deputy CEO and Director of Sector and Stakeholder Engagement
Tessa joined ACOSS in 2009 with policy responsibility for community services, health and the not-for-profit sector. She has been Deputy CEO since 2011. Through her role at ACOSS she has participated extensively in policy processes with government, the community sector and the business community. She was appointed by the Minister for Health to the National Advisory Council on Dental Health in 2011 and in 2013 she was awarded the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Non-Profit Leadership.
Prior to joining ACOSS, Tessa held policy, research, advocacy and management roles in the areas of human rights, mental health law and criminal justice, both domestically and internationally. In 2007 she coordinated the biennial human rights report to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Uganda, 2007) where she was based in New Delhi and worked across the Commonwealth of Nations.
Tessa’s PhD from the London School of Economics examined executive discretion and the public protection agenda in decisions about the release of mentally disordered offenders. Her book, Protecting the public? Detention and release of mentally disordered offenders was published by Routledge in 2010.
Peter Davidson | Senior Advisor
A recognised expert in social security, employment and tax policy, Peter's research and policy interests include employment assistance, the labour market and unemployment, income support, poverty research, taxation and superannuation policy. He has served on a number of Government advisory bodies and contributed to major reform efforts in these areas. ACOSS publications prepared by Peter cover such topics as reform of the personal income tax system, an analysis of tax concessions for superannuation and proposals to make them fairer, and reform of employment assistance for long term unemployed people. He is currently undertaking a PhD in social policy at the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre.
Penny Dorsch | Publications and Information Officer
Penny is responsible for ACOSS publications, both electronic and print. She undertakes research and is responsible for Information Management at ACOSS. Prior to joining ACOSS, Penny worked in Information Services at Fairfax Media and as a consultant for the National Parks Association. She has an MA (Information Management) from the University of Technology in Sydney and is an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).
Ro Evans | Policy Officer
Renata Franz | Executive Assistant to the CEO
Fernando de Freitas | Media and Communications Coordinator
Fernando comes to ACOSS after a career in journalism and as a political advisor, both in Australia and overseas. He spent over 10 years producing daily radio programs for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Local Radio and Radio National in Sydney and Darwin. He also worked in ABC newsrooms and filed news stories from East Timor during the period of Independence between 2000-2002.
More recently, Fernando was part of the successful Australian Greens 2010 election campaign serving as a Media Advisor to Greens Senator's Rachel Siewert and Scott Ludlam. Fernando is committed to social justice issues and human rights and has been with ACOSS since in 2010.
Emily Hamilton | Policy Officer
Emily joined ACOSS in April 2012 to deliver a research project examining the impacts of climate change, including increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events, on the community services sector and the individuals and communities they support, which was funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). In April 2013 she was appointed as a permanent member of the ACOSS policy team. Emily’s policy work now focuses on sector development and community services, building the sector’s resilience to climate change and extreme weather impacts, and issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers. Emily holds a First Class Honours degree in Social work from the University of NSW. She has worked in the community services and welfare sector since 2004 and has extensive experience in direct social work practice, social research, project management and policy analysis. Previous roles include casework at the Asylum Seekers Centre of NSW, human rights advocacy at Amnesty International Australia, and research at the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and the UNSW School of Social Work.
Shannon Longhurst | Administrative Assistant
Shannon provides administrative support to the ACOSS office. Shannon has a range of professional and volunteer experience working within the not-for-profit and community sector, and has recently completed a Bachelor of Socio-Legal Studies (Hons Class I) at the University of Sydney. Shannon has previously worked within a community legal centre and has experience working as a research assistant. She currently sits on the NSW Branch Committee for Amnesty International Australia and is NSW Co-ordinator for Linkz Incorporated; a youth focused not-for-profit established to foster connections and partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
Andrea Pape | Project Manager, Energy Efficiency Pathways
Andrea has worked in sustainability programs, environmental regulation and community development before joining ACOSS in 2012. Andrea’s original training included a Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University and Graduate Diploma in Information Technology, which have provided a strong foundation for systems analysis and project/policy design. She has worked in state Government agencies for 12 years, including the NSW Department of Energy Utilities and Sustainability, and more recently the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage where she delivered climate change funding programs to industry, local government and community groups. Most recently, Andrea worked on the Home Power Savings Program, and partnered with the community/welfare sector to deliver in-home energy efficiency assistance to low income households. Andrea is delighted to be managing ACOSS' Energy Efficiency Pathways project.
Jacqueline Phillips | Director, Policy and Campaigns
Jacqueline Phillips joined ACOSS as the Director of Policy and Campaigns in August 2013. From 2010-13, she was the National Director of Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and reconciliation advocacy organisation. Jacqueline has a long history of involvement with the COSSes, having previously worked as a Policy Officer at ACOSS and the ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS). She has policy expertise across a range of areas including social security, housing and homelessness, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy issues, community development, human rights and justice. Jacqui has a First Class Arts/ Law degree from the University of Sydney and a Masters in Law from McGill University, Canada.
Louise Stanley | Events and Membership Officer
Louise's role at ACOSS includes coordinating events such as sector forums, network meetings, virtual link ups, policy gatherings and most importantly the ACOSS National Conference which is held in March each year. Alongside this, Louise is developing the ACOSS membership strategy and liaises with ACOSS members on key events and policy developments. Louise has recently completed a BA (Social Science) at the University of Sydney and has a diverse range of experience working in community events and community sector organisations. Louise is passionate about social justice and is interested in innovative community development strategies to support disadvantaged communities across Australia.