Staff & Associates

Eric Sidoti

Eric Sidoti, Director has been actively engaged in public policy development, strategic planning and communications throughout his career. For over a decade, prior to his appointment at the Whitlam Institute, Eric managed Strategic Options, his own small consultancy. This enabled him to develop long-term relationships with a small number of clients, principally the Dusseldorp Skills Forum and the Australian Red Cross in addition to the Enterprise and Careers Education Foundation, Greening Australia and Job Futures. He has been engaged in projects across a broad range of policy fields (education, training and employment; human rights; development; Indigenous land rights and education; humanitarian law and conflict; and welfare issues).

Eric was the Executive Director of the Human Rights Council of Australia (HRCA) 1992 - 1995, Communications Director of Amnesty International Australia 1987 – 1992 and National Secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace 1985-1987.
Eric commenced with the Whitlam Institute in mid 2007.

Leanne Smith, Associate Director, is an international human rights lawyer by training, with a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Leanne has worked in the Australian judicial system, for the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the international NGO sector, regional human rights organisations, as an Australian diplomat (DFAT)  and in various roles for the United Nations in New York and in the field, most recently as Chief of Policy and Best Practices for UN Peacekeeping Operations. Leanne has published a number of articles on Australian foreign policy and international human rights, rule of law and development as well as the United Nations and women, peace and security. She is a visiting fellow at the ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and the UNSW Australian Human Rights Centre.

Leanne joined the Whitlam Institute in 2017.

Anna Yeatman

Professor Anna Yeatman took up her appointment as the inaugural Whitlam Institute Professorial Research Fellow in December 2011. She leads the Whitlam Institute's flagship public policy program under the banner of Human Rights and Public Life. Professor Yeatman has previously held professorial appointments at the University of Alberta, Macquarie University and the University of Waikato.  She is a political and social theorist, who also has experience in policy consultancy work mostly in the human services under the 'old' program management and block grant regime.  Recent publications include: (with Peg Birmingham) The Aporia of Rights: explorations in citizenship in the era of human rights, Bloomsbury 2014;  'Feminism and the Technological Age', Australian Feminist Studies 29 (79), 2014, 85-100; and 'A two-person conception of freedom: The Significance of Jessica Benjamin's idea of intersubjectivity', Journal of Classical Sociology 15 (1), 2015, 3-23. Read Professor Anna Yeatman's full CV here.


Our program team:


Sandra Stevenson
Sandra Stevenson is the Senior Program Manager. Sandra has a legal background in the private and community legal sectors. For the past 12 years she has worked at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre as solicitor and coordinator of the Public Interest Law Clearing House, managing its pro bono referral scheme and access to justice projects.

Her work on a diverse range of projects including indigenous justice, consumer protection, workplace issues for people with disability, unlawful detention of young people, protection for refugees and education and training for not for profit community organisations, has enabled her to work closely with the public, private and community legal sectors and a range of community sector organisations and peak bodies. Sandra joined the Whitlam Institute in April 2008.

Lyndal Howison
Lyndal Howison is the Communications Manager. Lyndal has more than 15 years experience in communications, in not-for-profit organisations, community campaigns and more recently as a political staffer. She has developed and delivered strategies to build audiences, engage supporters and raise funds through media, digital platforms, events and publications. Lyndal holds a Bachelors Degree in Business from the University of Technology Sydney and a Postgrad Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.
Jenna Beck

Jenna Beck is the Communications Coordinator. Jenna's background is in digital marketing and loyalty programs, most recently in the horticulture industry.  She holds a degree in Public Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney and is combining her professional skills with long term interests in political theory and policy and history.  Jenna joined the Whitlam Institute in March 2016.



Georgia Vasiliadis 

Georgia Vasiliadis is the Program Support Officer. Georgia has previous experience at Western Sydney University, having worked in the Assessment and Graduation Unit as a Graduation Officer. Her current role sees her supporting all program areas such as our events, exhibitions, schools program and publications. She has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Sydney, and she spends her free time dabbling in various crafts such as cake decorating. Georgia joined the Whitlam Institute in January 2012.

Matthew Meagher Education and Outreach Officer 

Matt Meagher is the Education and Outreach Officer. Matt has taught in NSW public high schools over the last four years, mostly teaching English to speakers of other languages. He holds a Master of Teaching (History and TESOL) from the University of Sydney and has extensive experience in social justice campaigns from Teachers for Refugees to Save Medicare. Matt joined the Whitlam Institute in July 2017.



Our administration team:


Valerie Wilden
Valerie Wilden is the Institute's Administrative Officer. Valerie joined the Institute as a permanent staff member in 2010. Valerie is very familiar with the Institute having spent several periods on the team in times of peak demand over the past few years. Valerie is greatly valued for her calm and methodical manner and her ability to get the job done efficiently no matter what 'the job' is. Valerie, trained at TAFE and elsewhere, has had a solid grounding in all facets of administration and customer service through her time with Lion Nathan Australia, Malt Shovel and others.
Elizabeth Langton

Elizabeth Langton joined the Whitlam Institute in 2015 as the Visitor Services Officer. In September 2016, Elizabeth commenced the part time role of Public Policy Program Officer, while continuing as Visitor Services Officer two days per week. Elizabeth has over ten years' experience in a wide range of administrative positions within both the private and not-for-profit sector. Her previous roles have included providing positive customer service, volunteer engagement and management, travel administration, oversight of WHS, bookkeeping, procedure improvement and event coordination. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Theology and a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact, which she is currently using to complete her Master of Business Administration (Social Impact).

Steff Fenton 

Steff Fenton joined the Whitlam Institute in 2017 as the Visitor Services Officer, in a part time capacity three days per week. Steff has a background in communications and over 6 years' experience working with not-for-profit organisations. Prior to joining the Whitlam team, Steff worked in the coordination of media, events, volunteer programs and stakeholder relations. Steff holds a Bachelor of Media from Macquarie University.




 Professor Jenny Hocking

Professor Jenny Hocking is the Whitlam Institute's inaugural Distinguished Fellow. An eminent scholar, political historian and biographer, Professor Jenny Hocking has been researching and publishing in Australia and internationally for some twenty five years. Her work focuses on two key areas: counter-terrorism and Australian political biography. The overarching themes, crossing both these areas, remain consistent: Australian democratic practice, the relationship between the arms of government, and aspects of Australian political history.

Professor Hocking is best known to the wider community for her acclaimed biographies of Attorney-General in the Whitlam government and High Court justice Lionel Murphy, Australian communist author Frank Hardy and most recently her two-volume biography of Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History, and His Time.

This honorary appointment is in recognition of Professor Hocking's substantial and ongoing scholarly contribution to Australian history and the political sciences. The appointment formalises the close collaboration that already exists between Professor Hocking and the Institute.

Professor Scott Holmes 

Professor Scott Holmes joined Western Sydney University in March 2014. He is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research and Development) as well as a Professor of Public Policy in the Whitlam Institute. Over the past 17 years, he has held various senior leadership roles at Newcastle, including Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), Foundation Dean of Graduate Studies, Head of the Graduate School of Business, and Professor of Public Policy. He is an Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland and a Life Member of the Small Enterprise Association of Australia and New Zealand reflecting almost three decades of research and support for the small firm sector.
Professor Holmes economic and business background is extensive, having published 6 books and over 50 Referred articles.
Professor Holmes received the University of Newcastle 2012 Excellence in Innovation Award for development of a course for NSW Health's 7,500 clinical managers aimed at improving budget integrity. He was also the head of one of five groups that delivered the training statewide.

Dr Kristen Rundle 

Dr Kristen Rundle is a Whitlam Institute Fellow (appointed 2015). She is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne Law School, where she teaches in the areas of administrative law and legal theory. She has previously held appointments at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Sydney, and adjunct and visiting appointments at the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa, Canada, and Erasmus University, The Netherlands.

Dr Rundle's research is located at the interface of legal theory and public law in its effort to trace the relational and institutional conditions necessary for law to act as a limitation on power. Her book, Forms Liberate: Reclaiming the Jurisprudence of Lon L Fuller (Hart Publishing, 2012) was awarded second prize, UK Society of Legal Scholars Peter Birks Book Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship, 2012. Dr Rundle was awarded a Doctor of Juridical Science from the University of Toronto, where she also held the Doctoral Fellowship in Ethics at the Centre for Ethics. She obtained a Master of Laws (honours) in public law and legal theory at McGill University as Australia's 2001 Lionel Murphy Postgraduate (Overseas) Scholar, and also holds a Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Laws (first class honours) from the University of Sydney. Prior to becoming an academic, she worked as an associate at the Federal Court of Australia, and as a Legislative Policy Advisor in the NSW Attorney-General's Department.