Speaker Biographies

Keynote address

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli is President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Born in Rimini, Italy, on 20 July 1941, he speaks English, Spanish and French. He entered the Pontifical Roman Seminary and was ordained a priest on 19 March 1965. As a student of the Pontifical Lateran University, he obtained a Doctorate in Theology and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University. Entering the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See in 1970, as Attaché at the Apostolic Nunciature in Honduras, he subsequently served in various Pontifical Representations (Philippines, Argentina, Chile). He is a Counsellor on Nunciature since 1985, and a Prelate of Honour of his Holiness since 1986. On December 22, 1990 he was named by the Holy Father as Under-Secretary for Relations with States.


After Dinner Speaker

Robyn Moore

Robyn Moore is a highly entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking presenter, captivating audiences at national and international conferences. Robyn’s presentations are often described as 'life changing’. Robyn has worked in education, advertising and the communication/entertainment industry for over 40 years. She has provided voiceovers for ads including Mr Sheen, Snappy Tom and Kleenex, as well as the shows ‘Blinky Bill,’ ‘Flipper,’ ‘Skippy,’ ‘The Magic Pudding’ and ‘How Green was my Cactus?’ She’s also an Ambassador for the Australia Day Council, the Australian Childhood Foundation and is the National Patron of Make-A-Wish Australia.

Peter William Ingham

Peter William Ingham was born at Crows Nest, Sydney in January 1941. His early education was completed at St Leonard’s Primary School, Naremburn, and St Pius X College, Chatswood. He studied for the priesthood at St Columba’s Seminary, Springwood, and at St Patrick’s Seminary, Manly, and was ordained a priest in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney in 1964. In his ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney he served for six years as private secretary to Cardinal Sir James Freeman and ten years as Secretary of the Archdiocese. He was nominated a Prelate of Honour (Monsignor) to his Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1986. In 1990 he returned to parish ministry as Parish Priest of St Charles, Ryde. He was ordained as an Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney in 1993 by His Eminence Cardinal Edward Clancy, with the title of Bishop of Pudenziana. Bishop Peter Ingham was installed as the fourth Bishop of Wollongong on 25 July 2001. In July 2013 Bishop Ingham celebrated the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ordination and celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on 18 July 2014.

Dr Dan Fleming

Dr Dan Fleming is Dean of Studies at The Broken Bay Institute. He has published a number of articles in the area of fundamental theological ethics, social ethics and theology, and currently has book chapters in press in the areas of moral education from a theological perspective and Emmanuel Levinas’ understanding of ethics as first philosophy. Dr Fleming recently completed a PhD which links Levinas, natural law theory and virtue ethics. His interests include theology, philosophy, moral education and the sciences, and he is currently working on a number of projects which explore links between these fields. Dr Fleming currently lectures at The Broken Bay Institute, The University of Newcastle and Sydney College of Divinity in Theology and Ethics.

Dan Box

Dan Box is the National Crime Reporter for The Australian newspaper and has spent much of the past three years reporting on child sex abuse and the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. He has previously worked for the BBC and The Sunday Times in the UK.

Lyall Mercer

Lyall Mercer founded Mercer PR in February 2010. The company specialises in media engagement and issues management. Lyall is a former journalist with over 20 years media experience. He has lived and practiced public relations in both Australia and the United States and is highly regarded as a specialist in communications and media strategy, reputation management and crisis communications.

John Anderton

John Anderton is the founder of the Butterfly group, which consists of Butterfly, Showtime Digital and Fearless. Butterfly is a digital agency. Showtime Digital specialises in online marketing, and Fearless is a branding and advertising agency. In 2013 Butterfly was recognised as the Best Agency 20+ staff at the Melbourne Design Awards. Other awards include the Sydney Design Award (2013, 2014) and Melbourne Design Awards (2012, 2013) and inclusion in the BRW Fast 100 list (2012). John has built websites and advised on marketing to Catholic and not for profit organisations across Australia for more than 10 years. He has a Master of Management (Monash 2013) and Bachelor of Economics (UWA 2000). In 2011 he won the Monash University Marketing Award for Excellence.

John Cleary

John Cleary is a veteran ABC broadcaster and one of Australia's best-known commentators on religion. In his 30-year career with the ABC he has worked extensively in both radio and television, but is known principally for his association with Sunday Nights on ABC Local Radio and The Religion Report on ABC Radio National. John began his career in Perth, was one of the original Compass team on ABC TV and a co-presenter of the philosophy program, Meridian, on Radio National in the 1990s. For several years, John also appeared in a regular slot on the ABC youth network JJJ. His 1992 book on the Salvation Army in Australia was awarded the Christian Book of the Year. In 2008, John was host of the interfaith event held by the Catholic Church in conjunction with World Youth Day and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. John is in high demand as a conference moderator and speaker.

Kerry Myers

Kerry Myers is a journalist with more than 40 years experience working in both secular and Catholic media, most recently as the ten year Editor of the Catholic Weekly newspaper in the Archdiocese of Sydney. Kerry now works for national news agency, the Australian Associated Press. He is married with two grown-up daughters. Kerry is a keen photographer and also enjoys robust discussion, especially on social justice issues, on social media.

Malcolm Hart

Malcolm Hart is the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), Director of the Office for Youth. Malcolm has worked with the ACBC for six years, coordinating Australia’s participation in World Youth Day’s, the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, and providing ongoing project management and advice to the ACBC on a range of youth initiatives. Malcolm has a unique perspective of youth ministry in Australia, combining 21 years of professional experience in rural and urban dioceses, and through involvement in national and international youth programs and events.

Mark Brolly

Mark Brolly is Melbourne-based Australian correspondent for The Tablet since December 2003. A journalist since 1977, Mark has spent most of his career at The Age, including as Religious Affairs reporter from 1987-91. He has degrees in Arts (majoring in Journalism) and Theology, as well as a Diploma of Secondary Education from ACU. Joined Anglican Media Melbourne in 2009 while continuing his work for The Tablet. Worked in Perth in 1984-85 as a lay missionary among Indigenous students with the Pallottines (the Society of the Catholic Apostolate), with whom he has a continuing involvement.


Martyn Frost is Production Executive for Red Jet Pictures. Established in 2011, the Vision of Red Jet Pictures is to develop, create and deliver a broad range of speciality doco-style programs and series in the genre of reality television. Sydney based, Martyn has over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of television and corporate production, including STW Channel Nine Perth; Prime Canberra; WIN TV Canberra; Network TEN Melbourne; 14 Channel Malaysia; MTV Music Awards; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; CCTV China and Foxtel productions. He has worked in development of, and as Director on all the National eConferences for Adult Faith Formation, a partnership of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and The Broken Bay Institute, as well as a number of projects for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Michael McVeigh

Michael McVeigh with a background in journalism, not-for-profit communications and Catholic youth ministry, Michael McVeigh has been the editor of the country's largest Catholic publication, Australian Catholics magazine, for nearly 10 years. He is also the Senior Editor at Jesuit Communications Australia, overseeing Eureka Street and Madonna, as well as the communications activities for the Australian Jesuit Province. Much like Pope Francis, the mission of these publications is to discern a Catholic way of life that responds to the concerns and issues facing people in today's world, while also remaining committed to following Christ.

Noel Debien

Noel Debien works for the public service broadcaster, ABC radio with a particular focus on religion, beliefs, philosophies and their influence in public policy and daily life. Interested in News and Current Affairs, Noel’s specialties include: radio producing and presenting, TV producing and directing, writing, editing and online web work. In his spare time, Noel is a music maker, particularly of sacred choral music. He is involved at his local St Francis Parish, Paddington. In his youth, Noel attended the Catholic Institute of Sydney where he achieved a double degree in theology.

Robert Hiini

Robert Hiini has been a journalist since 2008 having worked in youth and life ministry after several years in the public service. He was the national affairs journalist for The Record, the then-newspaper of the Archdiocese of Perth, before joining Sydney’s The Catholic Weekly in July of last year. He is currently studying an MA in philosophical studies and says he is a passionate about Vatican II ecclesiology and doing whatever he is able to bring the Pastoral Instruction Communio et Progressio to life. A New Zealander by birth and barracking preference, his two younger sisters and parents live in Perth

Annette Blackwell

Annette Blackwell is a senior journalist and university lecturer. She is currently contracted to Australian Associated Press as the agency's lead reporter covering the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Martyn Frost

Sr Jane Keogh is a passionate advocate for refugees living in the community, a human rights campaigner and supporter of the Love Makes A Way movement. The former teacher has visited Baxter Detention Centre almost one hundred times, networked and researched to support legal aid for detainees and had many refugees living with her for short periods while they resettled. Sr Keogh csb BA Med has been a Brigidine Sister since 1962 and has devoted most of her time campaigning for truth and compassion in most areas of human rights and the environment in Australia and overseas.

Debra Vermeer

Debra Vermeer runs a freelance media and communications business. Until February 2010, she was for seven years the Communications Officer for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. She took up her position with the ACBC in November 2002 after a career in journalism, beginning in country and regional newspapers in NSW. In 1996 she started working for the national news wire service, Australian Associated Press, first in their Sydney bureau and then as a political reporter and Chief of Staff in the Press Gallery at Parliament House in Canberra. Debra holds a Bachelor of Theology. She is married to Tony and has two adult step-children, Zac and Cassie.

Jenny Brinkworth

Jenny Brinkworth has been Director of Communications for the Adelaide Archdiocese and Editor of The Southern Cross for the past six years, during which time she has managed several high profile media issues. Prior to that she was a senior consultant with a leading Adelaide public relations consultancy and she has also been communications manager for two government departments. She cut her teeth as a journo on rural newspapers before joining Adelaide’s daily newspaper, The Advertiser, where she covered State politics. Jenny has also worked for The Australian and freelanced for specialist publications. She is a member of the Australian Catholic Media Council and served on the national media and communications committee for the canonisation of Mary MacKillop.

Jane Jeffes

Jane Jeffes is Executive Producer in charge of Religion & Ethics programming and content at ABC Radio. Jane joined the corporation in July 2013 and is responsible for nine hours of programming each week on Radio National, Local Radio across the country, Radio Australia, Classic FM and NewRadio.Her brief is to strengthen and extend the ABC’s coverage of religion and related topics. Prior to joining the ABC, she produced and directed television documentaries for ABC TV, SBS and Al Jazeera. Before moving to Australia in 2000, Jane spent 11 years working in UK radio and television, most latterly as Head of Programmes at the UK’s largest independent radio production company developing, supervising and producing a wide range of programming for the BBC and commercial sectors. Something Understood, which Jane created for BBC Radio 4 is now in its 20th year.

Sandie Cornish

Sandie Cornish has a passion for Catholic Social Teaching. She has worked with a variety of religious institutes in research, social policy and formation. Sandie was the National Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council for five years and lead the Hong Kong based human rights agency, the Asian Centre for the Progress of Peoples. She is currently the Province Director of Mission for the Society of the Sacred Heart in Australia and New Zealand, a sessional lecturer in missiology at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, distance tutor in Christian ethics at the Broken Bay Institute, and a visiting lecturer at the East Asian Pastoral Institute. Sandie has degrees in economics (Newcastle), public policy (UNE), catholic social doctrine and ethics (PUG), and is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Theology at ACU.

Steph Unger

Steph Unger is a Brisbane Christian Singer/Songwriter, Youth Minister and Teacher. She is passionate about using the power of music to help young people connect with God and to feel good about who they are. After singing with Steve Angrisano at WYD in Rio De Janeiro in 2013, Steph felt the call to leave teaching to work as a Youth Minister for a Brisbane Parish. She now also travels around Australia writing school songs, providing teachers with ways to use music as prayer in their classroom and using music to engage, empower and inspire the young people she works with. Currently Steph is in the process of recording her new EP (short album) “Free At Last”, which will be a Christian Contemporary EP full of positive and uplifting pop songs.

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