Says Who? Informed voices on contentious issues

Says WhoThe UNSW Arts and Social Sciences Says Who? Public Panel Series once again brings together expert panellists from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, including individuals from the community, corporate, research and policy sectors.

The Says Who? Public Panel Series provides a platform for rigorous debate on today’s critical social issues. Our panels discuss relevant and often contentious issues which are affecting local, national and global communities with an opportunity for audience questions and input.

Upcoming events

Education & Equality: Unfinished business?

30 October 2017

UNSW Arts & Social Sciences presents our 2017 Says Who? event Education & equality: Unfinished business?

Join us as we host our esteemed industry panel to discuss the challenges confronted when trying to achieve equality in our education system. What unfinished business do we need to address?

Supported by UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality.

Register Here

Introductions by

  • Susan Dodds, Dean UNSW Arts & Social Sciences
  • Chris Davison, Head of Education, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences

Industry panel



Alexandra Smith, Education Editor, Sydney Morning Herald

Alexandra Smith is Education Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. She has been a Fairfax journalist for 18 years and also a columnist and political reporter. She has covered education for the Guardian in London and won a Walkley Award for her coverage of plagiarism in Australian universities. She is author of the book If You Want to Blitz Your Year 12 Exams Read This Book, which will be released in December.


Adrian Piccoli

Adrian Piccoli - Professor of Practice, UNSW School of Education

The Hon Adrian Piccoli served as the NSW Minister for Education for 6 years from April 2011 until January 2017.

Adrian is widely respected by the Australian education sector. He successfully led the political campaign to reform school funding in Australia and he has strengthened and enhanced the teaching profession in NSW through his “Great Teaching Inspired Learning” reforms. Mr Piccoli continues to champion the learning needs of disadvantaged children and the importance of setting high expectations, particularly for students living in rural and remote Australia.



Jihad Dib, MP - Shadow Minister for Education, NSW Government

Jihad Dib is the Member for Lakemba. In March 2015, Jihad was elected as the Labor Member for Lakemba and was made the Shadow Minister for Education in March 2016. He is the state’s first lower house Muslim MP in the NSW Parliament.

His purpose is to ‘make a difference’. At the age of 33, Jihad Dib was appointed as the Principal of Punchbowl Boys' High School; a school that had been on the verge of closure. Under his leadership, the school made highly significant and externally recognized improvements in educational and social outcomes for students and the school community through a systematic and practical approach to educational reform.

Jihad was recognised as the 2011 P&C NSW Secondary Principal of the Year, received the Director NSW Public Schools Principal Award and was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of NSW in June 2014. In 2013, Jihad was awarded the NSW Pride of Australia Medal in the inspiration category.



Liliana Mularczyk, OAM - Director of Secondary Education, NSW Department of Education 

Lila was Principal at Merrylands High School for 15 years until 2016, the Deputy President of the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council (SPC) for eight years, and an SPC Executive Member for 15 years, including President of the NSW SPC from 2012 to 2016.

During her 12 years as a classroom teacher and Head Teacher in exceptionally challenging school environments, Lila was a founding member of initially a regional professional curriculum association network that subsequently developed into a state wide system. As a Deputy Principal in two schools, Lila oversaw a number of successful and acclaimed programs and was an active member of the NSW Deputy Principal Association again delivering professional learning programs and convening professional learning forums.

Lila is currently the Director, Secondary Education, Learning and Teaching Directorate, Department of Education during which she undertook the relieving duties as the Executive Director, Leadership and High Performance. Lila’s commitment to education was recognised by being honoured with the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), announced on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday in 2017.

Mary O'Kane

Professor Mary O'Kane

Professor Mary O’Kane AC is the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, a company director, and Executive Chairman of O’Kane Associates, a Sydney-based consulting practice specialising in government reviews and research and innovation matters.

She is also Chair of the boards of the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information, the Space Environment Management Cooperative Research Centre and the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania. She is also a director of the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre and Business Events Sydney.

Professor O’Kane was Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of Adelaide from 1996-2001. She is a former Chair of the board of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, a former member of the Commonwealth’s Review of the National Innovation System, the Australian Research Council and the Cooperative Research Centres Committee, the board of FH Faulding & Co Ltd and the board of CSIRO. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of Engineers Australia.


Previous events

Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence: What's gender got to do with it?

The past 12 months have seen a significant increase in public awareness of domestic, family and sexual violence, but is the attention too narrowly focused on men’s violence against women? To what extent should we acknowledge and address male victimisation and female perpetration? How should we recognise and respond to domestic, family and sexual violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community? Moreover, what factors other than gender contribute to the prevalence of these types of abuse?

On 21 April 2016, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences hosted a Says Who? panel discussion at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth featuring a diverse panel who discussed a range of important and contentious gendered violence issues, tackling the question what’s gender got to do with it?


  • Elizabeth Broderick - Special Adviser to the ED of UN Women New York and former Sex Discrimination Commissione
  • Heather Nancarrow - CEO, ANROWS and Deputy Chair of the COAG Advisory Panel to reduce violence against women
  • Dr Michael Salter - Western Sydney University
  • Catherine Burn APM - Deputy Commissioner, New South Wales Police Force
  • Dr Gávi Ansara - Board Member, Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council
  • Associate Professor Jan Breckenridge - UNSW Arts & Social Sciences and the Gendered Violence Research Network


  • Professor Eileen Baldry - UNSW Arts & Social Sciences



Disability and a Good Life: What does it take?

The first event in this Says Who? series took place on Wednesday 30 April at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth and tackled the question of Disability and a Good Life: What does it take?

Featuring an expert panel of leaders in disability advocacy, research, policy and practice, the panel discussion tackled some of the thorny issues in disability in Australia today - informing and challenging in equal measure.


  • Graeme Innes - Disability Discrimination Commissioner
  • Cain Beckett - PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Therese Sands - People with Disability Australia
  • Damian Griffis - First People’s Disability Network Australia
  • Associate Professor Leanne Dowse - UNSW Disability Researcher


  • Sarah Macdonald - Daily Life columnist and radio broadcaster

Want to know more?

Read more about our our inaugural Says Who? event or watch the full discussion below.

For information about all upcoming events visit the UNSW Arts & Sciences events calendar.