Speaker Line-Up

We are delighted to present an amazing line up of speakers for our State Conference - Transforming Democracy: Claiming Our Power!


Raquel Willis

We will be joined by Raquel Willis from the U.S. Transgender Law Centre and organiser in the Black Lives Matter Movement, to share her deep knowledge and expertise on organising marginalised communities for transformative social change. Raquel is a powerful black transgender activist and writer from the U.S. who was recognised this year as one of America's most influential African Americans on The Root 100, alongside Solange Knowles, Tamika D. Mallory and Patrisse Khan-Cullors. She has also been named in ESSENCE's Woke 100 Women, which honors the women who are blazing trails for equal rights and inclusion for Black people in America.

Antoinette Braybrook

Antoinette Braybrook is an Aboriginal woman who was born in Victoria on Wurundjeri country and is the is the CEO of Djirra. Djirra provides holistic, culturally safe and specialist legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence. Djirra also designs and delivers early intervention and prevention programs and undertakes policy and law reform work to improve access to justice, strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s resilience and reduce vulnerability to violence.

Antoinette is also the Co-Chair of the Change the Record Campaign, an unprecedented national coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights, legal and community organisations that was established to end the disproportionate rates of imprisonment and violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Kara Keys

Kara Keys is a descendant of the Yiman and Gangulu peoples of central Queensland. She leads campaigns as an ACTU National Campaign Coordinator. In her role at the ACTU, Kara works to build a better future for Australian workers; a future where workers and their families are respected and diversity is embraced and where we are all building a better, fairer Australia.

Kara’s union experience spans over a decade. She cut her teeth as an organiser for white collar unions organising administrative workers and federal public servants. She worked at the QCU as the Indigenous Industrial Officer on the local council amalgamation campaign in remote Qld communities & the Qld Stolen Wages dispute. Kara believes that a positive, self-determining future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is fundamentally entwined with a strong, progressive trade union movement.


Jill Prior

Jill Prior is the inaugural Principal Legal Officer of the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women.  Jill’s unyielding commitment and dedication to her work has made her a well-known and respected public figure, in and outside legal circles.

Prior to establishing LACW, Jill was the Acting Principal Legal Officer at the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria.  

Jill was previously the Principal Legal Officer at the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) where she worked for over 10 years. As well as advising and appearing on behalf of clients across multiple jurisdictions, she was responsible for the management of the legal practice, comprising 21 lawyers across the criminal, family law and civil law practice areas, in addition to support staff.


Idil Ali

Idil Ali is a Youth Development Practitioner at Drummond Street Services. A writer, performing artist, moderator and community organiser her work is centred in community autonomy, resistance and freedom.

Idil Ali supervises VoiceFest - an actively inclusive music and arts festival for young people.


Amanda Tattersall

Amanda Tattersall is Australia’s well known community organiser and influential social change thinker. She co-founded the digital campaign group GetUp.org.au, founded Australia’s largest and broadest community coalition, the Sydney Alliance. She has also been the President of the National Union of Students, co-founder of Labor for Refugees and an elected official of Unions NSW.

She is currently the Host of the ChangeMakers Podcast one of the most popular social change podcasts in the world. ChangeMakers tells stories of people from across the globe trying to make the world a better place.


Sarouche Razi

Sarouche is a principal lawyer at Westjustice in Western Melbourne and volunteers at Kimberley Community Legal Service.  He has practiced in a range of areas including coronial inquests, racial discrimination, child protection, and torts against the state. He is interested in decolonising the law, state accountability, structural oppression, critical lawyering, and is always seeking collaborators. Sarouche currently oversees the youth and culturally and linguistically diverse practice groups at Westjustice.  


Jane Gilmore

Jane Gilmore was the founding editor of The King's Tribune. She is now a freelance journalist and a regular columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald. Jane is currently completing a Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne and has a particular interest in feminism, media and data journalism.


Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering is a feminist educator, presenter and writer based in Melbourne. She was the creator and host of Cherchez la Femme, a monthly talkshow of popular culture and current affairs from an unapologetically feminist angle. Cherchez la Femme also presented the feminist dating mixer, Meet Cute, and the annual variety show, Feministmas.

She was a cofounder and the first director of Girls On Film Festival (GOFF), an annually produced live mixtape of film, music, and talk built around a mutual love of movies, parties and feminism.

She was part of the original crew that brought SlutWalk to Australia and led the organising team for four years, where Melbourne became the biggest SlutWalk protest outside Toronto. Karen edited Doing It, a collection of sex-positive writing by women for University of Queensland Press, in 2016.


Hui Zhou

Hui Zhou has been involved in Community Legal Centres for 15 years.  She has worked at Fitzroy Legal Service, Victoria Legal Aid and is now principal lawyer at Darebin Community Legal Centre, where she has a strong focus on working with imprisoned people and criminalised communities.


Odette Kelada

Odette Kelada teaches Writing Australia and Racial Literacy at the University of Melbourne. She has a PhD in literature researching the lives of Australian women writers. Her writing focuses on marginalised voices, gender and racial literacy, and has appeared in numerous publications including the Australian Cultural History Journal and Postcolonial Studies. Her debut novel Drawing Sybylla: The real and imagined lives of Australia's women writers  won The Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript in 2017.


Caterina Cinanni

Caterina Cinanni is the first woman to be elected president of the National Union of Workers (NUW) and is leading the campaign to expose slave-like conditions in the supermarket supply chain in Australia. 

Caterina started working with the NUW in 1994 through the organising works program and spent almost 10 years as an organiser dedicated to building union organisation in non-union sectors. In 2003 she went and worked in the Australian Labor Party, to help bring the voice of working people into the halls of power. In 2005 she joined the ACTU organising centre as a Campaign Organiser, where she learnt about the craft of education and was given the tools to inspire and shift attitudes and encourage learning. She worked with white and blue collar union members across the country as part of the Your Rights at Work campaign. In 2007, she returned back the NUW, to help build a new activist development program focused on building growth, power and activism. 


Melanie Poole

Melanie Poole is the Director of Strategy, Policy and Engagement at the Federation of Community Legal Centres. She is also an independent consultant working with NGOs, unions and community organisations on developing and strengthening strategy and impact evaluation, particularly across community engagement, advocacy, communications and strategic litigation. She was the Anne Wexler-Fulbright Australian American Studies scholar from 2013-2015, and holds a Masters in Public Administration from New York University, Bachelors in Law (Honours) and Arts (Political Science) from the ANU, and postgraduate certificates in NGO Management and Humanitarian Advocacy from Fordham and Berkeley universities.  


DJ Kwenda (performing)

DJ Kwenda was born and raised in Kenya and came to Australia in 2000 to further his tertiary education. He is now an established international DJ and the creator of the community and social platform ‘Afrodownunder’, coordinating events embracing Africans and friends of Africa. In this role he has faced racial profiling, discriminatory door policies and other injustices at the hands of police and some venue operators.

In 2017 he won a landmark discrimination case in the Supreme Court after a nightclub cancelled one of his events ‘because the majority of patrons would be African’. He is steadfastly supportive of the movement for positive change and has been stirred to step forward and stand-up against discrimination. 

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