Australia's best and brightest called to 'future proof' the nation's Covid recovery

15 March 2021

A select group of the nation’s leading Churchill Fellows have been invited to pool their creative minds, share their expertise and help lead Australia out of the COVID recession.

The Churchill Policy Room will also see the launch of Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda, the flagship publication of the Policy Impact Program, a partnership between the Churchill Trust and the University of Queensland to identify, curate and advocate a selection of ideas from Churchill Fellows that have the potential to shape best practice and policy reform on a variety of relevant and contemporary issues facing Australia. Read the articles here.

As members of the inaugural Churchill Policy Room at Federal Parliament, and as recognised experts in their chosen field, the Fellows will spend their time in Canberra advising Federal Government Ministers and members of the Opposition parties, senior bureaucrats and departmental officials.

CEO of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Adam Davey has created the Churchill Policy Room, with the help of the University of Queensland, based on the concept of the Churchill War Rooms during the Second World War.

“Churchill selected the brightest minds from all political parties and created a special War Cabinet to fight for his nation’s future. In the wake of the world’s most devastating pandemic in more than a century, this type of unity and strength of purpose is exactly what Australia needs,” Mr Davey said.

“The real attraction will be watching the brightest minds from all industry’s join together in a hot-house of ideas to tackle the most complex issues troubling the government on public policy reform.”

“For more than 50 years, the Churchill Trust has been supporting approximately 100 Australians each year who are the recognised leaders of their chosen fields to investigate their industry’s leading practices abroad and return home to implement any breakthrough ideas for the benefit of Australian society.”

The Churchill Policy Room will bring a focus to the topics of their Fellowships at this critical time for our country and the world.

Mr Davey said Fellows in attendance have expertise in justice, sustainable cities and communities, education, health and wellbeing, science, technology and society.

A snapshot of some of the Fellows in attendance:

• Scott Falconer (VIC) – Victoria’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer / Director Forest and Fire Operations for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Scott is a 2017 Churchill Fellow who travelled to the USA and Canada to investigate how to create partnerships with Traditional Owners with a focus on enabling the reintroduction of cultural burning practices. He is advocating for national partnerships with Indigenous communities to support self-determination and reintroduce cultural burning practices to help the large bushfires associated with climate change.

• Claire Seppings (VIC) – A Social Worker, Chair of the Victorian Custody Reference Group and a Member of the Women’s Correctional Services Advisory Committee. Claire is a 2015 Churchill Fellow who travelled to UK, Sweden and the USA to examine international programs which utilise ex-offenders to mentor prisoners so they are less likely to reoffend. Claire’s perspective is that more than half the current prison population has reoffended and there is a need to look at different approaches to rehabilitation – with ex-offenders being a potentially successful option.

• Katherine Webber (QLD) – A Queensland specialist in social planning and community development working in local government. Katherine was the recipient of the 2018 Rodney Warmington Churchill Fellowship to travel to the USA, Canada, the UK, The Netherlands and Germany to investigate increasing accessibility and inclusion in public toilets by researching taboos, design, policy and legal barriers. She will advocate for a national approach to public toilets to increase accessibility and participation in community.

• Natalia Krysiak (NSW) - Associate at Hayball Architects and Founder of ‘Cities for Play’, specialises in the design of child-oriented environments. Natalia is a 2019 Churchill Fellow who travelled to the most child-friendly cities in the world – Vancouver, Toronto and London. Conscious of the rescoping of the Australian dream to apartment living, she is calling for a national approach to the design of family friendly high-density housing.

• Steve Harrison (TAS) – Having delivered vocational education and training in schools for over 20 years, Steve travelled on a 2015 Churchill Fellowship to the UK and Norway to examine the success of Vocational Education and Training (VET) in schools. He will be in Canberra to call for a change in culture within schools to treat VET as a viable option not a second rate one, and to encourage greater partnerships with industry so that VET graduates are more employable.

“Churchill Fellows are some of the best and brightest this country has to offer. The Churchill Trust was established to enrich Australia and this event is the perfect opportunity for this select group of Fellows to offer up their expertise – and policy makers to engage with their ideas,” said Mr Davey.

Churchill Fellows are from all walks of life, levels of education and fields of endeavour. The beauty of a Churchill Fellowship is that you design your own project to learn from international colleagues and return to make Australia and even better place to live and work. Find more information here.

The Churchill Policy Room will also see the launch of Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda, the flagship publication of the Policy Impact Program, a partnership between the Churchill Trust and the University of Queensland to identify, curate and advocate a selection of ideas from Churchill Fellows that have the potential to shape best practice and policy reform on a variety of relevant and contemporary issues facing Australia.

Contact Dr Jennifer Yarnold for further information: 0401 031 486 or j.yarnold@uq.edu.au

 

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