Dr Michele Bruniges AM
Secretary, Department of Education and Training
Dr Michele Bruniges is the Secretary of the Australian Department of Education and Training. The department administers the Australian Government’s interests in quality early learning, schooling, higher education, international education and research, skills and training. Dr Bruniges has held this position since April 2016.
Prior to this, she led the NSW Department of Education, one of Australia’s largest state government departments with a workforce of over 84,000 staff and direct responsibility for more than 2,200 schools.
Previously, Dr Bruniges held senior roles in the Australian Government’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and senior positions in the ACT and NSW Departments of Education and Training.
Her qualifications include a PhD in Educational Measurement and a Master of Education. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Churchill Fellow and a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and the Australian Council for Educational Leaders.
Dr Bruniges is a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2012 was recognised for her work in public policy as a joint recipient of the Inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards.
In 2015 Dr Bruniges received national recognition for her significant contribution to education as the recipient of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) Gold Medal Award. Dr Bruniges has also received the 2015 Sir Harold Wyndham Medal Award for her contribution to the education of young people in NSW from the Australian College of Educators.
Effective from April 2017, Dr Bruniges was announced as the first Australian to be appointed Chair of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Governing Board in recognition of her expertise in assessing educational outcomes based on evidence, effective data collection and analysis.
Cathy McGowan AO, MP
Member for Indi, Victoria
Cathy McGowan was born in Albury Hospital and raised on a dairy farm in the Indigo Valley near Wodonga. She was educated in Beechworth and Melbourne and gained qualifications in economics and agriculture. She began her working life in rural Victoria as a teacher in Nhill and Wangaratta, and then as electoral assistant for Ewen Cameron, the Federal Member for Indi, in the 1980s, before joining the Victorian Department of Agriculture.
When she was 27, Cathy purchased a farm in the Indigo Valley and established a rural consulting business with a focus on working with communities, and farming families on issues such as Home and Community Care, child care, and care for people with cancer. This gave Cathy an understanding of the various challenges facing small business and community groups, and how they could be overcome. Cathy has also worked as an academic at the University of Western Sydney, researcher, and company director. Her work with women in agriculture took her all around the world, with contracts in Papua New Guinea and Ireland and she was regularly asked to speak at international conferences.
Cathy’s community service has been acknowledged with an Order of Australia, a national Centenary medal, and the award of a Churchill Fellowship. Cathy stood as an independent candidate in the 2013 election for the Federal seat of Indi to provide voters with a real choice for representation on issues that matter to them. She was re-elected again in 2016.
David Crotty (ACT, 1998)
Curator, Qantas Heritage Collection
David was appointed as Curator of the Qantas Heritage Collection in May 2012. He manages the Sydney Domestic Terminal heritage display and the Jet Base Museum as well as relationships with the TAA Museum in Melbourne and the Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach, Qld where he is a board member representing Qantas.
David has worked as a curator specialising in aviation and engineering history for the past 20 years. He holds a B.A (Hons) in modern history and a Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies.
After working on the project team establishing Scienceworks in Melbourne in the early 1990s, David joined the Australian War Memorial in Canberra as an aircraft project manager and then a curator. He managed the final conservation and assembly of the Memorial’s Mosquito aircraft and the relocation of Lancaster ‘G for George’ from the old Aeroplane Hall. He received his ACT Churchill Fellowship to complete the latter project.
David subsequently worked as Curator of the Royal Australian Air Force Museum at Point Cook near Melbourne and as Curator, Engineering and Transport at Museum Victoria before taking up his current role with Qantas.
Keynote at Gala Dinner: ‘A Journey with George’:"I received my ACT Churchill Fellowship in 1998 while working as a curator with the Australian War Memorial. The talk will be a reflection on the story of Lancaster ‘G for George’ through conversations with Bomber Command veterans I met at the time.”