Whitlam Institute

Our People

Our People


Meet Our Team

A diverse team, working towards the contemporary relevance of the Whitlam Program.



Leanne Smith


Leanne Smith 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 national identityAustralian foreign policy and international human rightsrule 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, a member of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law Advisory Committee and a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Association of Australia. 

Leanne joined the Whitlam Institute in 2017.


Sandra Stevenson

Senior program manager | Company Secretary

Sandra has a legal background in the private and community legal sectors including the Public Interest Advocacy Centre as solicitor and coordinator of the Public Interest Law Clearing House. Her work managing its pro bono referral scheme and access to justice program involved 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, enabling her to work closely with the public, private and community legal sectors and a range of community sector organisations and peak bodies.


Lyndal Howison

Communications Manager

Lyndal has more than 15 years experience in communications, not-for-profit organisations, community campaigns, local government and political office. As a communications strategist she has developed and delivered campaigns, and led multi-channel teams, to reach and engage people through media, digital platforms, events and publications. Her sectoral experience includes policy, community development, medical research, finance and small business. Lyndal holds a Bachelors Degree in Business from the University of Technology Sydney and a Postgrad Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.

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Maree O'Neill

Administration AND operations Manager

Maree comes to the Whitlam Institute after 14 years at Western Sydney University. She has a wealth of valuable expertise in University structures, policies, processes and people, most recently from 6 years at the School of Business. Maree has received several awards during her time at the University including a Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award.  She has had a long career in administration prior to joining the University, holding senior, long term roles in large government sector organisations such as CSIRO and AFTRS.  Maree will make an invaluable contribution to the Whitlam Institute by managing the day to day administration, finance and general operations.


Jenna Beck

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.


Lisa Cuffe

administrative officer

Lisa joined the Whitlam Institute in May 2018 on a full-time basis. Lisa has an extensive history in administration with almost 20 years of experience. Before joining the Whitlam Institute Lisa worked for a not-for-profit health organisation, and Macquarie University for many years prior. She is currently studying a diploma in Business Administration.



Our Fellows

Our Whitlam Institute Fellows are an esteemed group of scholars who contribute intellectual and strategic focus to the contemporary relevance of Gough Whitlam's work, through our public policy program.