From 9.30am

Arrival and registration

Join us from 9.30am to register and enjoy a welcome refreshment before the program kicks-off.


Open and Welcome

Leesa Shannon
Master of Ceremonies


Welcome to Country

Mickey O’Brien

MickeyO, as he is called, is a descendant of the Kaurna (Adelaide Plains) and Nurrunga (York Peninsula) peoples. MickeyO will share the stories of his ancestors and welcome us to Kaurna country.


Anh Do – My Story

Anh Do

Born in Vietnam in 1977, Anh Do’s family fled the country in 1980, landing in Australia after a harrowing journey. Since then Anh has made a name for himself as one of Australia’s most well-known comedians, authors, and actors. Anh will share his inspiring and unique life story with us.


Morning tea


The Vision for Australia Day

Chris Kirby
Chief Executive Officer, National Australia Day Council

Darren Kemp
Partner, Fiftyfive5

During this session Darren will present findings from recent research into attitudes towards Australia Day and Australian values. The research will highlight some key differences between perceived public opinion and actual attitudes when it comes to our national day. The research will lead into broader discussion about the vision for Australia Day in 2018 and beyond.




Panel Discussion: National Days & National Identity

Chris Kirby
Chief Executive Officer, National Australia Day Council

Dr Tim Soutphommasane 
Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

Angelos Frangopoulos
Chief Executive Officer, Sky News

Rachel Jayne Porter 
Author and Australia Day Ambassador

Clr Houssam Abiad
Councillor, Adelaide City Council

During this session, panellists will discuss the meaning of Australia Day past, present and future. Is it a day for all Australians? Is it a celebration of nationalism? Or a demonstration of togetherness? How do national days celebrate unity and the values we share? 


Afternoon tea


Australia Day for all Australians: How to make your Australia Day activity culturally inclusive

Paula Masselos
Managing Director, Embrace Society

Australia is a culturally diverse nation with people from over 250 countries, speaking 230 languages, living here. However, while people agree that Australia is a multicultural society, most events do not reflect this diversity; in part because organisers do not know how to access Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, nor how to market to them. Paula’s presentation will explore how to make your event more culturally inclusive and attractive to CALD communities, as well as strategies for increasing the cultural diversity of your attendees.


Interactive Session: Generating Ideas for your Events 

Damian Tunney
General Manager Communications and National Network, National Australia Day Council 

As event organisers we face many challenges when it comes to delivering Australia Day events. So let’s put our collective brains together to solve some of these common challenges by generating new and exciting event ideas. It’ll be a fun and interactive session where you can share your expertise and learn from others.


Day One Close


Gala Dinner

Venue: Adelaide Town Hall

Dress: Cocktail

With the spectacular Adelaide Town Hall as our backdrop and some of Adelaide’s famous food and wine on offer, this is an evening not to be missed. We’ll be joined by special guest and 2017 Young Australian of the Year, Paul Vasileff and local band The Baker Boys will have you dancing the night away!





Open and Welcome

Leesa Shannon
Master of Ceremonies


Inclusive Australia 

Sarah Rush
Partnerships Manager, Australia Post 

Australia is a country where everyone has a chance to belong, succeed and contribute. To be a proud Australian. But at times we seem to have lost touch with what Australia stands for. There are Australians who feel they don’t belong and those being treated unfairly because of their difference. And there are some that simply don’t have a voice. It’s time to change that. Inclusive Australia is a project aimed at empowering every Australian to accept, value and celebrate our differences. To amplify our diversity and allow it to build upon our vibrant and interesting society.


Engaging a remote community: Australia Day in Tennant Creek, a success story

Stephen Dawkins
Director Community Services, Barkley Regional Council 

This case study session will take you on a journey through the organisation and delivery of the major annual event on the community of Tennant Creek's calendar. Australia Day is highly anticipated and well supported by this remote town of 3000 people. The day is all about good planning and organisation...and fun! 


Panel Discussion: Aboriginal Perspectives on Australia Day

Chris Kirby
Chief Executive Officer, National Australia Day Council

Karen Mundine
Deputy CEO, Reconciliation Australia 

Chris Spencer
General Manager, Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance

Benson Saulo
Group Indigenous Opportunities Manager, Australian Unity

Dr Robert Isaacs
Executive Manager, Keystart

During this session, Aboriginal panellists will discuss their personal opinions on Australia Day. They'll share how they spend the day and provide advice on how we can ensure our councils and regions are marking the day in a way that is respectful.


Morning tea
























Topic 1: Celebrating Community: how to recognise members of the community with Australia Day Awards

Emma Chidlow
Interim Executive Officer, Australia Day Council of South Australia

Celebrating and showcasing local achievements is very important to foster pride in the community, to recognise people making a real difference, and give people something to strive towards. This session will explore the importance of celebrating community and what to do with recipients following the ceremony. 


Topic 2: Australia Day through the lens of Social Media 

John Williams
Founder and Managing Director, One Small Step Collective
James Procter
Founder and Creative Director, One Small Step Collective

John Williams and James Procter from Crimson Hexagon and One Small Step Collective will be taking you through the discoveries and learnings from their longitudinal research into the Australia Day conversation across public social media. John and James use a machine learning analysis tool Crimson Hexagon to look at how this analysis can inform: 

  • the development of your marketing, communication and event strategies
  • your decision making around social media conversations
  • the development of appropriate content strategies across digital and non-digital platforms.   

Using simple and easily understood data visualisation, you will leave this presentation with a understanding of the role of social insights and how the data can create tangible actions and content plans for your organisation, even when social media is not being used as a platform for direct communication.


Topic 1: Engagement between Australia Day organisers and Aboriginal Stakeholders

Yvonne Weldon
Chairperson, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (Sydney)
Mathew Jones
Executive Director, Strategic Communications and Events, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Australia Day is not a day of celebration for many Aboriginal Australians, but to not include Aboriginal people, perspectives and culture in Australia Day activity is unthinkable for event organisers. How can this be done in a sensitive and respectful way, given the contested environment? Yvonne Weldon from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and Mathew Jones from the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet talk about their experiences collaborating on Australia Day in Sydney 2017. 


Topic 2: Australian Citizenship and Protocols for the Australian National Flag and other symbols

Peter Rush
Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Government Branch, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Elizabeth Mitchell 
Assistant Director, Stakeholder Engagement and Citizenship Ceremonies, Department of Immigration and Border Protection

This session will provide information and advice on:

  • Citizenship Ceremonies - why have them?
  • Australian Local Heroes – representing good citizenship
  • Citizenship reforms and the impact on citizenship ceremonies
  • The Australian Citizenship Affirmation
  • Protocol for displaying the Australian National Flag and other flags
  • Appropriate use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms
  • Protocol for performing the Australian National Anthem




Plan B - When the Show Simply Can't Go On 

Erica Mueller 
Activation and Events Coordinator, City of Perth

Erica will present a case study on the City of Perth’s 2017 Australia Day celebrations, during which a light aircraft crashed into the Swan River and killed two people. The incident caused the cancellation of the annual Skyworks show which attracts more than 300,000 visitors. Erica will provide practical advice on risk management and how you can ensure your team is properly equipped to deal with unexpected events.   


The Power of Communities

Vicki Jellie
2017 Australia’s Local Hero

After her husband died of cancer in 2008, Vicki initiated “Peter’s Project”, a community group dedicated to fighting for improved cancer services for South West Victoria. Despite being told that a cancer centre in Warrnambool would “never happen”, Vicki, with the help of her community, secured $30 million combined funding from State and Federal governments and the community that brought that dream to life. Vicki’s story demonstrates why volunteers are the core of our nation’s community and that ‘nothing is impossible’.


Closing remarks

Leesa Shannon
Master of Ceremonies 


Afternoon tea on departure


The Australia Day National Conference 2017 is proudly supported by