National Convenor - Linda Simon

Contact Linda Simon

Linda Simon has been a teacher in schools, TAFE and now at university. She currently teaches in adult education at Charles Sturt University. She was Secretary of the TAFE Teachers Association for over fifteen years, and Federal TAFE President of the Australian Education Union for six years. She has served on the Board of NCVER and on BVET in NSW, and is an educationalist and researcher committed to equity and public education.

Secretary - Robyn Woolley

Contact Robyn Woolley

Robyn Woolley is from NSW, and is WAVE's secretary. Past WAVE positions include NSW Co-convenor, and National Co-convenor.

Equity for women and girls in the Australian VET system, especially in NSW has been a central focus for Robyn’s work. Robyn has designed and implemented educational programs for women and girls, managed and worked collaboratively on numerous funded research projects relating to girls and women, work and work related education and training. Robyn developed Digi-Girls a registered program within TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute, as a technical skills acceleration program for girls in middle and senior years of high school. This has been recognised as a best practice program.
Additionally Robyn has contributed to the management of numerous community and special interest women’s advocacy and service organisations [local, state and national and international].
Robyn’s service to education was noted in 2011 as a finalist of the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award.
Robyn co-runs a small holiday cottage business in the Hunter Region of NSW, and this, and efforts to support the environment, are now her main focus.

Treasurer - Annette Bonnici

Contact Annette Bonnici

Annette Bonnici has worked in TAFE NSW for almost 30 years as a teacher, manager and administrator. Having a background in Electronics Engineering and being the first female Computer Engineer in Australia for a multinational IT company, she is passionate about developing and supporting women and girls into non-traditional careers.

Past National Co-Convenor/WAVE Ambassador - Elaine Butler

Contact Elaine Butler

Elaine Butler has worked as an academic, educator, researcher, consultant and activist in the field of gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) for over four decades. This work has been at local, national, local, regional and international levels, with an enduring focus on education and training, decent work and policy outcomes to enhance the wellbeing of women and girls and marginalised groups.

Policy discourses, provision and practices that impact access to affordable, relevant quality education and training for women and girls in the Australian VET system and elsewhere continue as long standing areas special interest to Elaine.

Elaine was a member of the Australian Government delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW55) in New York in 2011. As Ambassador for WAVE, Elaine is WAVE’s representative on Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), Australian Coalition for Education and Development (ACED), Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and TAFE SA’s Women’s Education Advisory Group (WEAG). She was Visiting Scholar 2013 – 2014 for the Erasmus Mundus European Masters of Lifelong Learning: Policy & Management (MA LLL) program.

Elaine is involved in research and advocacy relating to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016 she completed a research based assignment for Asian Development Bank (ADB): Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and gender: Towards inclusive futures for women and girls. In 2018 she completed a GESI – CSE (civil society engagement) small scale project investigating the potential of linking marginalised groups through training to decent work in infrastructure projects in Indonesia. Elaine also attended UNESCO APMED 4 2018 meeting in Bangkok that focused on SDG 4 targets 4.3 & 4.4 – inclusive TVET.

Northern Territory

WAVE currently has no representative in NT. If you would be interested in taking on this role please contact


WAVE's Queensland Convenor is Jane Newton.

Contact Jane Newton


Jane is employed as Research Manager at Jobs Queensland.


WAVE’s co-convenors in Victoria are Kira Clarke, Demmi Paris and Debra Parker.

KC Photo

Kira Clarke

Research Fellow

Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Contact Kira Clarke

Kira Clarke is a Research Fellow within the Education Policy and Leadership (EPL) unit of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Kira's work has included contributions to the Victorian Qualifications Authority (VQA) October Scanning Paper (2005), the Next Step survey for the Queensland Department of Education (2005, 2006), the Victorian On Track survey (2005-07), aReview of Critical Skills for OTTE (2008), an examination of post-compulsory provision in Melbourne (2008-2009), and a national study examining the Provision of Pastoral Care in Apprenticeships for the Joint DEECD/DIIRD Policy Unit on Youth Transitions. Most recently Kira completed work on an ARC Discovery Project tracking a cohort of VET in Schools students in three Australian states and she is currently conducting a study of VET in Schools as part of an three year NCVER funded project. Kira coordinates the subject Social & Professional Contexts (SPC) in the Postgraduate Diploma of Teaching (Teach for Australia) and teaches into SPC in the Master of Teaching program. Kira also coordinates the Negotiated Project subject within the Master of Education Policy (International). Kira is currently the higher education representative to the VCAA's Vocational Education Reference Group. Kira is in the final stages of her PhD, examining youth transitions and the role of the Victorian TAFE sector, under the supervision of Professor John Polesel and A/Professor Leesa Wheelahan.

Demmi Paris

Victorian Executive Officer


Contact Demmi Paris

Demmi Paris has built a  professional career comprising of  15 + years’ experience in  education and management, with the last 10 years as a Management professional, both in the national and international education arena.

Demmi Is currently the Victorian Executive Officer for Australian Council for Private Education and training.(ACPET).

Demmi responsible to fulfil the strategic and governance roles and to manage the day to day operations of the Council. Responsible for coordinating and tracking strategic and annual planning, and ensuring relevance and alignment of ACPET’s strategic directions with its members.


Debra Parker

Contact Debra Parker

As an education leader, published researcher and capacity builder Debra has worked within the education and not-for-profit sectors for twenty years.Debra works with organisations to develop staff capacity, identify, develop and implement sustainable work practices while building mutually beneficial community partnerships. With an in depth understanding of pedagogy and workplace learning needs Debra has worked with industry and the education sector to develop workplace learning packages which develop the skills of the workforce enabling them to deliver on organisational goals with a strong sense of engagement with vision and mission.

Western Australia

WAVE’s co-convenors in WA are Sarah Leftwich and Sue Thompson.

Sue Thompson

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Sue Thompson has worked in further education colleges in the UK and Australia since 1988, as a lecturer, as a program manager/director and in 2013, as a consultant, at the Western Australian Department of Education Aboriginal Education branch. Sue’s specialist knowledge and interests include lecturer development (her Masters thesis was about the history and development of lecturer education in the UK) and the use of technology in teaching and learning, (Sue was one of ANTA’s inaugural Flexible Learning Leaders in 2000). Sue is currently Learning Portfolio Manager for ESL & General Education at Central Institute of Technology in Perth. Her aim is to reinvent and reinvigorate the Community and Adult Education space, a topic which combines many aspects of her experience in the sector and is enabling her to examine the possibility of personalised learning, a key emerging theme in the delivery of public services, including education and training internationally. Sue is pursuing studies in a range of areas, including the role of Social Enterprise in skills development and employment for socially disadvantaged groups.

Sarah Leftwich

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Sarah was born and raised in London, England and completed a Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree at Kingston University, Surrey, England. After leaving University she spent several years in the Aviation Industry before working as a Primary School teacher at inner city and rural schools in England. She moved to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and subsequently Brunei Darussalam, where she worked at the International School for 7 years, teaching local and expatriate primary aged children the English Curriculum. In 2002 Sarah moved to Perth, Western Australia and joined Central Institute of Technology (now known as North Metropolitan TAFE) in 2003 as a lecturer in Education Support.

In 2017 Sarah completed a Double Diploma in VET and Training Design and Development and is currently completing a Diploma of Quality Auditing.

Sarah currently holds the position of Head of Programs for English and Languages. She has worked in acting roles as Principal Lecturer and Director of Portfolio. Sarah is a member of Literacy Alliance (Adult Literacy and Learning), State School Teachers Union of Western Australia and the Teachers Registration Board of WA. Within North Metropolitan TAFE, Sarah is an active member of working parties that contribute to the development of systems, compliance and reconciliation.


WAVE’s co-convenors in NSW are Cecilia Blackwell and Terri Quinlan.

Cecilia Blackwell

Contact Cecilia Blackwell

Cecilia is old enough to know better, but is currently working half time as a community services teacher with TAFE, and half time as a mental health counsellor with Centacare. In her spare time, she reads diverse books and potters around her farm, looking after poultry, sheep & very naughty goats. A born feminist, she is struggling to come to terms with what seems to be a social backslide in terms of girls’ and women’s rights.

Terri Quinlan

Contact Terri Quinlan

After graduating from high school, Terri completed her degree in Applied Science (Computing Science) and began her career as an Analyst Programmer where she worked in the electricity and television industries for a number of years. After taking time out to start her family, Terri enrolled at TAFE NSW to update her skills and return to work. There she discovered the value of a free, accessible and equitable public vocational education and training system. With one six month course under her belt, and having enrolled in another, she successfully applied to become a part time casual teacher in the Information Technology (IT) and Careers Pathways skills areas of TAFE NSW. Terri spent almost 24 years as a part time casual teacher with TAFE teaching on mainstream IT classes, TVET classes for Year 11 and 12 students and on equity programs for women, youth at risk and the mature unemployed. She has seen firsthand the important role that TAFE plays in the lives of so many women and girls and has experienced the difficulties and insecurity of long term casual work, something that inordinately affects women. She has campaigned for over 17 years for the public TAFE system, the rights of casuals in the workplace and the need for more permanent jobs and increased job security. After 24 years, Terri has finally secured a permanent full time position with in TAFE NSW in the Standards and Compliance Branch.


Sue Salthouse and Denise Madden

WAVE's co-convenors in the ACT are Sue Salthouse and Denise Madden. Sue is Director of Didactic Enterprises and Vice President of Women With Disabilities Australia. Denise works at the Canberra Institute of Technology

Sue Salthouse

Contact Sue Salthouse

Sue Salthouse

Sue Salthouse has worked in the area of social justice and human rights since 1996, with numerous sortis into the education sector depending on country of residence. Australia’s ratification of United Nations Human Rights conventions provide the scaffold she uses to address the discrimination and marginalisation experienced by women and girls with disabilities in the education sector and in the wider community.

Her particular focus has been to play an active role in systemic advocacy to improve the status and opportunities for women and girls with disabilities to participate in education and employment. Sue is currently Chair of Women With Disabilities ACT, a role she has held for over a decade.

Sue is director of a number of organisations which address aspects of equity in access to education and employment, including Rights & Inclusion Australia (RI Australia), Workways (from 22 November 2018) and the Independent Advisory Council of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She is a former chair of Advance Personnel (a Disability Employment Service), and a former member of the Council of the University of Canberra (2012-2017).

Sue is also a past President of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Women With Disabilities Australia(WWDA) and is an inaugural life member of the Australia Nepal Friendship Society. Sue is the 2014 ACT Senior Woman of the Year.

Sue has the lived experience of disability after an accident in 1995. She was the 2015 Canberra Citizen of the Year, 2014 ACT Senior Woman of the Year, and a nominee for the 2014 Senior Australian of the Year.

Denise Madden

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Canberra Institute of Technology

South Australia

WAVE's convenor in South Australia is Tish Champion.

Contact Tish Champion


After graduating with a Batchelor of Education from the South Australian College of Advanced Education in 1986 Tish headed overseas to work and play for 2 years.  On her return she taught for 11 years in remote educational settings such as Cook on the Western Australian border(now closed), the Pitjantjatjara Lands and Pt Pirie.  She also enjoyed two teaching stints in Japan during 1997 and 2004.  In 2000 she finally returned to Adelaide.  In 2001 and again in 2004 she became the mother of two sons who she is determined to raise as feminists.  She left teaching in 2008 to become the Women’s Officer at the Australian Education Union and is thankful to have a job that allows her to raise the profile of women and take part in women’s activities and issues on a daily basis.


WAVE's convenor in Tasmania is Rebecca Gray.

Contact Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray commenced teaching in vocational education in 2009 and with TasTAFE in 2015 delivering hospitality and tourism qualifications to apprentices in industry. Working with distance learners to provide quality training and assessment is a core component of her teaching. Her thesis titled ‘Responding to barriers facing distance learning among vocational education learners’, explored the experience of distance learners and where and how positive and negative pedagogies impact on their motivation, engagement and progression. She plans to use the findings to contribute to an improved Canvas online learning management system (LMS) curriculum design and teaching and as a basis to work within TasTAFE to improve the recognition of prior learning process (RPL) and the distance learner experience as a whole.