Brotherhood Talks:
Action on child poverty: looking back, looking forward, looking across the Tasman

The Research & Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence is delighted to invite you to our extended anti-poverty week session of Brotherhood Talks.

A huge line up of speakers moderated by Professor Shelley Mallett across two sessions – please join us for one or both sessions - with lunch in between.

Plus a short overview of Anti-Poverty Week 2019 by Toni Wren (Executive Director at Anti-Poverty Week)    

When: Friday 18 October

Session 1: 11:30am – 12:30pm

Contemporary lessons from past actions: why people are still talking about the historic Family Centre Project

Professor Hayden Raysmith AM (former Co-ordinator of the Brotherhood’s Action and Resource Centre for Low Income Families) and Dr Tim Gilley (Senior Research Fellow at the Brotherhood) will help shed light on the Brotherhood’s radical Family Centre Project of the 1970s. Together with David Tennant (CEO FamilyCare) they will look at how key elements could translate into the current environment. David will also provide insight into the impacts and experiences of social security conditionality measures on families and children in Shepparton.

Lunch: 12:30pm – 12:50pm 

Session 2: 12:50pm – 2:00pm 

Sharing and comparing - New Zealand's child poverty measures and action in Australia

A keynote addressby Dr Michael Fletcher (Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington N.Z.) will traverse recent developments in New Zealand to tackle child poverty including the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018, introduction of the wellbeing budget framework and directions in broader social security reforms.                  

Respondents including Brian Howe AO former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia) and Andi Sebastian (Council Single Mothers and their Children) will compare the Australian environment, and help us think through what we might learn from NZ. 


Father Tucker's Room, Brotherhood of St Laurence Head Office, 67 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

RSVP and questions

Please RSVP to attend this event for seating and catering purposes. Replies and queries to jdouglas(at) or (03) 9483 1364.

All welcome at this wheelchair accessible venue. Please advise if any accessibility adjustments would help support your attendance.

We also invite you to enjoy our new Brotherhood Talks podcast, drawn from our RPC seminar series. Listen online at Brotherhood Talks podcasts and on Apple PodcastsSoundcloud or Spotify.

David Tennant

David is CEO of Shepparton-based FamilyCare (children and family services across Goulbourn Valley) since 2010 and Co-Chair of the Treating Families Fairly forum for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. A lawyer, who joined the community sector in 1995, David has held a range of service delivery, policy, management and representative roles, maintaining a strong interest in financial hardship and the structural causes of poverty. He also currently serves on the Board of the Consumer Action Law Centre and is a member of the Law Help Assessment Panel for the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations. 

Professor Hayden Raysmith AM

Hayden has had a distinguished career in the public, community and philanthropic sectors. Early in his career, after working on the Henderson Poverty Inquiry, Hayden was Coordinator of the Brotherhood’s Action and Resource Centre for Low Income Families (1975-79) – the second iteration of the Family Centre Project. Later career highlights include Executive Director of VCOSS, chair of Melbourne Community Foundation, the Advisory Board of the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University, and the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, Director of Youth Affairs and Director of Statewide Operations and Public Health in the Victorian Government. He is a Patron of the Victorian Local Governance Association and the Australian Communities Foundation. He currently chairs the Hobsons Bay Community Fund and the Xpand Foundation, is deputy chair of Regional Kitchen Pty Ltd and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University.

Dr Tim Gilley

Tim is a Senior Research Fellow with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne. He has a long background in research, social policy, social work and early childhood practice. During an earlier stint working with the Brotherhood, Tim did extensive research into the Brotherhood’s Family Action Centre Project, which was established by Connie Benn in the 1970s. He went back to the original 60 participant families and published a consumer view of the project in 1990. He also conducted a review seminar with key staff involved in the project.

Dr Michael Fletcher

Michael is an expert in social security, employment, family and family tax policy. Currently with the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington NZ, his career includes working with universities, government agencies, the New Zealand Families Commission and the union movement. He was recently an Independent Specialist Advisor to 2019 Welfare Expert Advisory Group’s Report, “Whakamana Tāngata: Restoring Dignity to Social Security in NZ” 

Brian Howe AO

Brian is a former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia (1991-95) and during the Hawke and Keating Governments (1984-96) held a range of Ministerial portfolios in the fields of Defence, Social Security, Health, Housing, Community Services and as Minister assisting the PM on Social Justice. He has also worked in academia and as a Minister of the Uniting Church. A Life Member of the Brotherhood, Brian also holds an honorary professorial position at the University of Melbourne. His life has been devoted to researching, writing and advocating for a better society, one that benefits all citizens. 

Toni Wren

Currently Executive Director at Anti-Poverty Week, Toni is an employment and social policy consultant and commentator, who has advised governments, employers and non-profit organisations in Australia, Britain, the United States and Japan.  

Andi Sebastian

Andi Sebastian works with the Council of Single Mothers and their Children for three years, coordinating communication, policy and advocacy. She has held a range of senior roles in the health and community services, created and ran a business, and worked in higher education and government. Throughout it all, she has worked alongside single mothers and was President of a single parent organisation. Andi has a Masters in Primary Care. 

Professor Shelley Mallett

Professorial Fellow in Social Policy in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Director, Research and Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Questions? Contact Jane Douglas: jdouglas(at) or (03) 9483 1364.

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