Advisory Committee

The research activity of the Centre for Future Work is informed by the volunteer members of our Advisory Committee, who represent a wealth of knowledge and experience in the labour policy, economics, and industrial relations fields. The Advisory Committee meets twice per year and provides input to the Centre’s Director on future research topics, partners, and dissemination.

Prof. Jon Altman
Dr. George Argyrous
Alison Barnes
Josh Bornstein
Prof. John Buchanan
Peter Davidson
Ben Davison
Andrew Dettmer
Frances Flanagan
Lisa Fowkes
Allen Hicks
Dr. Sarah Kaine
Natalie Lang
Tom Lynch
Kate Minter
Ben Oquist
Prof. Barbara Pocock
Jeannie Rea


Jon Altman

Research Professor, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation,
Deakin University

Jon is Research Professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University in Melbourne, and an emeritus professor of the Australian National University in Canberra located at the School for Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). He is also an adjunct professor at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University in Darwin, and the current chair of the Research Committee of the Australia Institute.

From 1990–2010 he was the foundation director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research at the Australian National University. Jon has a background in economics and anthropology and over many years has been a tireless advocate for the need for critical, grounded and independent academic research to have influence on issues pertaining to indigenous economic justice in Australia and elsewhere. Much of his research has focused on land rights and native title, alternate forms of economy that includes the customary sector, and the rights of indigenous peoples to live on their ancestral lands, much now held under Australian law. Much of his field research since the late 1970s has focused on the Arnhem Land region in the Northern Territory.


George Argyrous

Senior Lecturer, ANZSOG,
on secondment from the School of Social Sciences, UNSW

George has been teaching at the University of NSW since 1992, after completing postgraduate degrees at the New School for Social Research. He has taught political economy, research, and statistical analysis, as well as consulting with a range of government and private organizations.

He has published in the areas of full employment policy, and the interaction between parenting and the division of labor between household and paid work, as well as on the use and abuse of research and statistics.

Alison Barnes

National President,
National Tertiary Education Union

Dr Alison Barnes is the National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU). She was elected to the position in October 2018. Before taking up her role as National President, Alison served as Assistant Secretary in the NTEU NSW Division and Branch President at Macquarie University. While at Macquarie University, Alison was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management. Her research interests include union strategy, the development of workplace resistance and industrial relations.

Alison has had a strong commitment to unions since her university days as an Australian Services Union member while working in a call centre. She first joined the NTEU as a casual tutor at UNSW, and has been actively involved in the Union throughout her academic career.

Outside of work, she runs but this is mainly so she can keep up with her family.


Josh Bornstein

Head of National Employment and Industrial Relations,
Maurice Blackburn lawyers

Josh has headed the National Employment and Industrial Relations practice at Maurice Blackburn since 1997. He has served as a Director of the firm since 2004, including as Chair of the Remuneration Committee, and a Member of the Audit and Investment Committees.

He is a member of the Workplace Relations Executive Committee at the Law Institute of Victoria. In 2014, he received a Certificate of Service for outstanding service to the legal profession.

Josh also serves as a Director of The Australia Institute; on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law at the University of Melbourne; and as Deputy Chair of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (a disciplinary tribunal for the Victorian horse racing industry).

Josh has published commentary pieces for The Australian Financial Review, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald,The Age, Crikey, The Drum, the Law Institute Journal, and the Herald Sun.

John-Buchanan.jpgJohn Buchanan

Chair, Discipline of Business Analytics,
University of Sydney Business School

Professor John Buchanan is Chair of the Discipline of Business Analytics at the University of Sydney Business School. Previously, between 1988 and 1991 he was part of the team that undertook the first Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS). In 1991, he joined the Workplace Research Centre (formerly acirrt) and served as its Director from 2005 through 2014.

Until recently his major research interest has been the demise of the classical wage earner model of employment, and the role of the state in nurturing new forms of multi-employer co-ordination to promote both efficiency and fairness in the labour market. Building on this research, he is now devoting special attention to the evolution of working life transition, the dynamics of workforce development and the connection between work, health and wellbeing. John is also Network Leader for the University of Sydney's Health and Work Research Network: a consortium involving experts from the Business School, Medical, Health Sciences and four other faculties.

He was one of the authors of Australia at Work: Just Managing? (1999), and Fragmented Futures: New Challenges in Working Life published by Federation Press in 2003. These texts provide an overview of the restructuring of work in Australia since the 1970s. He most recently co-edited Inclusive Growth in Australia: Social Policy as Economic Investment, published by Allen & Unwin in 2013.


Peter Davidson

Senior Advisor,
Australian Council of Social Service

Peter is Senior Advisor with the Australian Council of Social Service, the peak body for the community services sector in Australia. He specialises in employment, social security, superannuation and tax policies, and income distribution and poverty.

He has contributed to the development of policies including reform of working-age social security payments, youth allowances, jobseeker accounts for unemployed people, and proposals to strengthen the personal income tax base and provide State Governments with a robust revenue base to fund community services. He has many publications across these policy areas.

Peter has represented ACOSS on various advisory bodies including the Climate Change Household Assistance Working Group, the Community Tax Forum, superannuation policy advisory bodies, the ABS CPI Review advisory group, the Employment Services Industry Reference Group, the Centrelink Service Delivery Policy Advisory Group, the Disability Support Pension Advisory Group and reference groups for several research projects on poverty and inequality.

Ben DavisonBen_Davison_photo.jpg

Chief of Staff,
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

Ben Davison was appointed the Chief of Staff at the ACTU June 2015. From January 2013 he was Managing Director of ACTU Member Connect, ACTU Director of Operations and was appointed Vice Chair of ACTU Education Inc. in January 2015.

Ben’s role encompasses management of the ACTU’s staff, finances, general operations, major projects and strategic advice to the ACTU elected leadership on matters of policy, campaigns, communications and stakeholder engagement.

Previously the CEO of South Port UnitingCare and the Membership and Community Development Manager at Diabetes Australia-Vic, Ben has extensive management & leadership experience.

Having completed his MBA at Melbourne Business School, Ben now sits as a member of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Management & Marketing’s Advisory Board

With previous experience working for state and federal MP’s as well as the Community Public Sector Union Ben has a broad professional and educational background from which he draws his contribution to policy discussions.


Andrew Dettmer

National President,

Andrew Dettmer is the National President of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. He was previously the State Secretary of the Queensland/ NT Branch of the union from 2003 until 2012. Before his election as State Secretary, Andrew was Assistant State Secretary in Queensland, and a National Organiser. He has been an official of the union since 1988.

Andrew holds a number of board positions, including ACTU representative to SafeWork Australia, board member of the Industry Capability Network, Carbon Nexus, The Australia Institute and Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA).

He has been involved in Australian Industry Participation policy and vocational education and training policy for many years, seeking to improve the productive performance of Australia’s manufacturing and construction industries and the role of workers and their representatives. He was a member of the board of QMI Solutions and was a member of ICN Queensland, Construction Skills Queensland, the Queensland Training and Employment Recognition Council, and Skills Queensland. He was also a member of the Enterprise Connect Manufacturing Advisory Committee and Chair of Manufacturing Skills Qld. He was a board member on the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency, prior to its abolition.

As the AMWU’s international officer, Andrew has represented the union at many international conferences and delegations, including those convened by IndustriALL Global Union.

Andrew also served as Honorary ALP QLD State President from 2007-2012.


Frances Flanagan

Research Director,
United Voice

Frances Flanagan is the Research Director at United Voice and an affiliate of the Sydney Environment Institute. She holds a DPhil and masters from the University of Oxford, and bachelors degrees in arts and law from the University of Western Australia. She has been a senior scholar at Hertford College Oxford, a Royal Historical Society Marshall Fellow at the London Institute of Historical Research, and a postdoctoral researcher at Birkbeck, University of London.

Her book, Remembering the Revolution: dissent, culture and nationalism in the Irish Free State, was shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize.

Lisa Fowkes photographLisa Fowkes

Employment Ventures, Social Ventures Australia

Lisa Fowkes is an experienced practitioner, researcher and policy analyst in the area of Australian labour market programs. She worked for nearly a decade across a number of senior roles at a large non-profit employment services provider and has consulted to the sector in the areas of management and policy. Her recent research work has looked at the design, management and impact of employment services in remote areas. She has worked with a coalition of Indigenous organisations and peak bodies to advocate for reform of remote employment services. In 2019 she took up a role with Social Ventures Australia identifying and managing ventures that have the potential to generate more effective approaches to labour market inclusion.

Allen_Hicks.pngAllen Hicks

National Secretary,
Electrical Trades Union of Australia (ETU)

National Secretary,
Communications Electrical Plumbing Union (CEPU)

Allen has been a full-time official for 17 years commencing as an officer with the Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union in August 2000.

During his time as an officer with the Electrical Trades Union, Allen organised the building/construction and power Industries.

Allen also serves on the ACTU Executive, ACTU Education Inc. Committee of Management, a member of the Industry Advisory Group to Trades recognition Australia, Titular Member of the Asia Pacific Regional Committee for Building Workers International (BWI), an alternate director at CBUS and on the BCDS Committee of the Asbestos Safety & Eradication Agency.

He was also a former director of National Entitlement Security trust (NEST) and former director of National Electronic Data Capture Services (E-Profiling).

Allen is a licensed Electrician who has worked in the construction, mining, industrial and domestic sectors of the Electrical industry and has been involved in vocational education and training policy, occupational licensing and workplace health and safety for many years.

Sarah KaineSarah_Kaine_photo.jpg

Associate Professor,
UTS Business School

Sarah’s research focuses on the formal and informal regulation of labour standards, both domestically and internationally.

Sarah investigates alternative means of regulating labour standards including the use of reflexive regulation and the integration of non-state actors. Specifically Sarah is interested in innovation in employment regulation – beyond the bounds of traditional labour law, beyond the organisation and beyond national borders. Her research has included examinations of supply chain regulation for the improvement of labour standards in the road transport sector, the contract cleaning sector and the economic footprint of governments in the funding of social services (publicly funded supply chains).

Current research projects include the experience of work in the ‘sharing economy’, specifically the ride-share market and the potential of platform co-operatives.

Photo of Natalie LangNatalie Lang

Branch Secretary,
Australian Services Union NSW & ACT (Services) Branch

Natalie is the Branch Secretary of the Australian Services Union (NSW & ACT Services Branch). Natalie has worked with members in the Water, Transport, Airlines, IT, Private Sector and Social, Community, and Disability services industries for over 12 years, including organising workers across NSW and the ACT in the ASU’s historic equal pay campaign which achieved wage increases of between 23% and 45% for social, community and disability workers. She has been outspoken on the impact domestic and family violence has on members and society generally.

Natalie has a degree in Social Sciences majoring in Employment Relations from the University of Western Sydney.

Tom Lynch

Joint National President, 
Community & Public Sector Union

General Secretary,
Community & Public Sector Union (Tasmanian Branch)

Tom Lynch is the joint National President of the Community & Public Sector Union (CPSU) and the General Secretary of the Tasmanian Branch of the union. Tom has held the position of General Secretary since 2003. Prior to this he worked in forest hydrology research. As the Secretary of a small Branch Tom works closely with members so he understands the challenges they face both in their workplaces and as part of a small, regionalised economy. He feels that by looking at the work of the Centre from the perspective of rank and file members he can help to ensure the work is grounded in the reality of working people’s lives. Tom believes the work of the Centre is vital to help Australians understand that the economy is not an end in itself and should be serving working people and not the other way around.

Kate Minter

Research Director,
Unions NSW

Kate Minter is the Research Director at Unions NSW and manages the peak body’s contribution to policy, political engagement and works with the elected leadership on strategic campaigns. Kate has taken a particular interest in how policy and legislation affects the lives of working women. Kate’s recent work has also focused on technology and its impact on workers and the labour market. Her paper on Unions NSW world leading engagement with the ‘gig economy’ was recently published in The Economic and Labor Relations Review. Kate holds a Bachelor of Social Science, a Masters of Applied Science (Statistics) and recently completed graduate course work in labour relations at the ILR School at Cornell University. She is an academic tutor in Work and Organisational Studies at the University of Sydney.

Ben Oquist

Executive Director,
The Australia Institute

Ben is a highly respected political and communication strategist and commentator. Known for his ability to negotiate across the political spectrum, Oquist played a pivotal role in the deal which saw the Senate crossbench save the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Renewable Energy Target. Ben's contributions to The Drum, Crikey, The Guardian and Fairfax publications have ranged in topic from mining to senate voting reform to tax policy. He appears regularly on Sky News and other political broadcasts.

A former Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown and Senator Christine Milne, he also served as the Canberra adviser to progressive public affairs company Essential Media Communications. Ben maintains a particular interest in ensuring progressive voices feature more strongly in Australia’s economic debates.

Barbara Pocock


Emeritus Professor,
University of South Australia

She was initially trained as an economist and has been involved in policy, research and advocacy about working life for over thirty years. 

She has worked in universities, the Reserve Bank, farming, unions, government, advising politicians and as a carer.  She has served on a variety of Boards including the Economic Development Board of South Australia (2011-2016), The Australia Institute (from 2004), The Festival of Ideas, the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and the Australian Association of Industrial Relation Academics of Australia and New Zealand.

Barbara established and was Director of the Centre for Work + Life, at the University of South Australia between 2006-2014. 

Jeannie_Rea_1.jpgJeannie Rea

National President,
National Tertiary Education Union

Jeannie Rea is the National President of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), first elected to that role in 2010. She is also a member of the ACTU Executive.

Previously she served as Deputy Dean of Arts, Education and Human Development at Victoria University, Melbourne.

Jeannie has taught in tertiary education (TAFE and higher education) since the 1980s. Her research has largely been in women’s studies, environmental science and labour history. Her most recent publications and commentary, though, are in higher education policy and practice.


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