Invited Speakers



Health and Disability Commissioner, New Zealand

Anthony Hill, Health and Disability Commissioner, began his term in July 2010.  Mr Hill is committed to a consumer centred and engaged system, that is integrated in its care, focussed on safety and quality, and which encourages  communication and learning.
The Health and Disability Commissioner is a crown-funded independent entity that looks at complaints from New Zealand health and disability services consumers'. The Commissioner is impartial and uses many different ways to resolve complaints including advocacy, mediation, and in cases where severe breaches are found, a referral can be made to the Director of Proceedings who has the power to seek damages.
Mr Hill came to the HDC after six years as a Deputy Director-General of Health.  During that time he had oversight of the funding and performance of the District Health Boards (then $12b), and a range of health crown entities, including Pharmac, the New Zealand Blood Service, and the HDC.  His regulatory functions included Medsafe, the National Radiation Laboratory, and HealthCert.
He has in-depth experience of the health and disability sectors, and began his 15-year tenure with the Ministry of Health as Chief Legal Advisor.  
Mr Hill has practised law in both private and public sectors. He holds Bachelors Degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Canterbury and Master of Laws from the University of Virginia.


KIRBY ORATION: Professor Ben White

Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology

Professor Ben White is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at QUT and a Director of its Health Law Research Centre.  Prior to joining QUT, he worked as an associate at the Queensland Supreme Court and at Legal Aid Queensland before completing his doctorate on law reform at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. He was also a full-time and then part-time Commissioner of the Queensland Law Reform Commission when it reviewed the state's adult guardianship laws. Professor White researches in the area of health law with a focus on end of life decision-making.  He is a co-editor of Health Law in Australia (2010, Thomson) and is undertaking three Australian Research Council funded interdisciplinary projects examining various aspects of end of life decision-making and advance care planning.

Professor Ron Paterson

New Zealand Parliamentary Ombudsman

Professor Ron Paterson is a New Zealand Parliamentary Ombudsman (on leave from the University of Auckland). He was New Zealand Health and Disability Commissioner 2000–2010. With law degrees from Auckland and Oxford Universities, Ron has held Fulbright and Harkness Fellowships, in biomedical ethics and health policy. He has researched and lectured in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia, and is an international expert on complaints, healthcare quality and the regulation of health professions. Ron is co-editor of the textbook Medical Law in New Zealand (2006) and author of The Good Doctor: What Patients Want (2012).


Dr Christopher Mayes

Christopher Mayes is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM). He recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rock Ethics Institute at the Pennsylvania State University examining the ethical, health-policy and institutional implications of industry-funded nutritional research in public universities. His PhD was awarded in 2012 by the University of Sydney and examined the biopolitics of lifestyle governance in Australian health promotion. Christopher has published in the areas bioethics, public health and social theory. He teaches ethical reasoning in the Sydney Bioethics Program and is currently researching the ethics and politics of food choice in preventive strategies for non-communicable diseases.


Professor Julian Savulescu

University of Oxford

Professor Julian Savulescu holds the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. He is the Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy. He is Director of the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, which is one of three strategic centres in biomedical ethics in the UK funded by the Wellcome Trust. He is also Director of the Institute for Science and Ethics (which is one of the 10 founding Institutes within the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. He is also Principal Investigator for a major Arts and Humanities Research Council grant on Cognitive Science and Religious Conflict, and Co-Investigator of an Economic and Social Research Council grant on Geoengineering.

He is a recognised world leader in the field of practical ethics. He is author of over 250 publications. He has an H index of 32 and 100 cited publications. He has given over 120 invited international presentations and over 280 in total. He is Editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics and founding editor of Journal of Practical Ethics, an open access journal in Practical Ethics to be launched in 2013His book, co-authored with Ingmar Persson, Unfit for the Future: The Need for Moral Enhancement was published by OUP in July 2012.

In 2010 he was appointed an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Florey Neuroscience Institutes, one of the world’s top 10 neuroscience institutes, for a period of 3 years.  In 2009, he was awarded the title of Monash Distinguished Alumni for outstanding achievement, where he is also a Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor . He was also selected as the winner of the ‘Thinkers’ category of The Australian’s Top 100 Emerging Leaders awards, presented by the Australian Prime Minister at Parliament House. He has presented at conferences across the world including the World Economic Forum at Davos (2009) and the Mont Pelerin Society’s Annual Meeting in Tokyo in 2008.

Distinguished lectures include the Tanner Lectures (2009), the Crown Lectures (2008), Pierce Lectures, Herbert Spencer Lectures. He was the Australian Society for Medical Research’s (ASMR) National Lecturer and Medallist in 2005 and presented to the Royal Institution in 2009. He has made a significant to public understanding and discussion, with over 400 appearances on TV, radio and in the print media, including features on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope, SBS Insight, and various national news broadcasts. He has been profiled in Sekret Firmy (Russia), Knack (Belgium), The Guardian (UK), and has opinion pieces in The Age (Australia), Focus Magazine and Der Freitag (Germany), New York Times (US), De Standaard (Belgium) and many others.

Photo: Polly Borland

Dr Marie Bismark

University of Melbourne

Dr Marie Bismark is a Senior Research Fellow in Law and Public Health at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on patients’ rights and health practitioner regulation, with a special interest in the role of patient voice in improving the quality of care.

Marie holds degrees in medicine, law, bioethics, and public health. In 2004 she was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in Healthcare Policy to research alternatives to medical malpractice litigation at the Harvard School of Public Health. Marie is a co-author of Australia’s largest medico-legal study, and her research has been widely published in journals including Health Affairs, BMJ Quality and Safety, and PLOS Medicine.
Marie has previously worked as a doctor in a number of New Zealand hospitals, provided legal advice to the Health and Disability Commissioner, and served as a member of New Zealand’s Bioethics Council. In addition to her academic appointment with the University of Melbourne, she works as a consultant to Buddle Findlay’s health law team and serves as a non-executive Director of Dispute Resolution Services, GMHBA, Family Planning, and the Young and Well CRC.

Marie and her husband have three children.


Ms Jen Morris

Youth Disability Advocacy Service, Victoria

Jen Morris is the Human Rights Officer at the Youth Disability Advocacy Service in Victoria. As an undergraduate, Jen studied at Monash University’s Centre for Human Bioethics. Since then, she has brought her experience as a person with a disability and chronic health conditions to her writing for Medical Observer and ABC’s Ramp Up. As the patient in an informed consent case handled by the Victorian healthcare complaints system, Jen’s experiences spurred her to write an extensive submission on the matter to a Victorian parliamentary inquiry. She has represented patient perspectives at a variety of forums, including the Medical Board of Australia forum on Medical Revalidation, and Consumers Health Forum Workshops on topics ranging from informed financial consent to quality use of medicines. Jen is also a member of the Mercy Health Community Advisory Committee.


Dr Ainsley Newson

Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney

Dr Ainsley Newson is Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney. She has recently returned to Australia following a decade living and working in the United Kingdom, most recently as Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Bristol. Ainsley’s research interests include ethical aspects of clinical and reproductive decision-making in genetics - especially prenatal diagnosis and family communication, genetics and public health, mechanisms of clinical ethics support and ethical issues in emerging technologies such as synthetic biology. Ainsley has Bachelor’s degrees in Science (human genetics) and Law and a PhD in Medical Ethics, all gained from the University of Melbourne. Ainsley has over 35 peer reviewed publications and has received grant funding from the European Union, the Wellcome Trust and the National Institute of Health Research (UK). Ainsley also enjoys public engagement and media commentary on ethical issues in medicine and biotechnology.


Dinner Speaker: Fred Watson

Astronomer-in-Charge, Australian Astronomical Observatory

Fred Watson has been Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory since 1995, but is best known for his radio and TV broadcasts, books, and other outreach programmes. He is a musician, too, with both a science-themed CD and an award-winning symphony libretto to
his name. Fred was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

Photo credit James Watson



Important Dates

Abstracts Due 22 April
Abstract Notifications 26 April
Presenter Registration 10 May
Student Essays Due 3 May
Early-Bird Closes 21 May
Conference 11 July

Organising Committee

Ian Kerridge, (Co-convenor) Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, Sydney Medical School
Bill Madden, Slater & Gordon
Kristin Savell, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School
Roger Magnusson, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School
Belinda Bennett, Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School
Cameron Stewart, (Co-convenor) Centre for Health Governance, Law and Ethics, Sydney Law School
Wendy Rogers, Macquarie University
Julie Letts, Ministry of Health

Image credits

Law School John Gollings
Destination NSW Sally Mayman
Destination NSW Hamilton Lund
Tourism Australia