Australian Universities Accord Panel

The Australian Universities Accord higher education review is being conducted by a panel of eminent Australians (the Panel) chaired by Professor Mary O’Kane AC.

The Panel will:

  • engage across all sectors and groups affected by higher education policy. This will include but is not limited to universities, higher education and the vocational education and training sector providers, educators and researchers, students, parents, unions, businesses, state and territory governments and groups who have been underrepresented in higher education.
  • consider and make recommendations on effective ways for the Government to work with stakeholders, drawing on best practice for codesign and collaboration. This new way of working will underpin the Government’s future work with the sector, including on areas beyond the Department of Education portfolio where universities can help to deliver for the national interest.

On this page:

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Mary O Kane

Professor Mary O’Kane AC (Chair)

Mary O’Kane is Chair of the NSW Independent Planning Commission, a company director, and Executive Chairman of O’Kane Associates, a Sydney-based consulting practice specialising in government reviews. She was NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer from 2008-2018; Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide from 1996-2001; Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Adelaide from 1994-1996; and Dean of the Faculty of Information Sciences & Engineering at the University of Canberra from 1990-94.

Mary has served on several boards and committees in the public and private sectors, especially related to innovation, education, energy, engineering, health, Antarctica, ICT and research. She is currently Chair of the boards of Aurora Energy Pty Ltd and Sydney Health Partners and is a member of the boards of AEMO Services Ltd and the Silverchain Group.

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Jenny Macklin

The Hon Jenny Macklin (Member)

Jenny Macklin is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, in the School of Government. Prior to this, she served 23 years as the Federal Member for Jagajaga. Jenny was the first woman to become the Deputy Leader of a major Australian political party. She was the Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party from 2001-2006.

Jenny served as the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Minister for Disability Reform in the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments.

As Minister, she oversaw the Apology to the Stolen Generations and development of the Closing the Gap framework, the introduction of Australia’s first National Paid Parental Leave Scheme, delivered the largest increase to the Pension in the history of the payment, was responsible for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and was an integral part of the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. She was a member of the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet in Government and Opposition for 20 years.

Jenny is a member of the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce reporting to the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Katy Gallagher. Jenny chairs two not for profit boards, Odyssey House Victoria and the Machado Joseph Disease Foundation. She is a member of the advisory committee for RAND Australia.

Jenny is a strategic advisor on early childhood development to the Centre for Policy Development. Jenny led an inquiry into vocational education and training for the Victorian Government. The Report, Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy, was released in February 2021.

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Shemara Wikramanayake

Ms Shemara Wikramanayake (Member)

Shemara has been Macquarie Group’s Managing Director and CEO since late 2018. Macquarie is a global financial group providing clients with asset management, banking, leasing, advisory and risk and capital solutions. Headquartered and listed in Australia, Macquarie’s ~19,000 staff operate in 34 markets with approximately $A795 billion in assets under management.

Shemara joined Macquarie in 1987 in Macquarie Capital in Sydney. In her time at Macquarie, Shemara has worked in six countries and across several business lines, establishing and leading Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and the infrastructure funds management business in the US and Canada. Shemara has also served as Chair of the Macquarie Group Foundation. As Head of Macquarie Asset Management for 10 years before her appointment as CEO, Shemara led a team of 1,600 staff in 24 markets. Macquarie Asset Management grew to become a world-leading manager of infrastructure and real assets and a top 50 global public securities manager.

Shemara sits on the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation and was a founding CEO of the United Nations Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI). She currently leads emerging markets workstreams for CFLI and the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) and is a member of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance.

Before joining Macquarie, Shemara worked as a corporate lawyer at Blake Dawson Waldron in Sydney. She holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degrees from UNSW and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1996.

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Barney Glover

Professor Barney Glover AO (Member)

Professor Barney Glover AO assumed his position as Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University in January 2014. Professor Glover is the Australian Government representative on the University of the South Pacific Grants Committee, Convenor of the NSW Vice-Chancellor’s Committee, Chair of the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching Working Group, and the Australia based Patron of the Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM). He is a board member of Australia’s Academic and Research Network, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council, the NSW Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, Westpac Scholars Ltd, the Study NSW International Education Advisory Board, the Powerhouse Capital Campaign Committee, Bradfield Board of Governors, and NUW Alliance.

In addition, he is a member of the Australian Government’s University Foreign Interference Taskforce Steering Group, and Lead Vice-Chancellor (Corporate) for Universities Australia.

Professor Glover is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), a Fellow of the Royal Society of NSW (FRSN), and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD).

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Larissa Behrendt

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO (Member)

Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt AO is an Eualayai/Gamillaroi woman and the Associate Dean (Indigenous Research) and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a graduate of the UNSW Law School and has a Masters and SJD from Harvard Law School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law. She has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues.

Larissa won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for her novel, Home. Her second novel, Legacy, won a Victorian Premier's Literary Award. Her most recent novel is After Story (2016, UQP). Larissa is an award-winning filmmaker. She won the 2018 Australian Directors' Guild Award for best Direction of a Documentary Film for After the Apology and the 2020 AACTA for Best Direction in Factual Television for her documentary, Maralinga Tjarutja. She is a trustee of the Australian Museum, Chair of the Cathy Freeman Foundation, now Community Spirit Foundation, Chair of the Australia Council’s First Nations Arts and Culture Strategy Panel and a member of the NSW Literature Board. She is a former Chair and Board Member of the Bangarra Dance Theatre and has previously held board positions on the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival and the Sydney Community Fund. With Lindon Coombes, Larissa co-authored the Do Better report for the Collingwood Football Club. She chaired the 2011 review of Indigenous Higher Education.

Larissa was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. She was awarded an Order of Australia for her work in Indigenous education, the law and the arts. Larissa received the Human Rights Medal 2021 from the Australian Human Rights Commission. She is the host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio.

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Fiona Nash

The Hon Fiona Nash (Member)

Having grown up in Sydney, Fiona has spent the last couple of decades living and working in regional Australia. For many years she was involved in a farming enterprise in the central west of NSW, which her sons Will and Henry are now running.

She spent twelve years in the federal parliament as a Senator for NSW and also held ministerial positions including Rural Health, and in Cabinet the positions of Regional Development, Regional Communications and Local Government and Territories. She also held the position of Deputy Leader of the Nationals.

From 2018 - 2021 Fiona was the Strategic Adviser, Regional Engagement and Government Relations for Charles Sturt University.

Fiona was appointed by the Australian Government as the Regional Education Commissioner in December 2021.

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Tony Cook

Mr Tony Cook PSM (Member, ex officio)

Tony Cook is the Deputy Secretary of the Higher Education, Research and International Group. Prior to commencing with the department, Tony was the Director General of the Department of Education, Queensland. Tony previously held the role as Associate Secretary for Schools and Youth in the former Australian Government Department of Education and Training and has held senior executive positions within the Victorian public service.

In October 2013, Tony was made Honorary Fellow of the Australian Council for Education Leaders. In January 2014, he was awarded the Public Service Medal for outstanding public service in driving school policy and funding reform in Australia.

Tony is a registered primary school teacher with a major in early childhood education. He holds a Bachelor of Education from the Queensland University of Technology.