Oxfam staff are able to provide expert comment or background briefings to media on a number of specialist topics. This ranges from country-specific comment to more generic issues relating to our work in areas such as labour rights, impacts of climate change and humanitarian disaster response.
Media wishing to speak to any of the Oxfam spokespeople profiled below, or with an enquiry on a topic related to our work not listed, should contact the Oxfam media team in the first instance.
Our spokespeople on the issues
- Chief Executive — Dr Helen Szoke
- Labour rights, food crisis, trade — Kelly Dent
- Emergency response — Meg Quartermaine
- Fair trade, Oxfam shop — Julia Sumner
- Fundraising, Events — Jez Hunghanfoo
- Southern Africa — Andrew Hartwich
- South Asia — Stuart Highton
- Corporate responsibility — Serena Lillywhite
- Mekong development, Asian Development Bank — Michael Simon
Dr Helen Szoke
Dr Helen Szoke is a human rights advocate who has worked for many years to stop race discrimination in Australia and who is passionate and vocal about women’s rights and gender equality here in Australia and around the world.
Helen commenced as Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia in January 2013. Prior to this appointment, she served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, following seven years as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner.
Helen is currently an appointed member of the C20 advisory group, which advises the Australian Government on civil society engagement with the G20 and Co-Chair of Make Poverty History. She is both an Executive Committee member of the Australian Council For International Development (ACFID) and the ACFID Humanitarian Reference Group (HRG) Champion, representing the work of the HRG which provides a mechanism for Australian agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance work to share information, strengthen coordination, and drive policy dialogue and development for the improvement of humanitarian relief work. Helen is also a member of the Deakin University Master of International and Community Development Advisory Board and also sits on the Executive Board of Oxfam International.
In 2011, Helen was awarded the ‘Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Award’ for her contribution to human rights. In 2014 she received the ‘University of Melbourne Alumni Award’ for leadership. Helen has extensive experience in management, community development, organisational development, consumer advocacy and regulation in the education and health sectors. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a fellow of the Institute of Public Administration.
Kelly leads our Economic Justice team working on agriculture and sustainable livelihoods, climate change, trade and investment, and labour rights.
Kelly has worked with rural communities on trade, labour and women’s rights, and in organisations including the Clean Clothes Campaign, the Australian Services Union, and Transnationals Information Exchange. She has written a number of articles and chapters on labour rights and corporate codes of conduct, and worked in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and the Netherlands.
Meg Quartermaine | Humanitarian Manager
Areas of expertise: Emergency response
Meg is the Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam Australia and oversees our emergency responses.
She has worked in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and development for more than 14 years and has held technical, coordination and operational roles. Meg has worked in both conflict and disaster responses throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific.Meg holds a Master in Public Health and is a sessional lecturer in international and refugee health through Monash University.
Julia Sumner is the General Manager of Oxfam Australia Trading, a subsidiary company of Oxfam Australia, and as such manages Oxfam’s 11 shops across Australia, its online shop and the wholesale channel selling our Oxfam fair products to supermarkets across Australia.
Oxfam Australia Trading is one of Australia’s oldest and preeminent ethical retailers who deal on a fair trade basis with over 100 organisations in 40 countries around the world, including Australia. Julia started in this role in September 2011, after having spent 18 months working in various roles in Oxfam Australia including Executive Manager and Acting Director of Operations. Before joining Oxfam Australia, Julia worked for the South Australian Government for 6 years. Julia holds an MBA from the University of South Australia, where she focussed her studies on Corporate Social and Sustainable Strategy.
Jez joined Oxfam in 2008 and has held leadership positions in marketing, fundraising and communications teams. He has worked closely on many of Oxfam’s fundraising and engagement campaigns, with particular focus on Oxfam Unwrapped, Oxfam Trailwalker, emergency appeals, and engaging with corporate partners and major donors. Jez regularly speaks at public and donor events on behalf of Oxfam around Australia, has extensive relationships with Oxfam’s significant base of volunteers, and also works closely with senior Oxfam leaders in Australia and internationally.
Andrew Hartwich | Southern Africa Regional Manager
Areas of expertise: HIV and AIDS, Southern Africa
Andrew is our expert on HIV and AIDS in developing countries and our work in Southern Africa.
Andrew joined Oxfam Australia in 2003 and has spent most of his career in aid and development, specialising in the HIV sector with a particular focus on home-based and community care, harm reduction and sex worker rights. Andrew has worked in these areas in Australia, Cambodia and India.
Stuart Highton| South Asia Regional Manager
Stuart manages our programs in South Asia, including Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Before joining Oxfam Australia in 2008, Stuart worked for 9 years as a Country Director with Concern Worldwide in Laos and Zambia where he developed an expertise in livelihoods, HIV&AIDS and Disaster Risk Reduction programming. Previously he had worked in a variety of development and humanitarian positions with different agencies in countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Stuart started his relief and development career as a volunteer in Sri Lanka where he went on to work as ICRC protection officer and then relief Coordinator with Oxfam GB. In Africa he worked on emergency programmes in Liberia with Medecins Sans Frontiers and he also did a stint as the Country representative of Children’s Aid Direct in Haiti in the mid 1990s.
Serena Lillywhite is the Mining Advocacy Coordinator with Oxfam Australia. She is an active corporate responsibility practitioner, researcher and advocate. She has extensive expertise and experience in labour rights, supply chain management and business and human rights. Serena is Australia’s leading expert in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. She is a regular speaker at the OECD, UN and ILO, and other international CSR platforms. Serena works regularly with the business community to foster dialogue and multistakeholder approaches to responsible business conduct. Serena holds a Masters in International Business from the University of Melbourne. She has lived and worked in China, and as a member of the OECD Watch network and Coordinating Committee, has delivered training and capacity building in Ghana (extractive sector), India (garment sector) and Thailand (business and human rights).
Michael Simon | Advocacy Coordinator, People, Infrastructure and Environment Program
Areas of expertise: Impact of large-scale development projects such as dams and roads on communities in the Mekong region, the workings of the Asian Development Bank and the importance of healthy rivers and fisheries for livelihoods
Michael leads our advocacy program in the Mekong region supporting the rights of communities affected by large-scale infrastructure projects. He also represents Oxfam International in the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Forum.
Since joining Oxfam Australia in 1996, Michael has led high-level representation to governments, multilateral organisations and business. He has extensive field experience, having worked in South Asia, East Asia, South America, Africa, the United States and Europe.
Our spokespeople in country
Our media team can put you in touch with expert spokespeople from these countries:
- Bangladesh – Disaster management, women’s rights, Indigenous people’s rights, climate change adaptation work
- Cambodia – Sustainable livelihoods, access to social services
- China – Community health, livelihoods
- Fiji – Peace building, natural resource exploitation
- India – Reducing inequality for women, natural resource management, disaster management
- Laos – Sustainable livelihoods, education
- Malawi – Sustainable livelihoods, HIV and AIDS
- Mozambique – Sustainable livelihoods, food security, HIV and AIDS
- Papua New Guinea – HIV and AIDS, natural resource exploitation
- Solomon Islands – rebuilding after 2007 tsunami, food and livelihood security, gender and domestic violence, sustainable resource development, HIV and AIDS
- South Africa – HIV and AIDS, gender equality, food security
- Sri Lanka – Sustainable livelihoods, gender equality
- Timor-Leste – Sustainable livelihoods, agriculture, access to basic services, safety from conflict and disaster
- Vanuatu – youth education, health, HIV and AIDS
- Vietnam – Disaster management, clean water and sanitation, anti-trafficking
- Zimbabwe – HIV and AIDS, food security