The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) constitution allows for up to 12 directors who are elected annually at PIAC’s Annual General Meeting. PIAC is a company limited by guarantee.

  • Rebecca Gilsenan

    Board member since May 2012

    Chair of PIAC Board.

    Rebecca Gilsenan is a Principal Lawyer in Maurice Blackburn’s class actions department. She has extensive experience in running complex and novel litigation, including class actions in the areas of price fixing, failed investment schemes, product liability and securities.

  • Maha Krayem Abdo OAM

    Board member since November 2022

    Maha Krayem Abdo OAM is a passionate advocate for social justice and uses the common language of faith to clarify in the community how Islam regards justice and equality. She serves as the CEO of Muslim Women Australia (MWA), a representative body for Muslim women working to enrich humanity, advocating for equality and the rights of all women, through authentic leadership based on Islamic principles.

    Maha knows the migrant experience firsthand having moved from Lebanon to Australia with her family in the 1960s. She has completed a Bachelor of Social Work, a Masters in Social Science, and Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution.

    Today Maha represents and gives voice to Muslim women abroad as well as in Australia. She advises government on policy, services and strategies to create a harmonious community for Muslim and non-Muslim women. In 2022, Maha received an Honorary Fellow from Western Sydney University, and was appointed as a Panel Member of the NSW Treasurers’ Women’s Economic Opportunities Review. In 2021, Maha was awarded the Committee for Sydney Unsung Hero Award, in 2016 Maha was the NSW Seniors Week Ambassador as well as the BreastScreen NSW Ambassador. In 2015 Maha was a finalist for the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal, and in 2014 she was the NSW Human Rights Ambassador for 2014-15.

  • Sally Aurisch

    Board member since May 2020

    Sally Aurisch is a not-for-profit, community, and disability sector leader with more than 15 years’ experience in policy development, program design and delivery, community engagement, and advocacy. A vision impaired leader herself, Sally is passionate about access and inclusion, and regularly writes or presents on the topics of disability leadership, accessible education and employment, as well as disability, sex, and gender. Sally is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Blind Citizens Australia and a student and Peer Assisted Study Session Leader at University of New England.

  • Eileen Baldry AO

    Board member since February 2015

    Professor Baldry is one of the country’s leading academics in the field of Criminology. In 2017 she was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, at University of New South Wales. Eileen regularly chairs government committees and working groups, and appears as a witness in commission and government inquiries in relation to social justice issues.

  • Andrea Durbach

    Board member since November 2021

    Andrea Durbach is Emeritus Professor of Law at UNSW where she was Director of the Australian Human Rights Centre (now Institute). She practised in South Africa as a political trial lawyer representing victims and opponents of apartheid laws before moving to Sydney in 1989, working initially in private practice and joining PIAC in 1991, becoming Executive Director in 1997. Andrea has held senior positions in the human rights field, including as Deputy Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner. A Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, in 2013 she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Law Award for her promotion and advancement of human rights in Australia.

  • Penny Gerstle

    Board member since April 2020

    Penny Gerstle has advocated for asylum seekers and refugees for over 30 years, holding honorary and voluntary positions at organisations including the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, and Australia for UNHCR’s Women’s Steering Committee on Maternal Health. Penny has been Co-Chair of Human Rights Watch Australia (Sydney Committee) since April 2018, a Director of Participate Australia since 2015 and joined the Board of Mahboba’s Promise this year.  She holds Masters degrees from the University of Sydney  in Japanese, in International Law and in Development and Global Health Studies, and worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission in the Disability Discrimination and Race Discrimination Teams.

  • Kirsten Gray

    Board member since February 2022

    Kirsten Gray is a Muruwari/Yuwaalaraay woman, mother and lawyer. She started her career representing parents in child protection matters and has gone on to work extensively in Indigenous policy and human rights. Kirsten has served numerous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioners at the Australian Human Rights Commission and has contributed to Indigenous human rights advocacy both nationally and internationally. Kirsten served as a senior policy officer on the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory and supported the Queensland Treaty Working Group in the development of the Path to Treaty report.

  • Sera Mirzabegian SC

    Board member since November 2022

    Sera Mirzabegian SC is a senior barrister who practises in commercial litigation, regulatory investigations and litigation, class actions and human rights. She has acted for major Australian and international companies in a variety of industries (including financial services, property, infrastructure, pharmaceutical, media and technology) and independent commissions such as the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. She regularly acts for human rights and environmental organisations as well as marginalised and disadvantaged individuals and communities on a pro bono basis. She is currently the Co-Chair of the NSW Bar’s Diversity and Equality Committee and has previously served as a Councillor of the NSW Bar Association.

  • Kate Morgan SC

    Board member since November 2019

    Kate Morgan is a leading Sydney barrister who appears throughout numerous jurisdictions (civil and criminal) with a focus on regulatory matters. Her practice includes regulatory investigations and litigation, corporate and commercial litigation, class actions and general appellate matters. Before being called to the Bar, Kate practiced as an attorney in New York State, and as a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jacques and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

  • John Temple-Cole

    Board member since June 2023

    John is a Partner at advisory firm KordaMentha. He is a Forensic Accounting Specialist designated by Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand.

    For over 25 years, John has led complex disputes and financial & accounting investigations. He has provided expert evidence in a range of Australian Courts, the High Court of Singapore and in international arbitration proceedings.  His engagements have required him to investigate or provide expert opinions on issues including fraud, false accounting, failed investments, tax avoidance and breaches of contract.

    John attained a Bachelor’s degree in Management Sciences, with Honours, from Loughborough University (UK). He lived and studied mandarin at University in Taiwan for a number of years, and his professional accounting career has involved working in both London and Sydney.

  • Jade Tyrrell

    Board member since November 2020

    Jade Tyrrell is an Associate in Johnson Winter & Slattery’s Dispute Resolution Practice Group. She has experience acting in complex and large-scale commercial litigation, underpayment class actions, employment-related disputes, and defamation proceedings. In addition to her commercial work, Jade has a strong interest in supporting pro bono projects and assists with matters referred through Johnson Winter & Slattery’s pro bono program. Jade is a Councillor of the Law Society of New South Wales and sits on the Law Society’s Indigenous Issues Committee.

  • John Walker

    Board member since February 2016

    John Walker is recognised as a leader in the emerging global litigation funding market. He is the Managing Director of Investor Claim Partner Pty Ltd and ICP Capital Pty Ltd. John came to litigation funding more than twenty years ago after working in accounting and economics and practicing as a commercial litigator in Sydney.

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