WEL Australia - National Co-ordinating Committee 2023-2024

Kay Anastassiadis
Member, SA, National Coordinating Committee

Kay has worked in the State public health sector for over 40 years in the areas of nursing, policy and legislation.  In her role as a public servant, Kay has supported and facilitated SA consultations on the first National Women's Health Policy and Strategy, worked on the implementation of the policy and strategy in SA, including wider birthing service options, the implementation of the national program for the elimination of FGM as well as other key areas of women's health, mental health, multicultural health, among others. 

With growing social, political and economic inequality in Australia and internationally, Kay is concerned about the fact that we have failed to effectively address problematic issues that continue to adversely affect women's lives, their wellbeing and social status such as domestic and family violence, access to affordable and acceptable housing, the continuing responsibility for the care of others, access to affordable childcare, income inequality, the capacity to choose to become a mother and be a parent in a society that does not see reproduction as a social benefit and necessity. 

A union member, Kay holds great concern for the state of human and indigenous people's rights, democracy. the state of the environment, the need to prevent and mitigate biodiversity loss, and effectively deal with the existential threat posed by the climate change crisis. These issues affect women and other disadvantaged groups disproportionately and threaten to reverse the advances that have been achieved socially and politically as evidenced by, for example, changes to abortion laws in both the US and elsewhere. Kay is active in a number of ways to try to advance better social outcomes and equality for everyone. Chair of Open Space Contemporary Arts (OSCA) as well as a member of other community boards. Kay campaigned for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and supports others in their work to advance a fair and just world.   


Dr Jane Bullen 
Member, NSW, National Coordinating Committee

Jane’s background includes research, evaluation, policy and program work in academic, government and non-government contexts. Her primary areas of focus include homelessness, in particular women’s homelessness, domestic violence and disability. Jane joined the WEL NSW Executive in 2015, continuing her past work in feminist and other organisations to promote women’s human rights, increase fairness and reduce inequality and disadvantage. She has led WEL NSW’s work on women’s housing and homelessness. Most recently she was Deputy Convenor of WEL NSW.



Kerry Burton (Public Officer)


Menaka Iyengar Cooke
Member, NSW, National Coordinating Committee

Menaka had a long career in Human Resources before retiring as HR Director.  Her experiences in Change management included programs for pay equity and equal employment opportunity. In retirement she found her passion in intersectional feminism and advocating for victims of Domestic Violence

In 2021, she received the Prof. Shirley Randall -WCEI Australia Award for social contribution and The International Alliance of Women & Women Chiefs of Enterprises International World of Difference Award, in 2022.

She published her memoir ‘Monsoon Woman’ in 2018 outlining her experiences as a migrant single parent in the early 1970s, who educated herself (getting two Masters degrees) and got to the C-Suite.  She is also a newsreader on Radio2RPH and podcaster of  the ‘Colours of Australia’ program.

Michelle Cook (Clr)

Member, National Coordinating Committee

Thank you (WEL and supporters) for the hard work, and the efforts of many amazing women, who have gone before me to make this possible.

As Covid brought many pivots in our lives, for me Covid saw me move to Regional NSW with my partner. But it also gave me the gift of time. I realised I could make a difference. I could be the change I wanted to see.

And so, in December 2021, I put my hand up for the Local Government elections. I have a seat at the table of Local Government, and being an older woman, I am seen advocating for and representing on issues, all of which are part of your Policy Platforms for WEL - The Housing Crisis, Family and Domestic Violence and Women’s Electoral Representation.

In this year alone, I have been a part of a number of important conferences, events for advocacy including: Aging in a Housing crisis Delegation to Canberra for Homeless week 2023 with HAAG (Housing for the Aged Action Group), NSW Senate Inquiry for Rent Bidding, Consultation with DSS on the housing and homelessness plan, Consultation for Homes NSW for Housing and Domestic Violence, Forums for Trauma Informed Care & DV, The QLD and Victorian Housing Conferences, Regional and Rural Forums, Local Government Conferences including ALGWA, Pathways to Politics Alumni.

I have a Bachelor of Business, Accounting and studied an MBA. This year I have also completed the Executive Certificate in governance for elected members and the Community Directors Course. Tick the education box. My working life started at Qantas Airways. Flight operations is quite a job for someone so young (then) and 1 of about 8 women in Australia, briefing pilots from around the world. In the last 20 years I worked in management accounting and consulting.Background skills and knowledge ticked.

So that just leaves my passion. I want to shine a spotlight. Ignite discussion. Ask questions. Get results. Achieve outcomes. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities. Remember Einstein’s definition of Insanity, doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results. I hope that if I am elected to your National Coordinating Committee, and work with you on these important issues.  

Josefa Green
Member, NSW, National Coordinating Committee

Josefa began as a WEL activist in the 1970’s, involved particularly in equal pay and abortion rights campaigns – issues that still need addressing! She has been on the WEL NSW Executive since 2005. She worked for many years in policy and management areas of the Federal Public Service, including the Special Broadcasting Service, and subsequently as a management consultant working in the areas of planning and organisational change. She has a BA (History Hons), an MBA and a Graduate Diploma in Asian Art.

Claudia Haenel (Clr)
Member, VIC, National Coordinating Committee
Claudia is a Local Government Councillor in Horsham, Victoria. She has been involved in media and small business all her working life. She advocates for women, gender parity and awareness against domestic and family violence, housing, childcare, and a sustainable future for all Australians.

In 2022 Claudia stood for Federal election as an Independent candidate. She is on the Municipal Association of Victoria Professional Development Group, The Western Highway Action Committee and The Rail Freight Alliance. Claudia is a member of the Victorian Local Governance Association and Australian Local Government Women’s Association Victoria branch. In 2023 she created and founded Rural Care Week. She has a BA in Fine Art & Visual Culture and is currently completing her Master of Business Administration, studying policy making, economics, globalisation, leadership and action on climate change.

Philippa Hall
Member, NSW, National Coordinating Committee

Philippa has been an executive member for several years and was formerly the WEL NSW Convenor for 4 years. Philippa worked in various areas of State and Federal Government, and in New Zealand, on women's employment and human rights issues. Pay equity for women is a long standing commitment and area of work. Philippa has contributed to various non-government organisations working on improvements for women, especially in employment. Philippa holds post-graduate qualifications in Arts, Commerce, and Information Management.

Dr Mary O'Sullivan
Member, National Coordinating Committee

Mary has worked in a range of communications, policy advisory, program management and teaching roles. She has served as an elected Councillor. Mary has a long record of activism on behalf of women in the context of trade unions, and in many other political and policy contexts. Her interests range from public education, women in work, through to reproductive health and the role and status of women in Australian politics, culture and society. Since 2013 Mary has led preparation of many WEL submissions and managed  campaigns, together with WEL allies. Most recently she was Convenor of WEL NSW.

Deb Poulton (Treasurer)
Treasurer, ACT, National Coordinating Committee

Deborah Poulton has been involved with the Women's Electoral Lobby Australia, as a member of the National Coordinating Committee and Treasurer for over 20 years.

Deborah is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered accountants Australia and New Zealand, and was a partner of Bellchambers Barrett until retiring in December 2022.  

Deborah has worked in accountancy and tax agent sector for over 40 years. A Chartered Accountant since April 1983. Fellow since February 2013.  She has worked for Ernst & Young and predecessor firms for over 20 years before going into private practise in 2000.

On the Board of Directors for the Kairos Prison Ministry Australia, Deborah is also the organisation's COO and has been involved in the ministry for the past 16 years. 
Deborah is currently the Chair of the Catholic Development fund for the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn and was formally involved with Lions for over 20 years.  

Lorraine Slade 

Lorraine has been a member of WEL since 1986 and has served on the WEL NSW Executive for a number of years since 2006. She has also volunteered in the WEL office during that time. Lorraine is strongly committed to the WEL vision of a society ‘where women’s participation and their ability to fulfil their potential are unrestricted, acknowledged and respected, and where women and men share equally in society’s responsibilities and rewards.

Jozefa Sobski AM (Convenor)
Convenor, National Coordinating Committee

Jozefa has been active in feminist, women’s and community organisations for many years. She started her activism in Sydney Women’s Liberation in the 1970’s. She was the Chair of the Board of Jessie Street National Women’s Library for 17 years and is Vice President of the Haberfield Association.

Jozefa was Convenor of WEL NSW for three years to 2016 and for a period from 2006-2010. She was Convenor of WEL Australia from 2018-2019 and Convenor again from 2021 to the present. She was a member of the Board of Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia for ten years and an inaugural member of the NSW Women in Education group and the Australian Women’s Education Coalition.

Jozefa has a Masters in Adult Education. She worked in the NSW Ministry of Education as a policy adviser on sexism and in TAFE in policy administration, as a Principal of a College and Director of South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE and for three years Deputy Director-General of NSW Education. She retired from paid employment in 2003. She is a member of the National Foundation of Australian Women, Immigrant Women’s SpeakOut Association, the Full Stop Foundation and Emily’s List.

Priscilla Todd (Secretary)
Secretary, VIC, National Coordinating Committee

Priscilla joined WEL VIC in 1975, and served as Secretary from 1978-1981. Priscilla held a position on the WEL National Committee from 1980 to 2018.

WEL admitted as an affiliate member of International Alliance of Women (IAW) in 1982. Priscilla served on the board from 1992, as Secretary-General from 1992-2002, and Journal Editor 2002-2023. WEL hosted in Melbourne 1989 IAW Congress (with League of Women Voters) and 2012 International/Board (with LWVV and Union of Australian Women). Priscilla attended annual meetings with Pat Giles (WELWA) Board, President 1996-2004, Pat Richardson (WELNSW) Board, Membership 1996-2018 and Pat Goble (LWVV).

In 1963, Priscilla created Todd Secretariat managing temp and permanent jobs for women; lobbied clients on career paths and jobs for older women. Priscilla is currently minute writer with two associates.

In 1994 Priscilla was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to women, especially through Women’s Electoral Lobby.