Keynote Speakers

As keynote speakers are announced, their details will be added below.

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Adjunct Professor Tarun Weeramanthri

Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Global Health, University of Western Australia.
President of Public Health Association of Australia.

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Dr Sarah-Jane Paine

Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland

Sarah-Jane is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Tomaiora Research Group at Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland. She holds science degrees from the University of Otago and a PhD in Public Health from Massey University. Sarah-Jane is an experienced Kaupapa Māori epidemiologist with a range of projects investigating ethnic inequities in health and the determinants of health across the life-course. Sarah-Jane teaches Māori Health and Kaupapa Māori research methods across a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


Professor Chelsea Watego

Professor of Indigenous Health, Queensland University of Technology

Chelsea Watego (formerly Bond) is a Munanjahli and South Sea Islander woman with over 20 years of experience working within Indigenous health as a health worker and researcher.
Chelsea’s work has drawn attention to the role of race in the production of health inequalities. Her current ARC Discovery Grant seeks to build an Indigenist Health Humanities as a new field of research; one that is committed to the survival of Indigenous peoples locally and globally, and foregrounds Indigenous intellectual sovereignty.
She is a prolific writer and public intellectual, having written for IndigenousX, NITV, The Guardian, and The Conversation. She is a founding board member of Inala Wangarra, an Indigenous community development association within her community, a Director of the Institute for Collaborative Race Research, and was one half of the Wild Black Women radio/podcast show, but most importantly, she is also a proud mum to five beautiful children.

Professor Ray Lovett


Mayi Kuwayu Study director, College of Health & Medicine, Australian National University

Dr Raymond Lovett BN, RN, BHSc, MAE, PhD is a Senior Research Fellow with the Epidemiology for Policy and Practice group at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University. He also holds an adjunct Fellowship at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in the Indigenous Social and Cultural Wellbeing group. Ray is an Aboriginal (Ngiyampaa/Wongaibon) epidemiologist with extensive experience in health services research, large scale data analysis for public health policy development and evaluation.

Professor Brett Sutton

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Chief Health Officer, Victoria

Professor Brett Sutton is Victoria's Chief Health Officer. The Chief Health Officer undertakes a variety of statutory functions under health and food-related legislation. He also provides expert clinical and scientific advice and leadership on issues impacting public health.


Professor Sutton has extensive experience and clinical expertise in public health and communicable diseases, gained through emergency medicine and field-based international work, including in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. He represents Victoria on a number of key national bodies including the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Principal Committee). He is also Chief Human Biosecurity Officer for Victoria. Professor Sutton has a keen interest in tropical medicine and the incorporation of palliative care practice into humanitarian responses.


Professor Sutton is a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health, a Fellow of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine and a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM). He is also a member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine.

Professor Hannah Badland

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Deputy Director, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University

Hannah’s research examines how the built environment is connected to health, wellbeing, and inequities in both adults and children internationally, with an interest in improving outcomes for vulnerable groups. Her interdisciplinary research program is tied with end-users being policy-makers, planners, and non-government organisations. 
Prof Badland earned her PhD in Public Health from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand in 2007. She has published over 150 research articles and received more than $18M in research funding. Her recent major achievements include working in two NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence and an NHMRC Synergy Grant.  
Prof Badland was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship in 2017 and is the Deputy Director in the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT University.

Dr Rhys Jones

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Associate Professor, University of Auckland

Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Public Health Physician and Associate Professor in Māori Health at the University of Auckland. He oversees Māori Health teaching, learning and assessment in the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Rhys’s research broadly addresses Indigenous health and health equity. He has a particular interest in environmental influences on Māori health and wellbeing, with a focus on climate justice and Indigenous rights.

Dr Belinda Townsend

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Fellow, Australian National University

Dr Belinda Townsend is Deputy Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance and Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. Belinda is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the interface between public health, governance, and political economy and is an emerging leader in the field of public health political science.Her work examines the political economy of health, including agenda-setting for health in areas outside the “health policy” domain such as trade and investment, employment, and social and welfare policy.

Associate Professor Deborah Gleeson

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Associate Professor in Public Health, School of Psychology and Public Health,
La Trobe University

Deborah Gleeson is an Associate Professor in Public Health at La Trobe University, Australia where she leads the discipline of Health Practice and Management and teaches postgraduate subjects in health policy and health law.


Deborah's research focuses on public health policy, particularly at national and international levels. Her main research focus is the interface between trade and investment agreements and public health, and she has a large number of peer-reviewed publications on this topic, covering a range of issues including access to affordable medicines, alcohol and tobacco policy, and food and nutrition.

Her 2020 book with Professor Ronald Labonte, Trade Agreements and Public Health, provides an introduction to the topic for health policy makers, researchers and advocates.


Deborah is Co-convenor of the Political Economy of Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia and plays a key role in PHAA's advocacy for healthy trade agreements.

Ms Fiona Armstrong

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Strategic Projects Director, Climate and Health Alliance

Fiona is Founder and Strategic Projects Director of Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA) whose mission is to build a powerful health sector movement for climate action and sustainable healthcare. She is the lead author of many of CAHA’s publications, and has conceived and led many of its impactful projects, including as architect of the world’s first Framework for a National Strategy on Climate, Health and Well-being for Australia (2017); the 2021 Rewrite the Future Roundtable series, which led to the publication, ‘Australia in 2030: Possible Alternative Futures’, and the accompanying Healthy, Regenerative and Just policy agenda. Fiona was named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence (2016), won the Tony McMichael award for leadership on health and the environment (2017); the Frank Fisher Award (2018), and was one of ProBono’s Impact 25 and Judges Choice Influencer Award recipient in 2022.

Professor Boyd Swinburn

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Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health, University of Auckland

Boyd trained as an endocrinologist and has conducted research in metabolic, clinical and public health aspects of obesity. His major research interests centre on community and policy actions to prevent childhood and adolescent obesity, and reduce, what he has coined, ‘obesogenic’ environments. He leads the INFORMAS initiative ( to monitor and benchmark food environments in over 60 countries. He established WHO’s first Collaborating Centre on Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in 2003, led two Lancet Series on Obesity in 2011 and 2015, was co-chair of World Obesity Policy & Prevention section 2009-2019 and co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Obesity 2015-2019. He has been an advisor on many government committees, WHO Consultations, and large scientific studies internationally.

Professor Rebecca Bentley

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Principal Research Fellow, Social Epidemiology, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences,
The University of Melbourne

Rebecca is Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Housing. She leads a research program exploring the role of housing and residential location in influencing health.

This research has a particular focus on housing affordability, housing condition and tenure. Work from this program was awarded the Mike Berry Award for Excellence in Housing Research for 2015.

Ms Marian Wilkinson

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Marian Wilkinson is a multi-award winning journalist with a career that has spanned radio, television and print.

She has covered politics, national security, refugee issues and climate change as well as serving as a foreign correspondent in Washington DC for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She was a Deputy Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, Executive Producer of the ABC’s Four Corners program and a senior reporter with Four Corners. She writes for Australian Foreign Affairs magazine, The Saturday Paper and reports for ABC’s 7.30.

As Environment Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald she reported on the rapid melt of Arctic sea ice for a joint Four Corners-Sydney Morning Herald production which won a Walkley Award for journalism and the Australian Museum's Eureka prize for environmental journalism. She also covered the UN climate conferences in Bali and Copenhagen.

As a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), she reported on the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers for Four Corners. More recently she was associate producer on the Pandora Papers for Four Corners.

In 2018 she was inducted into the Australian Media Hall of Fame.

She has written several books including the political biography, The Fixer, (William Heinemann) on former Labor powerbroker, Graham Richardson, and Dark Victory, (Allen and Unwin) on Australia’s response to asylum seekers which she co-authored with David Marr.

Her latest book, The Carbon Club, (Allen and Unwin) investigates Australia’s fraught climate change policy and the network of players who derailed it.

Dr Craig Emerson

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Managing Director, Craig Emerson Economics

Emerson Economics provides expert advice to business clients seeking commercial opportunities in Australia and Asia, and on actual and proposed government policies and their implications for business. 

Dr Craig Emerson is an eminent economist with 35 years’ experience in public policy, politics and public service. He is Managing Director of Emerson Economics Pty Ltd.

Dr Emerson is Director of the Australian APEC Study Centre at RMIT, a Distinguished Fellow at the Australian National University and an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University’s College of Business. He is also Chair of the McKell Institute.

Dr Emerson is a former Australian Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research. Prior to that, he was Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Minister Assisting on Deregulation and Minister for Small Business. As Minister for Trade and Competitiveness, Dr Emerson was the architect of the White Paper on Australia in the Asian Century and was appointed Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy. Earlier, he developed a program of reform in 27 areas of business regulation and successfully chaired the regulatory reform group of the Council of Australian Governments.

Dr Emerson was Economic and Environmental Adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He has been a senior public servant, heading the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage and the Southeast Queensland Transit Authority.

Dr Emerson’s early career was as Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Economic Adviser to Finance Minister Peter Walsh, and an Economic Analyst at the United Nations.

Ms Emma Herd

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Partner, Ernst & Young

Partner, Climate Change & Sustainability, Ernst & Young :

Emma is a Partner with EY’s Climate Change and Sustainability team and is a skilled professional with over 20 years’ experience in climate change, sustainable finance and sustainability practice. Prior to joining EY, Emma was Chief Executive Officer of the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) (2015-2021) and Environment Commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission (2020-2021).  Previously, Emma worked at Westpac for over 15 years across a range of sustainability, environment, sustainable finance, climate change, carbon trading and ESG risk management roles.  Emma is a regular media contributor on climate change matters and a respected voice on climate transition implications for business.

The Hon Nicola Roxon MP

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Chair of HESTA (health sector superannuation fund), Chair of VicHealth (Victoria’s health promotion agency)

The Honourable Nicola Roxon was a member of the Australian Parliament for 15 years, representing Labor in the Western suburbs Melbourne seat of Gellibrand.


Elected at 31, she served as Australia’s Health Minister for four years from 2007 and oversaw major reforms to Australia’s public hospital, primary care and preventative health systems.


In 2011 Ms Roxon became Australia’s first female Attorney-General, and the Minister for Emergency Management in 2012. She has received national and international awards in recognition of her public health work, particularly in tobacco control.


With Ms Roxon’s leadership Australia successfully introduced a world first: all tobacco sold must now be in plain packaging with large, graphic health warnings. Ms Roxon’s personal and professional story was recorded in a documentary Kicking the Habit, produced by the ABC’s Australian Story Program and aired on 27 August 2012.


Trained as a lawyer, protecting the dignity of workers and promoting the standing of women has been a hallmark of Nicola’s career.


Prior to entering parliament, Ms Roxon worked as an industrial lawyer, union organiser and an Associate to High Court Judge Mary Gaudron. Ms Roxon resigned her ministerial positions February 2013 and finished her period in Parliament in August 2013.

From 2014 Ms Roxon has built a successful career as a non-executive director - serving as Chairman of the Cancer Council, Bupa, the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board and the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University.

In 2019, Ms Roxon received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Sydney.