Press Release 713





Press Release 713


Gonski Panel Chosen:

Will Public Schools be adequately Represented?


Businessman David Gonski will lead a panel of eight educators and policy experts in a nine-month look at how to ensure the boost in resources leads to better student results. He will reunite with former NSW and South Australia public education boss Ken Boston, who was part of the original Gonski panel that recommended the needs- based funding model.

If the history of the Schools Commission is anything to go by, public school supporters will be constantly compromised as they are asked to be ‘sector blind’.  The following is the information Gonski 2.0 committee: In particular, DOGS note that Ken Boston has endorsed the Turnbull/Birmingham Gonski 2.0. Like Gonski, he is a skilful courtier. He is a public school supporter and a believer in ‘meritocracy’. He is also acceptable to the private sector.

Other members of the new panel are Smith Family chief Lisa O'Brien, education and management consultant Terrey Arcus, independent schools representative Valerie Gould, Catholic schools representative Lee-Anne Perry, and public school principals Wendy Johnston and Michael Roberts. Information on the background of the panel can be found at



Mr David Gonski AC


New South Wales

Current position

Chancellor, University of NSW (2005)

President, Art Gallery of NSW Trust (2016)

Chairman, Australian & New Zealand Banking Group (2014)


David was the chair of the review into school funding in Australia in 2011.

He has been Chancellor of the University of NSW for 12 years and has also served as Chairman and/or trustee of Sydney Grammar School for 18 years.

David has a keen interest in education having taught as a part time lecturer at the University of NSW for five years in the early 1980’s.

He is a lawyer by training who has been involved in corporate advisory and governance of large and middle size companies for many years.


Mr Terrey Arcus AM


New South Wales

Current positions

Founder & Consultant to Port Jackson Partners Limited (1991)

Director Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2010)

Chairman Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2015)


Strategic Advice

Terrey joined McKinsey & Company initially in New York and London in 1973, and developed his skills as a strategic advisor by pursuing challenging assignments in the USA, Europe and Australia. As a Principal in Australia between 1979 and 1983, Terrey led the firm’s work with a number of major client relationships. McKinsey only had offices in Japan and Australia in Asia in 1984 when Terrey opened and established the resident McKinsey practice in Hong Kong, aimed at serving the Chinese community in Asia, and developing a practice in China. Terrey drew upon the support of partners and offices around the Pacific Basin in this entrepreneurial endeavour. Terrey was elected a Director of McKinsey & Company Inc. in 1985, the year the Hong Kong office was opened, and for the rest of the 1980’s worked extensively in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and China for both multinational and local clients on issues of strategy and organisation.

Terrey and his wife Anne decided to return to educate their children at high school in Sydney in the 1990’s but suffered the loss of their young son, Richard, to Aplastic Anaemia. This emotional experience kick-started their philanthropic endeavours to support the Cord Blood Bank and medical research at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

Terrey founded Port Jackson Partners Limited in 1991, supported by his former McKinsey partner Fred Hilmer, who was then the Dean of Australian Graduate School of Management at University of New South Wales. Port Jackson Partners has prospered as a boutique strategy advisory firm, serving large public and private Australian and multi-national clients via a high octane, partner rich business model, over the last 25 years.


Rather than serve on boards that conflict with his advisory practice, Terrey supports his community interests by conducting pro-bono assignments for major not-for-profit enterprises. He prefers to be involved personally, rather than just support his community interests with philanthropy.

These community interests range from education (e.g. University of NSW, University of Sydney, Sydney Grammar School) to Medical Research (The Garvan, Victor Chang MRI), to the Arts (Deputy Chairman Australian Council for the Arts 2002-2006, Director 2001-2015 and 2015+ Chairman of Sydney Symphony Orchestra). Terrey was awarded the Order of Australia in 2007 for his contributions to community.


Dr Ken Boston AO


New South Wales

Current positions


Recent Previous employment

Chair, NSW Ministerial Advisory Group on Literacy and Numeracy (2012)

Member, Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Review) (2010)

Chief Executive, Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, England (2002)

Director-General of Education and Training NSW, and Managing Director of TAFE NSW (1997)

Director-General of School Education, NSW (1992)

Director-General of Education, South Australia (1988)


Ken’s career in education has spanned three Australian states, and Australia and England nationally. Ken has contributed to the fields of primary, secondary, vocational and higher education; he has been a practitioner, research analyst, policy adviser and system level chief executive.

Ken’s particular interests have covered curriculum design, qualifications design, pedagogy, assessment, school governance, school and systems management, transition to work, educational leadership, and quality assurance.

Ken is familiar with the contemporary literature and research in these areas, and equipped to consider and weigh the evidence and submissions to be sought by the Review. He is fully conversant with the issues surrounding national performance; with the transition of school leavers to post-school activities; with the strategic targeting of outcomes for different student cohorts, according to need; with the relationship between governance and sustained improvement in student outcomes; and with the importance of quality assurance and accountability in guaranteeing a successful return on education investment.


Ms Valerie Gould


Western Australia

Current positions

Executive Director of the Association of Independent Schools of WA (AISWA)


ACARA (July 2014)

Concept One Superannuation Fund (September 2015)


In Valerie’s 20 years with AISWA, her focus has always been on supporting schools in their quest to improve students’ outcomes. This has involved assisting school leaders and teachers implement curriculum changes and national and international testing regimes, including using the results of these assessments to inform work with students. Her work with schools and other stakeholders has been in the areas of curriculum change across all years of schooling including Senior Secondary Education; and in meeting government regulations from a national and state perspective. Valerie recognises the importance of a good, safe and supportive educational environment and with that, she has worked with the inclusive education team to ensure this is the case in each school.

Valerie has a range of extensive experience working with schools and teachers across a range of settings. In her roles with AISWA as Manager of Curriculum and Targeted Programs and in the last nine year as Executive Director she has worked with remote Aboriginal schools, boarding schools that have comprehensive programs for secondary Aboriginal students and Curriculum and Re-Engagement (CARE) schools that work with students at educational risk. Valerie has also managed 4 Indigenous advancement Strategy grants.

Valerie was the Senior Education Officer for Vocational Education at the Curriculum Council in WA, and for a number of years worked with schools, training providers and industry groups on the implementation and certification of VET in Schools. This included preparing students for the future, whether it be employment, further education and training or life in general. More recently Valerie has worked with schools on the implications of research such as that from the Foundation for Young Australians (New Work Order), OECD and PwC which paint a very different future for our young people and how schools can meet these needs.

Valerie has worked for 20 years with diverse school populations and has met the needs of each school and the students in that school by sourcing appropriate resources and establishing support networks.

AISWA has worked with a number of external agencies, mainly universities but more recently her focus has been on ensuring that the work undertaken is evidence based and that research is done to a high standard. As such, its research has often been published and presented at conferences.

Valerie has represented the Independent sector on a range of state and national committees and has strong networks and a great capacity to consult with stakeholders on issues as they arise.

Valerie has a Bachelor of Economics and a Diploma of Education from UWA, is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and a Fellow of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders.


Ms Wendy Johnson


South Australia

Current positions

Principal, Glenunga International High School (2008)

Vice President South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (2015)

Member South Australian Secondary Principals’ Association Board (2004)

Principal Representative on SACE Board E-Assessment Steering Group (2016)

Secondary Principal Representative on DECD Funding Stakeholders Group (2015)


Wendy is Principal of the largest secondary public school in SA. With 1775 students from over 70 different countries, Glenunga hosts specialist programs for gifted and talented students, and for the International Baccalaureate. Glenunga is the only South Australian public school listed in the top 100 secondary schools in Australia and has been recognised as ‘leading edge’ in the Telstra White Paper on Personalising learning for 21st century learners. The school is accredited by the Council of International Schools as demonstrating world standard commitment to continuous improvement and achieving improved outcomes for students.

Glenunga has been on a transformational journey from being a good 20th century ‘coasting’ school to being a great 21st century student-centred learning powerhouse. One measurement of this success is the change in academic grades. In 2008 Glenunga’s Year 12 SACE results were 20.4 per cent ‘D/E’ grades and 18 per cent ‘A’ grades. Results have steadily improved as a result of deliberate strategies, until in 2016 there were 40 per cent ‘A’ grades and 1.4 per cent ‘D/E’ grades. The SACE improvement strategies used at Glenunga have been shared with other schools - including some of our most disadvantaged - and their results have shown steady improvement.

Transformations have also occurred in other aspects of student outcomes such as wellbeing, leadership and learning partnerships.

Prior to her appointment to Glenunga, Wendy held a number of positions including as Principal at Victor Harbor High School, as District Superintendent in two highly disadvantaged metropolitan areas, as Regional Services Manager across Adelaide’s northern suburbs (some of the most disadvantaged in Australia) and as a policy developer responsible for phasing out corporal punishment and introducing a new School Discipline policy in SA, cited by OECD as best practice. A common theme across Wendy’s work is to use resources in different innovative ways to improve outcomes for all students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Wendy has a Masters Degree in Educational Administration and her research on the effectiveness of an interagency referral process that she developed won the university’s gold medal and was recognised by OECD as world’s best practice.


Dr Lisa O’Brien


New South Wales

Current positions

Chief Executive Officer, The Smith Family (2011)

Non-executive Director, Community Council for Australia (2011)

Advisory Council Member, Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation, NSW Department of Education and Training (2014)

Dean’s Advisory Council Member, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales

Non-executive Director, Bupa, Australian and New Zealand (2014)


Lisa leads Australia’s major education-oriented children’s charity The Smith Family and has driven a five year plan to grow the effectiveness and reach of the organisation’s education-oriented programs to support more disadvantaged children and young people. Lisa’s work at The Smith Family includes programs that support disadvantaged children and young people, including specific support for Indigenous students, young people, families and regional communities.

Lisa has worked in leadership roles across the public, not for-profit and commercial sectors over the last two decades. She is a non-executive director of the Community Council for Australia and BUPA Australia & New Zealand, member of Chief Executive Women and former CEO of the Skin and Cancer Foundation Australia. In 2012, Lisa served on the NSW Government’s Tertiary Pathways Review Committee and in 2013 she was a member of Collaboration Research Reference Group for the NSW Public Service Commission.

A Medical Practitioner registered in New South Wales and a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators, Lisa also holds a Masters of Business Administration, a Masters of Human Resource Management and Coaching and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Dr Lee-Anne Perry AM



Current positions

Executive Director, Queensland Catholic Education Commission (2015)

Governor-in-Council Member, Queensland University of Technology Council (2008 – appointed Member; 2015 – appointed Deputy Chancellor)

Governor-in-Council Member, Queensland Non-State Schools Accreditation Board (2015)

Director, Queensland Education Leadership Institute Ltd (2010-12; 2015-current)


Lee-Anne has taught in Catholic and state schools in Queensland, including in North Queensland, and NSW for almost forty years. She was a principal in three schools (secondary and Years 5-12) in Queensland over a period of 25 years, until mid-2015. Lee-Anne has recent, hands on experience of leading and teaching in schools.

This experience, together with her academic studies, and extensive and diverse professional experiences and involvement (e.g. professional associations) have enabled her to engage directly in evidence-based and data informed practice and leadership in schools. Lee-Anne has extensive practical experience in school education, recency of practice and deep understanding of schools and school culture. She also has research informed knowledge and understanding of factors impacting on educational excellence.

Additionally, Lee-Anne’s long involvement as a member of a University Council has also enabled her to gain deep insight into tertiary education and the linkages and impacts of school and tertiary education. Lee-Anne’s doctoral studies and subsequent publications and workshop/conference presentations have focused on issues of accountability for schools and she has continued to read widely in the area of accountability, risk, data and educational outcomes in schools.

Lee-Anne holds the following qualifications: Bachelor of Education (First Class Honours), University of Sydney; Master of Education, University of Sydney; Doctor of Education, Queensland University of Technology – Doctoral Thesis: Risk and Accountability: Implications for school leadership; Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Mr Michael Roberts



Current positions

Executive Director of Schools, Good to Great Schools Australia (2017)

Former Principal, Broadbeach Independent Public School


Michael became a school principal in Queensland 21 years ago at a small school in Western Queensland and has been a principal of nine schools across the state, including Pentland State School, 250kms west of Townsville and Kingsthorpe State School, west of Toowoomba on the Darling Downs—both schools have a high proportion of children from disadvantaged backgrounds and Indigenous students.

During his career as a principal, Michael left Australia to work for a Singaporean education company in South East Asia as an advisor to the CEO. Highlights of his tenure in Asia were the construction of a quality assurance process used across Vietnam which was based on the ISO 9000 Quality Management System and the Singapore Ministry of Education Quality Schools Framework. He also led the integration of the Singapore and Australian curriculum to be used by international and Vietnamese students.

Michael has been the Principal of Broadbeach Independent Public School for the past 7 years. During this time, Broadbeach has progressed from achieving average results, to now being regarded as the highest performing primary school in the South East Queensland Region and the highest performing primary school on the Gold Coast.

Michael has recently completed an Honours degree in Psychological Science and regularly incorporates the research based principles he has learned from this to improve both student learning and staff performance at Broadbeach. Michael is now replicating what he implemented at Broadbeach across Australia as Executive Director at Good to Great Schools Australia.


DOGS note that although public schools appear to be reasonably well represented on this panel, none of these representatives could be expected to take a firm line on State Aid to private schools. Nor do they have the lobbyist experience of their counterparts from the private sector. Nor is there any guarantee that the terms of reference and legislation of Gonski 2.0 will, in the end, be helpful to the current unequal playing field inn which advocates of public education find themselves.









                       855 ON THE AM DIAL: 12.00 NOON   SATURDAYS