Board of Directors

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Bruce Duncan is a priest of the Redemptorist order, who has long advocated setting up an ecumenical network formally independent of the churches but drawing from their rich social traditions to raise an informed Christian voice in policy debates. He studied economics and politics at the University of Sydney, completing his doctorate in political science in 1987. He has lectured in history and social ethics at Yarra Theological Union at Box Hill in Melbourne since 1986. Some of his writing and talks are posted on his homepage at


Jamie PearceJamie Pearce is principal of the consulting firm Corporate Reflection & Decision Associates, which focuses on the way people make decisions in organisations. He was chair of the accreditation committee which set up the MBA course at RMIT University, and is a member of the course accreditation committee for the PhD in Organisation Behaviour at Swinburne University. Jamie is a member of the Council of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.


Peter WhitingPeter Whiting (President). After nearly 30 years in corporate life, filling a diverse range of general management roles, Peter now works part-time as a consultant in business management, leaving time for involvement with a number of community endeavours. Apart from Social Policy Connections, Peter’s main community involvement is on the Board of the Stride Foundation (youth wellbeing).



tony french cropped 342Tony French introduces himself as “an economic refugee from New Zealand, lured here by the bright lights and the promise of spectacular consumerism. Upon examination, the bright lights disappointingly turned out to be the Chadstone Shopping Centre, and my consumerism less than spectacular. A brighter light, however, beckoned – one that led me to theological studies at UFT, and a commitment to social justice issues. And now, an invitation to join the Board of SPC. Here, I hope my skills as a lawyer will be of use, albeit, I confess, those of a specialist in the very material world of complex wills and estates, and property development. In mitigation, I mention that I have been a volunteer lawyer to real refugees, and have worked with a St Vincent de Paul group. Currently, my penance is juggling commitments to work and family with post-graduate study at YTU”.


Brendan Byrne. The SPC Board is delighted to welcome Rev Brendan Byrne as our latest member.
Brendan worked in the finance industry, but grew concerned about ethical issues in business and industrial relations, and became a trade union official in the furnishing trades industry, and later in the financial (insurance and non-banking) industry. In his late thirties, Brendan became a member of the Uniting Church in Australia. After study at the United Faculty of Theology and the Uniting Church Theological College, both Brendan and his (now) wife Sandy were later ordained into the ministry. Brendan is currently ministering at Mountview Uniting Church in Mitcham, and Sandy in the Uniting Church Banyule Network. Brendan and Sandy have a two-year-old daughter, Sophia.



Danusia Kaska worked as a forensic scientist for 14 years and during holidays in the last ten years volunteered in Thailand and Africa in orphanages. She has been an energetic member of St Vincent de Paul Society since a teenager, and helped set up Vinnies in the West. She has had many roles in the Society, and has represented it at overseas conferences. After 20 years as a volunteer, she began work for the National Council of St VdeP on overseas development, and more recently as State membership manager in Tasmania for two years. She is now soup vans operation manager for Victoria.


Chris mulherinChris Mulherin is an Anglican minister completing a doctorate at the University of Divinity on the relationship between science and faith. Chris is an ex-engineer, ex-missionary and teaches in various tertiary institutions in areas ranging from climate change and history of science to philosophy. He is married to Lindy and they have various boys, mostly young adults. The family lived for 13 years in Argentina where Chris worked with university students and ran an Anglican church. Chris also works part time for ISCAST—Christians in science, promoting the conversation about science and faith.


Jenny BegentMajor Jenny Begent has been a Salvation Army officer for 28 years, serving in leadership positions in Western Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria. Her main areas of expertise are in homelessness, housing, and family violence. Her interest in family violence is primarily focused on its effects on the family as a unit, and the subsequent challenge for the wider community. Her interests are in social policy, and ensuring that policy reflects the changes required by those experiencing poverty and harm. She currently provides oversight to Community & Social Services within the greater Melbourne area.


Michael.WalterMichael Walter has volunteered and worked for the Salesians, the Passionists, Melbourne Legacy and Yooralla, and currently works for the St Vincent de Paul Society (where he has volunteered since he was 17). The common theme among all these experiences has been solidarity with people society leaves behind. Trained as a high school teacher he wishes to motivate and enthuse other young people to challenge and make their patch a better place. For more see

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