Keynote Speakers

Maggie Dent

One of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators and "Queen of Common Sense".

Commonly known as the ‘queen of common sense’, Maggie Dent has become one of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators. She has a particular interest in the early years, adolescence and resilience, and is an undisputed 'boy champion'.

Maggie’s experience includes working for almost two decades as a secondary teacher  before moving into counselling, and working in the palliative care/funeral services and suicide prevention. Maggie is an advocate for the healthy, common-sense raising of children in order to strengthen families and communities. She is a passionate, positive voice for children of all ages.

Maggie is the author of nine major books, plus several other e-books and a prolific creator of resources for parents, adolescents, teachers, early childhood educators and others who are interested in quietly improving their lives. She is also host of the ABC podcast, Parental As Anything.

Maggie is the proud mother of four wonderful sons, and an enthusiastic and grateful grandmother.

Professor Linda Harrison

Professorial Research Fellow in Early Childhood, Macquarie University, Sydney and Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood Education, Charles Sturt University, NSW

Linda is one of Australia’s best known early childhood researchers, whose work includes the 2021 Update of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF) and My Time Our Place: Framework for School-age Care (MTOP). Linda’s record includes the initial development of the EYLF, the design of the child care components of Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, and many collaborative research projects with government departments and early childhood education and care organisations, including with Family Day Care Australia. Linda will present a keynote address and is a co-presenter in two workshops.

Linda has a special connection with family day care, having worked as a Child Development Officer (CDO) for four years, where she learned to value the individuality of family day care educators, the diverse strengths they bring to their work with children and their support for families, and the close, lasting relationships they form with families and children.

Much of Linda’s research and writing focuses on very young children’s experiences in early education and care settings. She has a particular interest in educator-child interactions and how supportive relationships encourage and promote a sense of belonging. She provides insights and advice on ways to support young children during difficult times in her recent publication, Transitions in children’s everyday lives, an Early Childhood Australia booklet for educators and families.

Nova Peris

Nova Peris OAM

Nova Peris OAM is an Olympic Gold Medalist, a Commonwealth Champion and the first Aboriginal woman elected to Federal Parliament.

With an astonishing sporting career representing Australia across the globe in two different sports, Peris was a key component of both the Australian Women's field hockey team and the Australian Track & Field team.

In the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Peris became the first Aboriginal person and first Northern Territorian to win an Olympic Gold Medal playing for the Hockeyroos that defeated South Korea 3-1.

Transitioning her hockey career to sprinting, Peris competed in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur winning 2 more gold medals in the 200m & 4x100 relay, making her the only person to win Olympic and Commonwealth Gold in different sports! Nova went on to make the Track and Field Team for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and was the first of 10,000 Olympic flame torchbearer's at the iconic Uluru, where she ran barefoot with the flame. Nova competed in the individual 400m making the semi finals and the 4x400m relay that finished 4th in the final. Nova is the only person on the planet to make back-to-back Summer Olympic Games finals, consecutive Olympics in different sports!

Following a successful athletic career, Nova then became the first Aboriginal woman to sit in the Federal Parliament as Senator for the Northern Territory.

During her time in Parliament, Peris served in multiple Senate Committees, including the Education and Employment References Committee, Finance and Public Administration Legislation and References Committees and the Senate Community Affairs Legislation and References Committees. She was also madam acting deputy president of the Senate.

Nova has now started her own charity, the Nova Peris Foundation and recently had her bronze statue unveiled in Federation Square, Melbourne.

Not only will Nova join the conference as a Keynote Speaker, she will also be the Master of Ceremonies for the Gala Dinner.

Leanne McLean - Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tasmania

Leanne McLean - , Tasmania Commissioner for Children and Young People

We are pleased to be welcoming Leanne McLean, Commissioner for Children and Young People, Tasmania, as a speaker at the FDCA 2022 National Conference

Leanne is a Tasmanian from the deep south of the state. She was appointed Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People in November 2018. Her role is to promote the rights and wellbeing of Tasmanian children and young people - including ensuring that their rights are considered and respected by adults when making decisions that may affect children.

Leanne has a wealth of experience as a leader in social policy development, including working at the coal face with young people and in senior public service and government advisory roles. As Commissioner, her work to date includes instigating the Tasmanian Government’s forthcoming strategy to improve the wellbeing of Tasmania’s children and young people, establishing mechanisms for children and young people to have a say in matters that are impacting on them, working with young Tasmanians across the state to influence the development, implementation and communication of policies which affect them, and empowering them to shape their own future.

Leanne is passionate about providing a voice for children and young people, believes strongly in the transformative power of education and early intervention, and the value of every young person in shaping the future of Tasmania.

*Images in banner courtesy of Alastair Bett (1 and 3) and Stuart Gibson (2).

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