Foundation members

Professor Wendy Bacon
Wendy is an investigative journalist and a political activist. She worked at the University of Technology for 21 years. she is also on the Board of the Pacific Media Centre based at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. She is a contributing editor to New Matilda and has reported for Crikey,  the Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation and Guardian Australia  in recent times.

Dr Bill Birnbauer (secretary)
Bill is an adjunct senior lecturer of Journalism at Monash University, and is one of Australia’s most senior journalists with more than 30 years experience working across a range of major publications including The Age, The Sunday Age and The Herald. He is a member of the invitation-only International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a committee member of the Melbourne Press Club, and member of the New Media Australia Editorial Board.

Dr Philip Chubb
Philip is an Associate Professor and the head of Journalism at Monash University. Before joining Monash in 2008 Philip enjoyed a career in journalism that saw him win most of the country’s top awards, including a Gold Walkley, Gold UN media peace prize and a Logie. As well as being a writer, producer and publisher he held several senior executive positions including National Editor of 7.30 on ABC TV, leader writer at The Age and deputy editor of Time Australia. He is also vice president of the Melbourne Press Club.

Dr Andrew Dodd (president)
Andrew is the Program Director and an Associate Professor of Journalism at Swinburne University. He has been a journalist for over twenty five years, working in radio, TV, print and on-line. He was a media and business writer with The Australian and a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, where he presented many of the network’s programs and founded the Media Report.He was a reporter on The 7.30 Report and has also worked for Radio Netherlands and community radio.

Mr Robert Oakeshott
Rob was the independent federal MP for the seat of Lyne from 2008 to 2013. Before that he held the NSW state seat of Port Macquarie, first for the Nationals from 1996 to 2002 and then as an independent. He is the author of a memoir about his two terms in federal parliament. He joined the Foundation’s Board in 2014.

Professor Matthew Ricketson
Matthew is professor of journalism and communication at Deakin University. before that he was the inaugural professor of journalism at the University of Canberra. He was Media and Communications editor for The Age from mid-2006 to early 2009. He ran the Journalism program at RMIT for 11 years and has worked on staff at The Australian, Time Australia magazine and The Sunday Herald, among other publications. He is president of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

Dr Margaret Simons
Margaret is a freelance journalist, author and an Associate Professor of Journalism at Monash University. She is the former Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism at Melbourne University, Margaret began her career on a country newspaper in South Australia before doing a cadetship at The Age, where she worked for almost ten years. She reported on the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption in Queensland, and then became a consultant to the inquiry to aid in writing its report. She also worked for The Australian, and was a media commentator for She has written many books and numerous essays and articles, and been short listed in the Walkley Awards three times and won two Quill awards for feature writing.

Ms Melissa Sweet 
Melissa is one of Australia’s most experienced health journalists, and has worked at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Bulletin magazine and Australian Associated Press. She has been freelancing for more than 15 years, and her work appears in many professional and general publications. She is the author or co-author of four books, and was awarded a Dart Centre Ochberg Fellowship for “Inside Madness” (Pan Macmillan, 2006). She founded the Croakey public health blog, and holds an honorary appointment as a senior lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra and curates @WePublicHealth.

Dr Helen Sykes AM
Helen Sykes is the Director of Future Leaders, President of the Trust for Young Australians, Chair of The Australian Collaboration, Associate of Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Member of the Future Justice Executive, Summit Governor of the Hillary Institute and Board Member of the Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. She has published and edited many books.

Professor Julian Thomas
Julian is the ECP Director of Social Change at RMIT University, He is a researcher in digital media and the internet, including media, communications and information policy and the history of communications technologies. His work includes the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (2016), Internet on the Outstation (Institute of Network Cultures, 2016), and The Informal Media Economy (Polity, 2015). He was the Director of the Swinburne Institute for Social Research (SISR), and Professor of Media and Communications. He chairs the management committee of the website Australian Policy Online, and is a member of the Telstra CEO’s Consumer Forum, the ARC College of Experts, and the Advisory Board of QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre.

• The Foundation would also like to acknowledge the service of previous board members: Michael Bromley, Chris Graham, Steve Harris, Elaine Henry, Chris Masters, Gerard Noonan, Jim Parker, and Julianne Schultz.