2019 – Speakers

We had an outstanding selection of Keynote speakers that joined us at the
2019 CRANAplus Conference in the Hunter Valley.


Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs is a respected human rights consultant and a prominent academic in the field of public international law.

Gillian is currently the Assistant High Commissioner Protection with the United Nations and President of the Asian Development Bank Tribunal. She has recently been appointed Chair of the United Nations Independent Expert Panel on Abuse of Office and Harassment.

Gillian graduated in Law from the University of Melbourne in 1968 and gained a PhD in 1982. She has combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice and has advised the Australian and other governments on international legal and trade disputes.

She then went on to become Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005-07 and Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007-12.

In 2012, Gillian was appointed the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission a position she held until 2017.

From 2017 to 2019 Gillian was appointed the Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Gillian is the author of many books and papers on international law, the most recent, “Speaking Up”, was published by MUP in October 2018.


Kurt Fearnley AO is a three-time Paralympic gold medallist with a can-do attitude that makes the impossible possible. At the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, he won gold and silver medals and was chosen as Australian Flag Bearer for the Closing Ceremony. Kurt’s determination and never-say-die attitude have rewarded him with the highest accolades in disability sport.

Kurt is also active in advocacy work. He has been an ambassador for the Don’t DIS my ABILITY campaign, was a 2010 International Day of People with Disability Ambassador and has contributed to the debate surrounding funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). In June 2018, Kurt Fearnley was given the Honour of being named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).

A gifted keynote speaker, Kurt’s infectious energy and passion for life inspires and motivates audiences across age groups and industries.

Read more about Kurt Fearnley


Banok Rind is a proud Yamatji Badimaya woman from Western Australia. She is a registered nurse and currently the Deputy Executive Officer at the Koorie Youth Council.

Banok has a background in Aboriginal health and wellbeing, and in advocacy within the Aboriginal mentoring, leadership and health space. She has worked extensively in cultural safety within the university and health sector as well as an Associate Lecturer for Indigenous Health at RMIT University. Banok’s work heavily highlights the ongoing institutional racism prevalent within health services across the country, and in reducing health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. She is the National Ambassador of the Close the Gap campaign.


Sarah Brown is the Chief Executive Officer of WDNWPT and has been helping the Indigenous Directors to run the organisation since its inception more than 15 years ago.

Sarah holds a Master of Nursing, a Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Education and a Grad Dip in Health Service  Management.  Prior to joining WDNWPT, she was a remote area nurse and university lecturer. She was Australia’s 2017 ‘Nurse of the Year’.


Lori-Anne Sharp is a registered nurse who has been nursing for over 22 years. The majority of her career has been in district nursing working for the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) across a variety of roles and sites.

A decade ago she took up a role with the RDNS Homeless Persons Program (HPP), a specialised team of Community Health nurses who provide healthcare to people experiencing homelessness. Previously working as a Team Coordinator managing a team of nurses who deliver healthcare to some of the most vulnerable.

Lori-Anne became a more active member within the ANMF starting as a Job Representative in 2001 before joining the Victorian Branch Council in 2004 through to 2018. During this time Lori-Anne has held positions on Branch Executive, Branch Vice President and Federal Vice President. She became a pivotal cog in the union effort negotiating EBAs on behalf of members and supporting landmark policies such as nurse-to-patient ratios. Lori-Anne officially began her new post as ANMF Assistant Secretary in June 2018.

Lori-Anne describes herself as a natural leader, approachable and able to connect people together. She is committed to the nursing profession and mobilising the nursing workforce. She says her promotion to Federal Assistant Secretary heralds a great opportunity to further her dedication to the union movement.

Now an integral part of the ANMF’s Federal Executive, Lori-Anne says she hopes to bring people together and build on the union’s reach. “I’d like to empower all nurses to get active within their union, organise and support each other to speak out about injustices. Nurses should be encouraged to hold leadership roles within their workplaces and communities.” I am passionate about improving the lives of those who are most marginalised and vulnerable and am committed to empowering nurses and midwives to lead change.


Samantha Edmonds is the Silver Rainbow, National Project Manager at the National LGBTI Health Alliance. Silver Rainbow is all about understanding and celebrating the diversity of genders, bodies, sexualities, and relationships of older Australians.

Sam is a member of a number of national advisory groups in Ageing and Aged Care both Government and Non-government. She is a member of the Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC), which provides advice to the Government on aged care policy development and implementation. She is also Chair of the ACSC Diversity Sub Group, which recently released a number of Action Plans for Aged Care Providers on how to provide inclusive care to people with diverse life experiences and characteristics.

Samantha holds Masters Degrees in Social Policy, Politics and International Relations. She has completed the Macquarie University Global Leadership Program. Prior to her current role Sam has worked in diverse fields including health policy and human rights. Sam also volunteers as a palliative care biographer.


Karel Williams is a proud Aboriginal midwife based in Canberra, with family connections to the Palawa and Western Arrernte Nations. Prior to becoming a midwife, Karel had a long career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and program areas in the Australian Public Service, including one year on an executive exchange program working in the then Department of Indian Affairs in Canada. Karel has also taught and been a guest lecturer in tertiary courses related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, including health.

Karel completed her Bachelor of Midwifery 2014 and at her graduation ceremony was the inaugural recipient of the University of Canberra’s Tom Calma Medal. Karel has researched and published on the topic of racism as a determinant of health and is currently undertaking a higher degree by research at UC. She is a finalist in the 2019 Alumni Excellence Award at UC.

Karel is an active member and previously a Board Member of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) and is its representative on the National Birthing on Country Strategic Committee.


MSF Australia
Medical Unit Sydney Manager
Women’s Health Advisor – Sexual Violence

Margaret is a registered nurse/midwife who has been on four field placements with Médecins Sans Frontières since 2003: in South and Western Sudan, Nigeria and Haiti. In addition to a clinical midwifery role she has been responsible for establishing women’s health clinics encompassing pre and postnatal care and care for victims of sexual violence. Margaret has also been involved in training local midwifery staff. Margaret is currently the manager of the Medical Unit in Sydney as well as providing technical support to the field and training on care for victims of sexual violence.