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David is a consultant emergency physician, with a specialist interest in illicit drugs, and holds conjoint academic positions at the ANU and the University of Canberra.
A founding member of the Australian Medical Cannabis Observatory; the AMCO was created to establish the infrastructure and support systems that the industry will require.
Co-founder of Verdigris Medical Education, designer and collaborating partner of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Course, a data-driven course designed by health care practitioners, for health care practitioners interested in augmenting their knowledge of the evolving science behind medicinal cannabis:
David is an author of numerous publications, a researcher, educator, with specialties in Novel Illicit Compounds in the ED, Simulation, Medical Education, Innovation in the Emergency Department, Medical Response to Terrorism, Disaster Medicine.
David Heilpern was appointed as a Magistrate in 1998, and was at the time the youngest magistrate in Australia. He ‘retired’ in May 2020.
He sat in the criminal, mining, family, industrial, coronial and children’s jurisdictions of the Local Court, and was the Senior Civil Magistrate for five years.
During his time on the bench, David was the principal educator for new magistrates throughout Australia and the Pacific and made several important reported decisions on criminal, environmental and evidence law.
Prior to his appointment, David was a litigation lawyer on the North Coast where he co-founded the law school at Southern Cross University, rising to becoming the Acting Dean in 1996.
He maintained a litigation practice throughout this time, representing a wide range of defendants including high profile clients North East Forrest Alliance and several Local Councils.
During this time David graduated with a Masters in Law and was pronounced the Alumni of the Decade for the University in 2005.
David has written four published books, three of which have now had multiple editions, dozens of refereed journal articles, and is a prize-winning short story writer and poet.
David has a commitment to ensuring that medicinal cannabis is available safely and lawfully throughout Australia. In particular he is keen to see legislative change so that those who use medicinal cannabis do so without fear of criminal sanction.
An accomplished journalist, presenter and executive producer with over 20 years' experience, Helen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who directed, produced and appeared in a ground-breaking film on medical cannabis. The film was one of a handful of Australian documentaries chosen to be acquired by Netflix. It also appeared on SBS Television and was screened nationally to Australian audiences.
In 2015, Helen was appointed by the Victorian State Government to lead the Victorian Multicultural Commission, completing a four-year term as Chairperson. As the voice of Victoria's culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Helen led the Commission through its most dynamic era, receiving several awards during her time as commissioner.
More recently she was awarded the prestigious Vice Chancellor's Fellow for Multicultural Engagement at Swinburne University - a role created to provide expertise on contemporary multicultural issues and challenges.
She is also a fearless innovator, and during her time as commissioner, she established an Australian-first internship program with ABC Australia and a successful Victorian Film competition in partnership with leading Universities. Helen has also been called on to present at international forums on the role of community and media in counter-terrorism policy. She was the first Victorian commissioner to create a strategy with the private sector, to reduce unconscious bias and tackle systemic employment issues.
A respected national news broadcaster, she has extensive experience across several media organisations, and in her time as a presenter worked for all three Australian commercial networks and both public broadcasters.
Helen has published several national editorials on issues surrounding the challenges faced by minority communities, is a regular radio commentator and authored a book titled 'Proud to Belong' on everyday multiculturalism.
Helen is a captivating speaker, engaging audiences with her expertise in public policy development in diversity and inclusion, ethical leadership and self-empowerment.
Michael John (Mick) Palmer is a barrister and 33 year career police officer with extensive experience in police leadership and reform in community, national and international policing.
Having progressed through the ranks of the Northern Territory Police Service, he was appointed Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services agency in 1988 he was appointed Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in 1994. Mick held this position for 7 years until his retirement in March 2001.
In 1982 and 1983, Mick practiced as a barrister at law in Queensland during a five year break in his police service. Between 1997 and 2000 he was a member of the Executive Committee of Interpol having become the first Australian elected to the position. He was also the inaugural Deputy Chair of the National Council against Drugs (NCAD) a position he occupied until his retirement from policing in 2001.
Since retiring from policing in 2001, Mick has conducted a range of inquiries and reviews for the Australian Federal and State Governments, both within Australia and overseas.
In 2004/5 he conducted the Inquiry into the Circumstances of the Immigration Detention of Cornelia RAU and recently conducted an inquiry for the Tasmanian Government into conditions in the maximum security prison at Risdon in Hobart, Tasmania.
Between 2004 and 2012 he was the Federal Government’s Inspector of Transport Security, a position created after the 9/11 and Bali bombing terrorist incidents.
Mick is a recipient of the Australian Police Medal and in 1998 was admitted to the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in “advancing the professionalisation of policing through the introduction of far-reaching anti-corruption processes and management practice reform".
In 1999 the Board of Governors of Charles Sturt University conferred the award of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) for his contribution to advancing policing in Australia.
Mick is currently a spokesperson for the Ted Noffs Foundation’s Take control Campaign, for Safer, Saner Drug Laws, a Director Emeritus of Australia 21 and an Ambassador for SMART Recovery.
Richard Di Natale is a former Australian politician who served as a senator for Victoria. He was also the leader of the Australian Greens from 2015 to 2020.
Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a general practitioner and health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and in the drug and alcohol sector.
Richard acted as health spokesperson for the Greens in Victoria and in 2002 spoke about the Greens' support for harm reduction policies to manage illicit drug use.
He was a Greens' Senate candidate from 2004 and was elected to the Senate in the 2010 federal election. Upon taking up his seat in the Senate, he became the Greens' federal spokesperson for health, sport and multiculturalism. He was elected unopposed as parliamentary leader of the Greens party room on 6 May 2015 following the resignation of Christine Milne from the position.
Richard campaigned against the Future Fund's holdings in tobacco funds, a campaign that was ultimately successful with the Fund divesting the entirety of its tobacco holdings (approximately AUD $250 million) in 2012. He also helped establish Senate inquiries into a number of issues of public significance including budget cuts, medicinal cannabis, the emergence of "superbugs", hospital funding, air pollution, pharmaceutical transparency, sports science and gambling reform.
Richard continued with ongoing campaigns for improved human rigs in West Papua, timely access to cost-effective drugs through Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and science-based public health policies in e.g. wind farms and vaccination policy.
He was Chair of the Senate Select Committee into the Abbott Government 2014 federal budget cuts and Deputy Chair of the Senate Select Committee into health. He was the co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends for Drug Policy and Law Reform, the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua and the Parliamentary Friends of Medicine.
On 3 February 2020, Di Natale resigned as leader of the Greens and he resigned from the Senate on 26 August 2020. Richard continues his interest in, and commitment to, improving patient access to medicinal cannabis.
In northern NSW, Lismore Local Court Magistrate David Heilpern has just retired at the age of 58. In a candid conversation about his working life, its challenges and stresses, he also outlines his misgivings about the NSW drug driving laws which played a big role in his decision to step down.