ACOSS Staff

Dr Cassandra Goldie | CEO | Australian Council of Social Service

Cassandra Goldie has been CEO since July 2010. With her extensive public policy expertise in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights, she has represented the interests of people who are disadvantaged and civil society in major national and international processes including most recently through the G20 as Deputy Chair of the Civil Society20 and Chair of the Global Infrastructure Working Group (2014), as well as a member of the Prime Minister’s National Panel on Economic Reform (2013), the Ministerial Roundtable on Superannuation (2012/13) and the National Tax Forum (2011).

Cassandra has worked globally as a human rights advocate, including through the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and UN Habitat. Prior to joining ACOSS, she was Director of the Sex and Age Discrimination program at the Australian Human Rights Commission, where she played a central role in major gender equality reforms, including Australia’s first paid parental leave, reforms to sex discrimination and pay equity and ASX corporate governance standards. 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.

Cassandra has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and is an Associate of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law. She has a Masters of Law from University College London, where she was awarded the Cheng Cheng Nan Prize for Public International Law, and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Western Australia. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Cassandra was recognised as one of the Inaugural Westpac/Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence in 2012. She was selected as an AFR/BOSS True Leader in 2013 and voted one of the Impact 25 Most Influential People in the Social Economy in 2014.

Sophie Chau | Finance Officer

Sophie joined ACOSS in 2016 July and currently in the position of Finance Officer. Sophie holds an Accounting and Commercial Law degree from the University of Auckland and currently working towards to a chartered accountant. She has worked as an accountant in wide range of industries including public practice accounting firm, Pharmaceutical industry and Non-profit organisation for more than 5 years in Australia, with experiences on various accounting software such as MYOB, QuickBooks, ERP and Xero systems. She is an Australian registered BAS agent and Certified Xero Accountant.

Sally Cowling | Senior Advisor (Social Policy, Human Services)

Charmaine Crowe | Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer

Charmaine joined ACOSS in June 2016 and leads ACOSS’s social security policy work. Charmaine gained her expertise in social security policy working for Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA), where she was a Senior Policy Advisor and Policy Coordinator. She has also worked as a legislative advisor in the NSW Parliament. Charmaine has a Master’s in International Health and Welfare Policy from Oslo University College and her policy expertise also covers the areas of ageing, health and housing.

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.

Fernando de Freitas | Media Advisor

Fernando joined ACOSS in October 2010 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. Fernando has played a big role in helping to raise the pubic profile of Australia’s peak welfare body, particularly in the media. He is committed to social justice issues and human rights, and is passionate about people, culture, the environment, and travel.

Penny Dorsch | Communications and Information

Penny is responsible for ACOSS publications, both electronic and print. She undertakes research and is responsible for Information Management and Information and Communications Technology 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 a BA (Hons) from the University of Sydney, a Diploma in Design from TAFE and an MA (Information Management) from the University of Technology in Sydney. She is an Associate of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA).

Renata Franz | Operations Manager

Renata joined ACOSS in 2012 July and currently holds the position of Operations Manager.  She has global experience in Management, Customer Relations, HR and Administration and has worked in wide range of industries including construction, hospitality and sport.  Renata studied Economic and Sciences at Technical School and holds an Advanced Diploma in Human Resources. She completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Management in 2011 and gained her Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) in 2015. Renata is committed to the principles of equity and diversity and passionate about sport.

Edwina MacDonald | Director of Policy and Advocacy

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.

Michael Raper | Special Advisor

Currently with ACOSS as Senior Advisor, for the eight years until February 2016, Michael Raper was Director of Australian Services and International Operations at Australian Red Cross, with responsibility for the design, implementation and evaluation of all services and programs in Australia and internationally.  Prior to that he was the Director of the Welfare Rights Centre in Sydney for 18 years. During this time he was also founding President of the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN); President of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) (1996- 2002); President, International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW), Asia Pacific (2002-2008); Global Treasurer and Deputy President, ICSW (2002-2004); and President of the Mandela Foundation of Australia (1990-97). Before Welfare Rights, Michael held the positions of: General Secretary, NSW Independent Education Union; Founding President, Independent Teachers Federation of Australia; and Director, ACTU Overseas Aid. He was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal by Human Rights Australia in 2002 and the Justice Medal by the Law & Justice Foundation in 2007.

Amy Simmons | Engagement and Events

Erin Snelgrove | Executive Assistant to the CEO

Erin Snelgrove joined ACOSS in October 2016 as Executive Assistant to Cassandra Goldie. Erin has significant experience as an Executive Assistant at CEO and Director level in both Government and the NFP sectors including the violence against women sector. Erin’s experience has been varied, from freelance design primarily for NGOs, to working as a policy support officer at Domestic Violence NSW and having managed complex logistics for high level officials in Washington DC. Erin holds a BA in Design. She is passionate about social justice and enjoys spending time with her young son.

Nicole Stanmore | Director of Business Development, Stakeholder Engagement and Operations

Nicole joined ACOSS in 2016 after spending 8 years working in the international development sector most recently as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) for World Education Australia/Good Return where during her time there the organisation tripled its funding base helping more than 1 million people in the Asia Pacific region. Prior to Good Return, Nicole’s experience includes consulting for Railcorp, the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a long tenure working for the Australian Trade Commission in Sydney, New York and Santiago. Nicole has a law degree from the University of Chile and a Master of Business Administration (M.BA) from Cambridge University in the U.K where she received a scholarship to fund her Masters thesis on sustainable development issues in the mining industry.

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