Western Sydney University honours distinguished community leaders

Michael Pratt AM

During the April/ May graduation ceremonies, a series of honorary awards will be presented – with the titles of Honorary Doctorate, Honorary Fellow and Community Fellow bestowed upon seven distinguished community leaders.

Honorary Doctorate

Michael Pratt AM

Michael Pratt, AM
Secretary, NSW Treasury and NSW Industrial Relations
Michael Pratt

Michael Pratt has made significant contributions to the NSW public sector, the banking industry of the Asia-Pacific region and the Western Sydney University community.

Michael is currently the 27th Secretary of NSW Treasury and NSW Industrial Relations. He was appointed to this position on 1 August 2017. The Treasury Cluster includes NSW Treasury, NSW Treasury Corporation, NSW Industrial Relations, icare (Insurance and Care NSW) and SAS Trustee Corporation. As Secretary, Michael is responsible for the strategic management of the State’s finances, budget, assets, liabilities and financial risk management framework and transformation.

Prior to his role with NSW Treasury, Michael spent five years as the inaugural NSW Customer Service Commissioner where he revolutionised the way the Government delivers services. Michael’s focus as Customer Service Commissioner was to put the people of NSW at the heart of service delivery. He led major service reform across the NSW Government including chairing the NSW Customer Advisory Board - the governance entity responsible for the delivery of State Government services to the citizens of NSW. Michael has been credited with cementing a strong customer-centric ethos into the state’s public sector agencies through unification of separate bodies into one brand and identity - Service NSW. In creating Service NSW, Michael and the Service NSW team, led by CEO Glenn King, helped re-engineer many government transactions, fundamentally improving the customer experience through greater efficiencies, value and the simplification of Government interaction experiences.

Prior to his role as Customer Service Commissioner, Michael had an extensive career in banking and wealth management throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Michael was CEO of Consumer and SME Banking, North East Asia, with Standard Chartered Bank based in Shanghai. He is a former President of the Australian Institute of Banking & Finance and was the inaugural Joint President of Finsia.  Michael’s previous roles also include senior executive positions as Group Executive of Westpac Business and Consumer Banking, CEO of National Australia Bank, CEO of the Bank of New Zealand and CEO of the Bank of Melbourne.

Michael's prior directorships also include Non-Executive Director roles at TAL Dai-ichi Life Australia and Credit Union Australia where he chaired their respective risk committees, MasterCard International Inc New York, MasterCard Asia Pacific, BT Financial Services, Chairman of Bennelong Funds Management and, Chairman of Shenzhen Credit Corporation.

Michael has also made a significant contribution to Western Sydney University as a former Board Member and Deputy Chancellor. He was elected to the Board of Trustees on 1 January 2013 and became Deputy Chancellor on 1 January 2014.  He was Chair of the University Infrastructure Committee from 1 January 2014 until August 2017.  On 9 August 2017, Michael resigned from the Board to take up the role of Secretary of NSW Treasury and NSW Industrial Relations.

Michael was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition of providing significant service to public administration through reforms in customer service and communication, and to the finance and banking industry.

The Honourable Mike Baird

The Honourable Mike Baird
Chief Customer Officer (Corporate and Institutional Banking), National Australia BankMike Baird

Michael ‘Mike’ Bruce Baird works at the National Australia Bank and is a former politician who served as the 44th Premier of New South Wales and, previous to that, spent three years as the NSW State Treasurer. Mr Baird’s achievements in government include recognition for repairing the NSW State Budget, strengthening the economy, facilitating unprecedented job growth, boosting frontline services, and implementing an infrastructure boom in Sydney and regional New South Wales.

During his childhood, Mr Baird lived in the United States of America while his father, Bruce Baird, served as head of the Australian Trade Commission in New York City. Upon his family’s return to Australia in 1980, Mr Baird began high school at The King's School, Parramatta.

Following high school, Mr Baird commenced a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) at the University of Sydney. In 1989, he graduated from university and started his career at the National Australia Bank (NAB) in Sydney. Mr Baird went on to hold senior roles in NAB’s corporate and institutional banking team in Australia and London, including Global Relationship Manager and Head of Debt Capital Markets Originations based in London. He was a Senior Corporate Finance Manager at Deutsche Bank and Head of Corporate and Institutional Banking at HSBC in Australia and New Zealand. While fulfilling these roles, Mr Baird also completed executive management courses at Harvard and Duke University.

Mr Baird entered NSW state politics in 2007, upon his election to the NSW Legislative Assembly in the seat of Manly. Less than two years after entering parliament, he was appointed to Shadow Treasurer, having previously held the shadow portfolios of Finance, Energy, Commerce and Youth Affairs. In 2011, Mr Baird was appointed NSW Treasurer, which reflected his strong finance sector background, communications skills and as attested to by Barry O’Farrell, his demonstrated capacity to handle the big issues. Under his leadership as Treasurer, he helped reinvigorate the country's largest state economy and revived the private sector's role in Australian infrastructure.

On April 14, 2014, Mr Baird became the 44th Premier of New South Wales, as well as the Minister for Infrastructure on 23 April 2014 and the Minister for Western Sydney on 23 April 2014. While Premier of New South Wales, he made significant contributions to the Western Sydney region, particularly in his commitment to improving infrastructure in Sydney’s west. Mr Baird instigated the WestConnex project – the 33-kilometre motorway links the city's major road systems and is one of the largest transport infrastructure projects in Australia, creating more than 10,000 jobs and easing congestion for Western Sydney. WestConnex provides crucial support for Western Sydney’s long-term economic and population growth.

Mr Baird has said that he lives by a mantra of “integrity, passion and results”. Among the leaders that have inspired him are William Wilberforce, a driving force for the abolition of slavery; US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jnr; and the former and longest-serving NSW Governor, Sir Roden Cutler, who was awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery.

During his time in office, Mike’s integrity and passion was demonstrated frequently. A devout Christian, he was an outspoken advocate for increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake for refugees, particularly those fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq. Mr Baird was a passionate backer of public education and the Gonski education reforms, and maintained the O'Farrell's Governments controversial lock-out-laws to curb alcohol-fuelled violence.

Following his retirement from politics after 10 years of public life, Mr Baird re-entered the banking sector as National Australia Bank’s Chief Customer Officer (Corporate and Institutional Banking), a role that he still holds today.

David Wenham

David Wenham
Actor and Director
David Wenham

David Wenham is a remarkable Australian actor who has played an eclectic range of characters in feature film, television and stage productions. His international film credits include the roles of Faramir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Carl in Van Helsing, Dilios in 300 and its sequel 300: Rise of an Empire, Harry ‘Pete’ Pierpont in Public Enemies and Lieutenant John Scarfield in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Mr Wenham grew up in the multicultural Inner-West Sydney suburb of Marrickville. He attended the Christian Brothers' High School, Lewisham, before commencing tertiary study at the University of Western Sydney’s Theatre Nepean. Mr Wenham graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts (Performing Arts) and has said that the three years spent at Western Sydney University’s former incarnation unquestionably laid the foundation for his career and shaped his thinking and approach to his work, more so than any one single professional engagement since.

Mr Wenham’s early acting roles included parts in Australian soap operas such as Sons and Daughters and A Country Practice. He supplemented his income in these early years by calling bingo at the Marrickville Town Hall and hustling lawn bowls. Mr Wenham's television credits have since included several telemovies, including his Australian Film Institute Award winning role in the 1996 telemovie Simone de Beauvoir's Babies; and his role as enigmatic diver Dan Della Bosca in the 1998 and 1999 seasons of SeaChange.

Mr Wenham’s cinematic breakthrough came in 1998, starring as suburban monster Brett Sprague alongside Toni Collette and John Polson in The Boys. The Boys was a chilling study of suburban evil that drew on the circumstances of a horrific Sydney murder.

Mr Wenham then went on to star in a number of Australian films including: Molokai: The Story of Father Damien,The Bank, Gettin’ Square, Stiff, The Brush Off, Three Dollars and Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 blockbuster Australia. He also starred in the drama film Oranges and Sunshine, based on the true story of Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys.

In 2010, Mr Wenham worked on Killing Time, a ten-part TV mini-series based on the story of lawyer Andrew Fraser and his deepening involvement in the world of the criminals he represented. In 2013, he portrayed New Zealand detective Al Parker in the BBC series Top of the Lake before returning to stage to play the lead role of John Proctor, in the Melbourne Theatre Company's production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible. Mr Wenham also starred as Patrick Jones in the 2015 Australian film Paper Planes, and that same year, voiced the role of Jacko the frilled-neck lizard in the computer animated film Blinky Bill the Movie.

In 2017, Mr Wenham played the role of Harold Meachum in the Netflix original TV series Iron Fist. Executive Producer and Showrunner, Scott Buck, has said that Mr Wenham is capable of displaying “raw, visceral strength” and “extremely keen intelligence”, qualities that lend gravitas to the Netflix superhero series.

In 2017, Mr Wenham pursued a new avenue, directing his first micro-budget feature film Ellipsis. Set in Sydney, the film depicts a chance occurrence that sets in motion a chain of events that sees two strangers embark on a night of adventure and connection that challenges their separate lives. Described by the Hollywood Reporter as ‘striking’, fellow Director Robert Connolly has said that Ellipsis is a “really beautiful film which very much reflects David’s personality. It’s got a combination of affection…mischief… playfulness and heart – all the qualities that make David such a strong actor”.

Mr Wenham’s work has been recognised by the Australia Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards. In 1997, he was awarded Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama series for Simone de Beauvoir's Babies and again in 2006 for Answered by Fire. In 2003, Mr Wenham was also awarded Best Lead Actor for his role in Gettin' Square.

Mr Wenham has been a Patron of CinefestOZ since 2012 and was appointed Chairman of the Cinefest Oz Film Prize Jury for 2015. Held in Western Australia each year, the festival showcases the best of Australian and French independent film.

In addition to his vast range of professional successes, Mr Wenham is also committed to promoting equality. For more than a decade, Mr Wenham has served as an ambassador to The Wayside Chapel, a homeless charity in Sydney’s Kings Cross that helps support the most disadvantaged in the community.

The achievements and efforts of Mr Wenham to the performing arts and community have also been recognised by the Australian Catholic University who awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2006.

Gillian Shadwick

Gillian Shadwick,
Educator and Senior Executive, Former Deputy Chancellor, Western Sydney University
Gillian Shadwick

Gillian Shadwick is an experienced educator, senior executive and former Board Member and Deputy Chancellor of Western Sydney University who has dedicated her career to the public education and training sector.

Gillian attended Cowra High School from 1959 to 1963, where she was School Captain and Captain of Kurrajong House. Continuing her studies after high school, Gillian’s extensive tertiary achievements include completion of a Master of Arts, Master of Letters, Bachelor of Arts, Diploma in Education, and Graduate Diploma in Adult Education.

Gillian began her career in the education sector as an English and History teacher. She then went on to spend six years as a teacher in TAFE, followed by five years as a teacher-educator at the Institute of Technical and Adult Teacher Education and later at the Sydney College of Advanced Education where she developed and managed the Graduate Diploma in Adult Education (Basic Education). During this time, she also undertook a study of part-time teachers in Technical and Further Education across three states and was the Australian researcher in an international UNESCO project on Civics Education for Illiterate Women.

Gillian has substantial experience as a senior executive in both the public school and TAFE sectors in NSW. From June 2005, Gillian spent over two years as the General Manager of Learning and Development within the NSW Department of Education. Prior to this appointment, she was Institute Director of TAFE NSW’s Western Sydney Institute from 2001 to 2006. Earlier still, Gillian held senior executive positions with the NSW Department of School Education, including Assistant Director-General (Community Relations and Marketing); Assistant Director-General, Metropolitan South West Region; Director, Human Resource Development, and; Leader of the Staff Development Unit.

Gillian also served as Chair of TAFE Directors Australia for four years and was Deputy Chair of the Western Sydney Economic Development Board from 2000 to 2004. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and the Australian College of Educational Leaders. Gillian’s memberships on state and national committees, including ministerial advisory councils on quality teaching, have enabled her to further contribute to the quality of teaching and teacher education.

Gillian has also made a significant contribution to Western Sydney University as a member of the Board of Trustees and a number of Board Committees. Her first term on the Board began in May 2009 and concluded in March 2013. Gillian then served a second term from March 2013 until her resignation in March 2016. She was appointed as a Pro Chancellor in March 2011 and elected Deputy Chancellor from September 2013 until the end of her term on the Board. Gillian also served as a UWS Nepean Council Member from January 2000 to December 2000, and as a UWS Regional Council Member from October 2001 to November 2004. She was a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee from November 2001 to January 2005 and from July 2007 to April 2011. Gillian was also a member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee from April 2011 to March 2016, and a Board Standing Committee Member from April 2011 to March 2016. She has chaired the University’s Quality Teaching Awards panel for the last three years.

Andrew Scipione AO APM

Andrew Scipione AO APM
Former NSW Police Commissioner
Andrew Scipione

Andrew Scipione was the Commissioner of the New South Wales Police Force for 10 years, from 31 August 2007 to his retirement on 31 March 2017. He served in the NSW Police Force for over four decades and was one of the longest serving police chiefs in New South Wales history. Mr Scipione provided strong leadership during his time as Commissioner, with crime rates in NSW falling to an all-time low. He was commended by those who had dealings with him, including politicians, journalists and victims of crime, for his integrity, compassion and honesty.

Mr Scipione has strong ties to the Western Sydney Community, which date back to his early childhood. He was raised in Sydney’s South West, attending Padstow North Public School and then Sir Joseph Banks High School in Revesby. Following the death of his father, Mr Scipione left school at 15 to begin an electrical apprenticeship.

Mr Scipione joined the NSW Police in 1980 following a period of employment with the Australian Customs Service. During his time with the NSW Police Force, Mr Scipione held a range of positions and appointments. Following experience in general and traffic duties, Mr Scipione worked as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch and Bankstown Detectives. In 1985, he was seconded to the National Crime Authority, targeting organised crime. In 1992, Mr Scipione was appointed to the rank of Detective Inspector at the Joint Technical Services Group (JTSG) and in 1995 was promoted to the rank of Detective Superintendent (Commander) at the Special Technical Investigation Branch (formerly JTSG). During the period 1992 to 1998, he was also a Senior NSW Police Counter Terrorist Advisor to the Standing Advisory Committee on Commonwealth and State Cooperation for Protection Against Violence. In 1998, Mr Scipione was appointed to the position of Chief of Staff to the then NSW Police Commissioner, Peter Ryan, and in 201 was appointed as the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Special Crime and Internal Affairs. Mr Scipione went on to become Deputy Commissioner in February 2002 and Commissioner of Police on 1 September 2007.

Mr Scipione’s time as Commissioner coincided with some of the most challenging events in the State’s history, including the Lindt Cafe siege and the terror-related assassination of police accountant Curtis Cheng outside Police Headquarters in Parramatta. Following the murder of Mr Cheng, his son Alpha said that the force showed the ‘utmost respect’ for his family with Mr Scipione making a heartfelt and compassionate speech at the renaming of a building in Cheng’s honour.

Mr Scipione was awarded the National Medal in 1996 and Australian Police Medal in 2003. In June 2016, he was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and received the award of Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia “for distinguished service to law enforcement as Commissioner of Police in New South Wales, through advancing the professionalism of policing and leadership of international investigations and counter terrorism activities”.

Mr Scipione’s academic achievements include the completion of a Masters Degree in Management and a Graduate Diploma in Police Management from Macquarie University, and a Graduate Certificate in Security Management from Edith Cowan University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute. In April 2013, Mr Scipione was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University.

Mr Scipione has had a strong association with Western Sydney University. From 2008-2011, he was an Adjunct Professor in the School of Social Sciences and Psychology and was reappointed to this role in 2015 with the appointment continuing at present. The Western Sydney University community greatlyAunty Rit

Honorary Fellow

Professor Paul X. McCarthy

Professor Paul X. McCarthy
Author, speaker and technology consultant
Paul X. McCarthy

Professor Paul X. McCarthy is an author, speaker and technology consultant with over 20 years’ experience as a senior executive and innovation leader creating, advising and investing in enterprises that apply new business models and emerging digital technologies to financial, government and media services.

Professor McCarthy began his career at IBM in 1991, as part of the foundation management team of GraFXlab, a new business unit created to focus on professional service delivery in digital art, animation and interactive design. In 1997, he co-founded and led The Digital Media Group Ltd, an online financial services company, where he developed three major national flagship consumer products: EquityCafé, FreeLiveQuotes, and GraFXchange.

Professor McCarthy was the Senior Program Manager and Strategic ICT Industry Manager for the NSW Government between 2001 and 2011. During this time, Professor McCarthy led several whole-of-government programs in online services delivery, innovation and strategic industry development. This included the first government-wide online open document repository, OpenGov, and the popular NSW Baby Names Explorer.

Between 2012 and 2014, Professor McCarthy was Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation at Sirca Ltd.—a global technology company based in Sydney that provides online services for data-intensive researchers and analysts in financial services and other domains. Professor McCarthy was also Co-Founder, Chief Strategist and General Manager of five successful and innovative new business ventures at IBM, Digital Media Group, the NSW Government, NICTA and CSIRO that have collectively attracted over $50 million in foundation investments and resulted in the creation of over 1,000 new, high value jobs.

Since 2000, Professor McCarthy has been CEO and Managing Director of Online Gravity, a global digital consultancy firm that specialises in management consulting, strategy, innovation and investment advisory services. He is also the CEO and Co-Founder of League of Scholars, a global online analytics platform for identifying, attracting and recruiting high-potential talent, and Founding Board Member and Chairman of The Studio — a new global media tech hub that will launch in Sydney in 2018.

Professor McCarthy is an alumnus of the University of Sydney, Western Sydney University and Macquarie University. He graduated from the then University of Western Sydney in 1994 with a Master of Design, Digital Media. Professor McCarthy achieved excellence throughout his studies, receiving the Ian Langham Memorial Prize in History and Philosophy of Science while studying a Bachelor of Computer Science at the University of Sydney and the MGSM Award for Advertising and Marketing from Macquarie University, where he completed his MBA in 2000.

Since 2013, Professor McCarthy has been an Adjunct Professor and adviser on Startups, Technology Entrepreneurship and the Digital Economy at the University of New South Wales.

Professor McCarthy is also a published author and accomplished keynote speaker. He has contributed eleven articles to The Conversation, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works with universities, the CSIRO and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider community. In 2015, Professor McCarthy’s book Online Gravity was published by Simon and Schuster. Based on twenty years of experience and private research, Online Gravity explains how you can benefit from a better understanding of the true nature of the web and the amazing power it offers to improve your personal and professional life.  In a review for Online Gravity, Dr Terry Percival AM, Co-inventor of Wi-Fi, said that the publication provided ‘extraordinary insight into how the digital revolution is changing our lives forever’.

Professor McCarthy was also the Chair of the most prestigious digital industry awards in Australia and New Zealand — the AMY Awards for almost 10 years. In 2015, he was inducted into the AMY Hall of Fame as the recipient of the Outstanding Industry Contribution Award.

Community Fellow

Aunty Rita Jean Wright

Rita Wright Rita Wright is a Muruwari woman, who has dedicated her time and energy over the past 40 years to support, foster and strengthen the early learning and achievement of Aboriginal children in Greater Western Sydney. Aunty Rita is a well-respected local elder and the elder in residence at Ngroo Education Incorporated, whose tireless support has helped to develop understanding and positive relationships between the indigenous community, policy makers, service and program providers, families and children. Aunty Rita has endorsed the valuable opportunities culturally appropriate programs and services can provide for Aboriginal children’s education and learning.

Born in Brewarrina New South Wales in 1953, Aunty Rita has overcome many obstacles in her life, including her restricted access to school and educational opportunities, and the difficult emotional journey experienced as a child of the Stolen Generation, having been separated from her family and community at a very young age. Aunty Rita has used her experiences to inform others and to advocate for cultural sensitivity in program and service delivery for Aboriginal children in educational contexts, as a gateway to equity, opportunity and lifelong learning.

Aunty Rita is the elder in residence at Ngroo Education Incorporated and since 2008, has been instrumental to the organisations practice and policy direction. Ngroo has helped to improve opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, by increasing participating in mainstream early childhood education and care and other relevant services and settings.

In 2011, using evidence based practices set up in Tregear NSW, Ngroo Education Incorporated established the Walking Together Model to help improve the educational outcomes of Aboriginal Children. By sharing her knowledge in partnership with non-Aboriginal people, Aunty Rita has played a key role in the development of the Walking Together Model, and has been integral to its continued success. The model is used  throughout NSW to support a culturally appropriate approach to the early education of Aboriginal children, which then assists improvements in access, attendance and learning outcomes for Aboriginal students. Aunty Rita has also devoted her time to ensuring that other Ngroo programs and services provided for Aboriginal children and families have strong cultural links.

Aunty Rita is an adviser on two significant government grants that fund work in the area of transition to school for Aboriginal children. One grant, Connected Beginnings, focuses on empowering and strengthening Aunty Rita’s local community, while the second grant provides funds for engagement with over 300 preschools. Aunty Rita has also supported a school-based language program by offering her time to participate in classroom activities and engage with children.

In addition to Aunty Rita’s commitment to ensuring culturally appropriate early learning for Aboriginal children, her work also extends to supporting local Aboriginal youth and fostering positive relationships between the indigenous community and criminal justice system. Aunty Rita has worked with the Mt Druitt Police Department for over 30 years, to assist incarcerated youth and  develop programs to prevent criminal offending.  

Aunty Rita has appeared on several television and radio programs. In 2016, she advocated for improvements to out-of-home care as a guest speaker on Insight. Aunty Rita also appeared on the 2016 SBS documentary, Servant or Slave, which provided an emotional and confronting insight into the history and legacy of the domestic servitude enforced upon Aboriginal girls in Australia, told through the stories of five women.

In 2012, Aunty Rita was named the inaugural Coral McLean Award Winner for her work mentoring indigenous children and their families at Tregear Presbyterian Preschool and her support for Anglicare. In 2013, Aunty Rita received the Zest Exceptional Project Award and was a finalist in the 2014 Australian Council of Social Services Community Service Award.

Aunty Rita remains committed to promoting an Aboriginal perspective on important issues and strategies that impact on Aboriginal children and their families. She continues her support and advocacy for culturally sensitive programs and services that make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal children, families and the local community of Greater Western Sydney.