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Speakers

Paul Bongiorno AM

Paul Bongiorno is Ten's National Affairs Editor, a position he holds after handing the reins of the Parliament House Bureau in Canberra to Hugh Riminton. From 1991 till 2010 he was Bureau Chief and Political Editor.

One of Australia's most trusted, experienced and respected political journalists, Paul has been a key part of Network Ten for more than 35 years and is also a veteran member of the Canberra Press Gallery, celebrating 25 years with the gallery this year.

He is also a regular political commentator on the ABC's Radio National Breakfast program with Fran Kelly, and has a weekly segment on ABC 702's morning program in Sydney.

During his role as host of Meet The Press from 1996 to 2012, Paul regularly interviewed politicians including Australia's Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders. His most memorable interview was with Pauline Hanson during her time as leader of the One Nation Party. Ms Hanson insisted her then adviser, David Oldfield, join her on set. Mr Oldfield took umbrage at being ignored during the first segment of the interview and threatened to shut it down.

Before making the move to the nation's capital in 1987, Paul covered state politics for Network Ten in Brisbane. It was there he established his reputation as an exceptional investigative journalist, winning four coveted Walkley Awards.

Paul's television career began in 1974 with Seven Network in Melbourne. He then moved to WIN TV Wollongong, before joining Network Ten in 1978.

He holds a Master's Degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.

Dr Nick Coatsworth

Dr Nick Coatsworth is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and specialises in both respiratory medicine and infectious diseases. He is currently Director of Infectious Diseases for Canberra Hospital.   

Nick began his humanitarian career with Medecins Sans Frontieres in 2004. He has worked in Congo-Brazzaville, Chad and the Darfur region of Sudan.  Dr Coatsworth served on the MSF Australia board of Directors from 2008-2014. He was elected President in 2010 serving for two terms.

In the wake of the Typhoon Haiyan disaster of 2013 Nick led the second Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) deployed to Tacloban City in the Philippines.  Nick has also led a medico-logistic team to the Arnhem land community of Maningrida to eradicate trachoma and as Executive Director of Australia’s National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) coordinated the AusMAT deployments to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji

In 2013 Nick delivered the prestigious ES Meyers Oration at the University of Queensland during which he discussed his experiences in humanitarianism.  He is now a Director on the board of Careflight NSW. 

Nick graduated from the University of Western Australia in 2001 and holds a Masters degree in International Public Health from the University of Sydney.  He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  In 2015 he received the State Manager of the Year (NT) award from the Australian Institute of Management for his work with the NCCTRC.  He has written widely for online and print media, has published in scientific and policy journals, and regularly addresses audiences about humanitarian issues in Australia and overseas.

Em Professor Bob Douglas AO, MA, MB BS MD, FRACP, FRACGP, FAFPHM

Bob Douglas retired from his post as the Foundation Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the ANU 2001. His forty-year medical career spanned work as a specialist physician in Papua New Guinea, a general practitioner in Adelaide; being Dean of the Medial School at the University of Adelaide and Chair of a Geneva based World Health Advisory Group. He was an AMA Councillor in Adelaide and led an investigation into the possible role of prepaid health plans in Australia on behalf of the Federal AMA from 1974-78. He was honoured for contributions to medicine by the award of Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2000.

Following his retirement in 2001, Bob, with five colleagues from various walks of Australian life, established a new body, Australia 21 the Board of which he chaired from 2001-2011. Australia 21 is building networks of thinkers and researchers on some of the large challenges, which face Australia and the world in the 21st Century. Australia21 tackles complex problems such as illicit drug policy, carbon pricing, the resilience of Australian communities, the restoration of Australian ecosystems, asylum seeker policy and post traumatic stress disorder.

Bob led a project for Australia21 on "The Right to Choose an Assisted Death" in 2013 which involved the commissioning of a discussion paper on the topic by academics at the Queensland University of Technology and a high-level roundtable of 27 experts in the field that included both opponents and advocates for voluntary euthanasia and 

Dr Joanna Flynn MBBS, MPH, HonDMedSc, FRACGP

Dr Joanna Flynn AM is a general practitioner who has been involved in medical regulation for more than 25 years.

She is the Chair of the Medical Board of Australia holding this position since national registration was introduced in 2010. Prior to the National Scheme, Dr Flynn was the youngest person appointed to the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria in 1989 and was the first female President for both that Board and, the Australian Medical Council.

She is the Chair of the Board of Eastern Health, one of Melbourne’s largest metropolitan public hospitals and a board member of Ambulance Victoria.

Dr Flynn chaired the Postgraduate Medical Council of Victoria and has held various positions with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

In 2012 she was appointed Chair of the Independent Advisory Council for the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR).

In 2015 she was a member of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ Expert Advisory Group into Discrimination, Bullying and Sexual Harassment and of the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council’s Expert Advisory Panel for the Review of Medical Intern Training. 

Dr Flynn was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to medical administration and the community. In 2012 the University of Melbourne conferred on her an Honorary Doctorate of Medical Science and in 2015 she received the Woman in Medicine award from the Australian Medical Association.

Dr Karen Hitchcock

Karen Hitchcock is a staff physician in acute and general medicine at the Alfred Hospital. She is the author of Dear Life: On caring for the elderly (Quarterly Essay 57) and a regular contributor to the Monthly magazine.

Professor John Horvath AO

Professor John Horvath AO is Ramsay Health Care’s Strategic Medical Advisor. Professor Horvath served as Australia’s Chief Medical Officer between 2003 and 2009 and has served as Chair of the Health Committee on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) the NSW Medical Registration Board and the Australian Medical Council (AMC).  He has been a Board member of the Garvan Institute, Health Workforce Australia and Crown Resorts Ltd (ongoing), and most recently served as Principal Medical Consultant to the Department of Health and Ageing from 2009 till recently.

Tony Jones

Tony Jones is one of the ABC's most respected journalists, with more than 20 years experience in radio and television news and current affairs. He anchors Lateline on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Tony began hosting the award winning news and current affairs program, Lateline in 1999. In 2004, he received a Walkley for best ‘Broadcast Interviewing’, for a series of Lateline interviews. 

Tony joined the ABC as a radio current affairs cadet working on AM, PM and The World Today. In 1985 he was seconded to Four Corners as a reporter and in 1986 joined the Dateline program on SBS. Tony returned a year later to the ABC, reporting for Four Corners where in the next three years he won a number of awards for his current affairs coverage, including a Walkley award, a Penguin Award and a Gold Medal in the New York Film and Television Festival for a story on the exploitation of Antarctica. 

In 1990, he went to London as the TV current affairs correspondent, covering such stories as the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the re-unification of Germany, the Gulf War, the war in the former Yugoslavia, the fall of Kabul in Afghanistan to the Mujahadin and the collapse of apartheid in South Africa. Tony won a Walkley Award (with Kerry O'Brien and Dugald Maudsley) for Lateline's coverage of the end of Gorbachev's Soviet Union. 

Tony returned to Sydney in 1993 as Executive Producer of Foreign Correspondent and then from 1994 – 1996 was the ABC’s Washington correspondent. He returned to Foreign Correspondent in 1997 as a reporter and covered the war crimes in Bosnia, which won him a Silver Medal for best foreign coverage in the New York Film and Television Festival. In mid 1998 Tony returned to Four Corners.

Professor Malcolm Parker

Malcolm Parker is Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of Queensland, with qualifications in medicine, philosophy and health law. He was in general medical practice for over thirty years. He was the inaugural Head of the Discipline of Medical Ethics, Law and Professional Practice in the School of Medicine, and coordinated the development and teaching of the School’s courses in ethics, law & professional practice in the MBBS/MD program from 1994 to 2015. He is the immediate past president of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law. Professor Parker served on committees of the Medical Board of Queensland and the Medical Board of Australia, and was a long-serving member of the Postgraduate Medical Council of Queensland. He has published nationally and internationally in philosophy of medicine, bioethics, medical ethics, health law, and medical education, including a wide range of publications concerning the end of life and assisted dying.

Ruth Mitchell

Before joining the Department of Health, Professor Horvath’s career included 30 years in clinical practice at the Royal Prince Alfred where he established a number of clinical services and as Director of the Renal and Transplant Services.  He has been active in teaching and research; policy development and implementation of national strategies on behalf of governments.

He has represented Australia’s interest with the World Health Organisation and was Deputy Chair of the WHO’s international cancer research institute based in Lyon, France. He was awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia in 2001.

Ruth Mitchell is a Neurosurgery Trainee currently in the second year of her PhD at the University of Melbourne, and also a Neurosurgery Registrar at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

She is the Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trainee Association (RACSTA), and is drawn to advocacy and activist roles. Passions include refugee wellbeing, diversity in surgery and in science, getting rid of nuclear weapons, and curing brain cancer, ideally whilst eating ceviche.

Ruth has degrees in Zoology and Political Science, has worked in Slovakia with Romany Gypsy children, floated in the Dead Sea, and addressed the United Nations, but she has never spoken at an AMA National Conference before and is extremely excited to be invited.

Chris Ronalds AM SC

Chris Ronalds AM SC is a Sydney barrister, specialising in discrimination law, employment law and administrative law. In that role, she appeared in many landmark cases and has assisted a number of employers in addressing discrimination and harassment issues within their workforce. She has conducted multiple in depth investigations into workplace harassment and discrimination. She is an accredited mediator.

She was closely involved with the preparation of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

She is the author of Discrimination Law and Practice, with Elizabeth Raper(Federation Press, 4th ed, July 2012).

She was appointed Senior Counsel in September 2004. 

She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in June 1994 for her services to women, and in particular anti-discrimination and affirmative action legislation.

Dr Linda Swan

As the Chief Medical Officer for Medibank Private, Linda is focused on improving the health outcomes and patient experience for their 3.8 million members as well as finding ways to keep the cost of heathcare affordable for all members. As the largest Private Health Insurer in Australia, Medibank is uniquely poisoned to drive healthcare reform that will benefit not only their members but all Australians. 

Linda is a registered medical practitioner with broad commercial and business experience across the health sector including in general practice, clinical research, the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, population health and health policy. Prior to joining Medibank, Linda was the Managing Director for Healthways Australia  - a global population health company specialising in behaviour change programs to improve health and lower healthcare costs. 

Philip Truskett AM MB BS FRACS FACS FASGBI (Hon) FAICD

Phil Truskett is a General Surgeon with an interest in Upper GI Surgery at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, where he is a senior staff specialist.

He has taken an active role in both the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the specialty society General Surgeons Australia. He is a past President of General Surgeons Australia. As a College councillor he has served on many College committees. Most recently, he was the Chair of the Board of Surgical Education and Training and immediate past Censor in Chief. In 2016 he was elected College President.

His major interest is in the provision of Emergency Surgery to our community in our current challenging environment. As a result, he has been involved in the design and assessment of models of care to provide consultant-led timely care. These models of care are now being adopted in Australia and New Zealand.

He is a strong advocate of sustainable surgical services, as the provision of patient-centred care in a safe, clinical environment is the benchmark by which we are all judged as professionals and how we should judge one another. It is education in the non-technical skills of surgery which will strengthen our place in the community. This education is a current focus. 

Associate Professor Mark Yates

Mark Yates is a consultant physician in geriatric medicine at Ballarat Health Services and Director Clinical Studies, Grampians Clinical School, Deakin University. He graduated at Monash University in 1986 and received his FRACP in 1994. Mark is a past president of AMA Victoria during which time the Maria Korp and BWV cases came to prominence . He is a past member of AMA Care of Older Persons Committee where he assisted with the development of AMAs first position paper on Advanced Care Planning. Mark has just completed a two year term as an a member of the AMA Victoria Board.

He has clinical roles in the Grampians Region Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) and as a Geriatrician to the Ballarat Health Services Sub-Acute Service. Mark’s research activities includes care and treatment of dementia and hospital system redesign.

Mark is a member of the team at Ballarat Health Services that developed the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program, which with the support of the Australian Government is being rolled out nationally. This program is an all of hospitals cognitive impairment education and awareness program linked to a bedside cognitive impairment symbol. Marks PhD will examine the impact of the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program on hospital acquired complication in patients with

Mark was appointed to the Minister’s Dementia Health Priority Taskforce in August 2005. He has continued in this role as a member of the Minister’s Dementia Advisory Group. Mark was a member of the PBAC from March 2005 to December 2008.

assisted suicide. The report of the roundtable argued the need for legislation on this topic in Australia.

More Speakers Coming Soon