Our people

Discover the exceptional individuals who contribute their expertise and leadership to the John Curtin Research Centre. Our people of dedicated professionals who guide the strategic direction of the JCRC, drawing on their diverse background in academia, public service and advocacy.

Meet our experts

Executive Director

Dr Nick Dyrenfurth

Nick is the author or editor of twelve books, including The Write Stuff: Voices of Unity on Labor’s Future (2020, with Misha Zelinsky), Getting the Blues: the Future of Australian Labor (2019), A Little History of the Australian Labor Party (2011, with Frank Bongiorno), Mateship: A Very Australian History (2015), ‘A powerful influence on Australian affairs’: A new history of the AWU (forthcoming, 2017), Heroes and Villains: the Rise and Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party (2011), All That’s Left: What Labor Should Stand For (2010, co-edited with Tim Soutphommasane), and Confusion: The Making of the Australian Two-Party System (2009, co-edited with Paul Strangio). A second, revised edition of A Little History of the Australian Labor Party is due for release in 2024. Nick is also a leading media commentator, having written for The Age, The Saturday Paper, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Financial Review, Herald-Sun, The West Australian, Daily Telegraph, Canberra Times, The New Daily and is a frequent contributor to The Monthly magazine. Previously he has worked as a Labor Party advisor and speechwriter as well as appearing as an expert commentator on television and radio. Nick is an Adjunct Research Fellow in the School of Historical Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, where he obtained a PhD in Australian history, as well as lecturing there for a number of years as well as at The University of Melbourne. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Sydney between 2009-2011. Nick sits on the editorial boards of Labour History and Palgrave Macmillan Debates in Business History Series. Nick authored the JCRC policy reports, Make Australia Fair Again (2017), Super Ideas: Securing Australia’s Retirement Income System (2018), Rental Nation: A Plan for Secure Housing in Australia (2020) and discussion papers Curtin’s Wish: 7 big ideas for a better Australia (2018) and #Changethestats: a new way of talking about unemployment (2019). He also co-authored (with Adam Slonim) Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work (2019), Powerstate: Building Victoria’s Hydrogen Industry (with Dominic Meagher. 2020), Private Gain, Public Pain: Taking Stock of Privatisation, Outsourcing and Contracting Public Sector Work and Clean and Mean: New Directions for Australia’s steel industry (with Dominic, 2022) and Super Solutions: Tackling Australia’s Housing Affordability and Supply Crisis (also with Dominic, 2023) In his spare time, Nick enjoys writing children’s picture books, three of which have been published, and another title is in progress.

Deputy Director And Chief Economist

Dr Dominic Meagher

Dr Dominic Meagher was a visiting fellow at the Australia National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific and is executive director of the Australasia Strategy Group, which supports democratic open society by promoting nuanced understanding and intelligent responses to major risks in Australia’s region. Dominic holds a PhD in economics from the ANU where he was a Rio Tinto China Scholar and managed the China Economy Program. He has worked in and on China for 20 years, including at think tanks and research centres in Beijing, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Canberra. In October 2020, Dominic co-wrote the John Curtin Research Centre policy reports, Powerstate: Building Victoria’s Hydrogen Industry (with Nick Dyrenfurth) and Clean and Mean: New Directions for Australia’s Steel Industry (out in June 2022, also with Nick).

Chair

Sam Almaliki

Sam has been described as a dreamer and a doer since he arrived in Australia as an 8-year-old from Iraq in 1997. He’s achieved so much since his humble beginnings at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre and this short biography only tells you a fraction of his story. The product of public housing and public schooling, Sam is passionate about the power of practical ideas and policies to transform lives. It’s why he is proud to be involved in and contributing to the labour movement and the John Curtin Research Centre. Bold economic and social programs that deliver prosperity and opportunity for all is what drives Sam. He has worked as the Head of Commercial at Acusensus, a world leader in road safety technology, where he helped secure over $120 million in contracted revenue in four years, he co-founded an online conveyancing business Settle Easy, facilitates the Regional Angel Investor Network and has founded Almaliki & Co, which provides cross-industry solutions to businesses and governments. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to social justice shines brightly wherever he goes whether he’s on a board, advising early stage businesses or identifying innovative solutions to deliver real-world measurable results. Before his startup career, Sam worked at Cricket Australia and he’s also held leadership positions at the ABC Advisory Council, been a member of the SBS Advisory Committee, and chairs the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust.

Board Member

Fletcher Adam

Fletcher Adam is the co-founder of a full-service marketing and branding agency, The Brand Project. He has experience in the dynamic world of startups and early-stage business investing, and he has spent the last few years building and scaling a number of businesses. He holds a degree in International Studies with a strong interest in foreign policy, international security, and East Asian geopolitics. He was a recipient of an Australian Federal Government study grant via the New Colombo Plan to further his studies of Mandarin in Nanjing, China. He is an active member of the Labor Party and has supported both state and federal Labor Ministers.

Board Member

Priya Brown

Priya Brown is a Director at WA’s leading Government Relations and Communication Firms GRA Partners and holds a Bachelor of Science/Arts (Psych) from the University of Western Australia. Prior to consultancy Priya spent a decade working as a Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser in the Victorian and WA State Governments as well as Federal Opposition. Priya played a critical role in the development of four state budgets and advised governments in a wide range of policy areas.  She has worked across central and marginal seat campaigns in 5 states in a variety of roles from organising to directing costings. Although Priya grew up in a strong Labor household it was her introduction in the form of a part time job at university with the union movement that solidified to her the importance of Labor governments.

Board Member

Gerard Dwyer

Gerard Dwyer is the National Secretary-Treasurer of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association. Gerard was the Secretary-Treasurer of the SDA-NSW Branch (2005-2014), National President of the Union (2008-2014) and SDA National Secretary since 2014. Gerard grew up in regional NSW and moved to Sydney at the age of 18 to pursue tertiary studies. He has a Bachelor of Education (History and English (1989)), a Masters of Business in Employment Relations (UTS, 2002), and is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Gerard’s working life has seen him employed as a shop assistant, classroom teacher, social worker and as a Trade Union Official for over 30 years.

Board Member

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is a barrister in Sydney, New South Wales. Prior to joining the bar, Lewis worked in at Maurice Blackburn as a class actions lawyer. He has been the President of the NSW Society of Labor Lawyers since 2017 and is the Chair of NSW Labor’s Social Justice and Legal Affairs Committee and Deputy Chair of its Internal Appeals Tribunal. He has been a Labor member since 2010. Lewis has also held roles in federal, state and local election campaigns and within the trade union movement.

Board Member

Dr Shireen Morris

Dr Shireen Morris is a constitutional lawyer, Associate Professor and Director of the Radical Centre Reform Lab at Macquarie University Law School. She has spent the last 12 years working with Indigenous leaders like Noel Pearson, devising and advocating the concept of a constitutionally guaranteed First Nations Voice, the subject of her PhD thesis. Shireen was also a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School. Her research includes free speech, republicanism, and economic inequality. Shireen delivered the 2022 John Button Oration, making the case for radical centre economic reform in pursuit of true full employment. She has published extensively, releasing several books, scholarly articles and numerous opinion pieces, and regularly commentates in the media. Before becoming a constitutional lawyer, Shireen spent her 20s working as an actor and singer.

Board Member

Kos Samaras

Kos Samaras is a Director of one of Australia’s leading research and polling companies. He specialises in compiling and interpreting research, statistical data and polling to provide a unique insight into the cause and effects of social and political issues impacting communities across Australia. Between 2005 and 2019, he served as Victorian Labor’s deputy campaign director, working on 4 state and federal elections and numerous by-elections. He was a critical member of Victorian Labor’s campaign team that secured victories for Dan Andrews in 2014 and 2018.

Board Member

Sebastian Zwalf

Sebastian Zwalf brings a range of political, policy and campaign experience to the Board. He was formerly Assistant National Secretary and International Secretary of the Australian Labor Party and Convenor of the International Progressive Campaign Forum. As ALP Assistant National Secretary he oversaw significant social research and media budgets. He was formerly an economist at Deloitte Access Economics providing advice to government and private sector clients on public policy matters. He currently serves in a senior government relations role with a major government-owned infrastructure provider. Sebastian holds degrees in economics and public policy and management and is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the intersection of public policy and politics and their interrelationship with Public-Private Partnerships. He has authored half a dozen scholarly publications  in national and international journals which have been cited in books, submissions to parliamentary inquiries and other academic publications.   

Immediate Past Chair

Dr Henry Pinskier

Henry is a medical doctor by training who now works in a business capacity in the private sector across both health and technology, including listed and unlisted companies. He currently chairs two technology companies and a medical services business. He has previously been a Director of the Alfred Hospital, The Victorian Managed Insurance Authority and Yarra Valley Water. He has also been a member of not-for-profit boards in the past including The Disability Housing Trust and Melbourne Youth Music. He is a past Williamson Community Leadership Fellow and was a member and Chair of the Victorian ALP Health and Community Services Policy Committee, a member of the ALP’s National Policy Committee and a former Vice President of the Victorian Branch of the ALP. He has also been a State Conference and National Conference delegate over many years. He is the son of migrants who survived the Second World War and who were able to migrate to Australia in 1950. Henry went through the public school system and won the Australian History prize at Melbourne High School.

Board

Sam Almaliki (Chair

Fletcher Adam

Priya Brown

Gerard Dwyer
Lewis Hamilton

Jenny Hill
Dr Shireen Morris

Kosmos Samaras
Stacey Schinnerl

Sebastian Zwalf

Dr Henry Pinskier (immediate past chair)

Advisory Council

Professor the Hon Geoff Gallop AC | Former Western Australian Premier (Co-Chair)

Hon Morris Iemma | Former NSW Labor Premier

Hon Kim Carr | Former Labor Senator
Hon Stephen Conroy| Former Labor Senator

Dr Mike Kelly AM | Former Labor MP
Senator Deborah O’Neil

Hon Peter Khalil MP

Hon Daniel Mulino MP

Michael Easson AM | Former Secretary NSW Labor Council

Geoff Fary | Former Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions
David Cragg | Former Assistant Secretary, Victorian Trades Hall

Josh Peak |Secretary, SDA South Australia & Northern Territory

Helen Cooney (SDA)

Adam Slonim | Former JCRC Secretary and Adjunct Fellow, Victoria University

Ari Suss | Linfox Advisory

Lord Maurice Glasman | UK Labour Party
Jon Cruddas MP | UK Labour Party

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