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.


John Della Bosca

Associate director | policy and research

Throughout his professional career and personal life John has maintained a strong interest in social policy and social justice.  John has always been interested in harnessing the potential of policy innovation to improve social outcomes. In government, John was responsible for a wide range of policy innovations and social reforms across various portfolios. Some examples of reforms that John was responsible for include; returning environmental flows to the Snowy river; the Medically Supervised Injection Centre; universal no-fault cover for the traumatically injured in Motor accidents; Stronger Together which introduced a client directed approach to Disability services; Industrial chain of responsibility laws in the clothing and textile and transport industries; forcing the ratification of the ILO convention on Child Labour by all Australian jurisdictions. Some of these policy reforms were sufficiently exceptional that they attracted International interest.

John has a special interest in large system change management. He is also interested in understanding small-scale cultures particularly their implications for the character of the large-scale organisations within which they operate. John is familiar with the challenges of Health and Education sectors as he held both Portfolios in the NSW government during a time of rapid change. A key emphasis of the reforms John was most closely associated with was to achieve productivity and efficiency not as ends in themselves but as necessities to improve social outcomes.


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.

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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 is a communications professional with more than ten years experience in the industry. Her background is in corporate advertising, digital marketing and retail loyalty programs. She holds a degree in Public Communication from the University of Technology, Sydney and brings a long term interest in and enthusiasm for public policy and history along with her professional skills. Jenna is also Vice President of a children’s charity, assisting and supporting families following the diagnosis of rare disease. Jenna joined the Whitlam Institute in March 2016.


Hannah Bowyer

Program support officer

Hannah is a passionate activist and communications professional with a background in the not-for-profit, youth and community development sector. She graduated as an Aspire Future Leader Scholar from Western Sydney University with a degree in Communications. Hannah has previously worked in communication and project management roles at Western Sydney University and has spent the last two years developing a grass-roots non-profit organisation in the Philippines. She is passionate about helping youth engage and make a difference in society and brings extensive experience in this area to her role in supporting the What Matters and Civics Engagement Programs at the Institute.


Holly Corpe

Policy and research OFFICER

Holly Corpe has a background in the settlement sector. Her previous experience has included program design and development for newly arrived humanitarian entrants in Western Sydney, as well as the management of service delivery and operating standards for a state-wide consortium of refugee resettlement agencies in New South Wales. Holly has also taught English as a Second Language overseas and in Australia. She has received a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Political Science and Psychology, and a Master of Arts majoring in International Relations from the University of New South Wales.


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.

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Jack Garrod

visitor services officer

Jack is a recent Western Sydney University graduate who joined the Whitlam Institute in March 2019. He has worked for several years in numerous other areas of the University including Marketing and Communications in Widening Participation, and the School of Science and Health, as a project assistant and administrator. Jack graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a sub-major in Cultural and Social Analysis, and is currently undertaking a Cert IV in Business Administration.

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Kerrie Pacey

visitor services officer

Kerrie joined the Whitlam Institute in April 2019. Kerrie has an extensive Visitor Services background gained from past roles with both Sydney Living Museums and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Kerrie holds qualifications in both economics and tour guiding, two diverse fields that blend together to form a solid understanding of the needs of visitors.



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.