Tenants' Union board and staff



Charmaine Jones


Charmaine Jones (Chair)

Charmaine is the Executive Officer of Inner Sydney Voice. Charmaine has been involved, personally and professionally, with community development and tenant participation activities in the social housing arena for many years. Charmaine is a firm believer in affordable and accessible housing being a human right, not a privilege.


Julia Davis


Julia Davis (Vice Chair)

Julia joined the TU Board in 2014. Julia is a solicitor and policy officer at the Financial Rights Legal Centre. Julia has a Masters in Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics and a juris doctorate from the University of Florida. She is passionate about helping consumers and tenants in NSW.


Maree O'Halloran


Maree O'Halloran (Treasurer)

Maree joined the Board in 2017. She has a background in education, industrial relations and social security law and is currently a solicitor in private practice. Maree has qualifications in governance as well as education and law. Maree believes in systemic advocacy and wants to help change the legal system to improve rights for renters.


Aideen McGarrigle


Aideen McGarrigle (Secretary)

Aideen joined the TU Board in 2013. Aideen is the inhouse legal counsel for Legal Aid NSW as well as being responsible for developing the client eligibility policies for grants of legal aid. Aideen does a lot of work around legal ethics and is past member of the Law Society Ethics Committee. Aideen is particularly committed to assisting tenants and protecting tenant’s rights.


Donna Brotherson


Donna Brotherson

Donna joined the TU Board in 2014. Donna formerly coordinated the Illawarra/Southern Region Tenant Participation Resource Service and has a Bachelor in Social Sciences (Social Welfare) and a Graduate Certificate in Ethics and Legal Studies. Donna has a long involvement with Community Development and Engagement and strongly believes that everyone has a right to safe and affordable housing.


Nicole Grgas


Nicole Grgas

Nicole is the Coordinator of Hunter Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service and has worked in the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Network as a tenant advocate for over 15 years. Nicole has been a Member of the Board for 3 years. Nicole has a Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare Studies), a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education in Community Education and a Certificate IV Community Services Advocacy.


Dean Price

Dean Price

Dean is Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor at CHOICE. He is a proud renter who has extensive policy development, governance and strategic advocacy expertise in the area of disability, health and human rights, through roles at ACON (formerly the AIDS Council of NSW) and People with Disability Australia (PWDA). He has also volunteered as a board member of ACON, Shelter NSW and the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) and as a Consumer Advocate and MP Liaison Officer with the Cancer Council of NSW. His policy work has focussed on social justice policy areas relating to poverty, housing, adequate standard of living, voter access and LGBTI rights.


Lisa Smajlov

Lisa Smaljov

Lisa is a Community Development Coordinator at Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre with over 10 years of experience working in grassroots community projects. She has a Bachelor in Social Sciences and believes collaboration is key to building capacity and opportunities for social housing tenants. She's lived in social housing for 16 years was founding chair of the Inner West Tenant Group, member of Housing & Tenant Liaison Group, Domestic Violence NSW Policy Cttee, CADRE, ASU Exec SACS Cttee and The Australian College of Community & Disability Practitioners Board.




Julie Foreman


Julie Foreman – Executive Officer
Julie has worked in the areas of Human Rights, Community Education and Community Management for over 25 years. She has tertiary qualifications in the social sciences, adult and community education and community management.





Anne Coates


Anne Coates – Administration Officer
Anne joined the TU at the beginning of 2013. She has over a decade experience in administrative roles for not-for-profit organisations. Anne holds a Bachelor of Business and two Masters degrees. As a tenant herself, Anne is also a proud member of the TU.


Dylan Stanford


Dylan Stanford – Administration Assistant
Dylan has a Bachelor of Arts/Law from the University of Wollongong. Dylan has worked in the legal sector in a variety of paralegal and administrative roles prior to joining the Tenants' Union in 2015.




Grant Arbuthnot


Grant Arbuthnot – Principal Legal Officer
Grant worked for the TU for two years in the 1990s and rejoined in 2002. Grant has a Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University and a Diploma of Law from the Legal Practitioners Admissions Board of NSW. Previously, Grant has worked as a marine engineer, laboratory technician, registry clerk, tenants advocate and Tribunal legal officer.


John Mewburn


John Mewburn – Aboriginal Paralegal
John started at the TU in 2013. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts/Law at the University of NSW.



Paul Smyth


Paul Smyth – Residential Parks Legal Officer
Paul Smyth joined the TU in 2010. Paul previously worked in private legal practice for over ten years in both the Republic of Ireland and in NSW. Paul has a Master of Laws from Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland and Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the National University of Ireland, Galway.


Cass Wong


Cass Wong – Litigation Solicitor
Cass started at the TU in 2013. She was previously a member of the TU Board. She has a Master of Laws and a Bachelor of Law/Commerce from the University of NSW.





Leo Patterson Ross


Leo Patterson Ross – Senior Policy Officer
Leo has worked in housing justice and community development since graduating as a Social Worker in 2006. He has spent more than a decade assisting renters, their advocates and the broader public understand and navigate the NSW housing system.


Michael Darcy


Michael Darcy – Community Housing Project Officer
Michael commenced with the Tenants' Union in 2018 after a long career as an urban studies academic at Western Sydney University, where he published widely on issues affecting social housing tenants. Most recently he worked with a small NGO in Tanzania focussed on human rights concerns linked to mining such as land rights, displacement, environmental and gender issues.



Elizabeth De Freitas – Advocacy and Research Officer

Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for tenants. She has extensive experience, having worked for a number of community organisations over the last 16 years, always with a focus on tenancy, housing justice and human rights. She is skilled at empowering individual clients and has represented numerous tenants at the Tribunal. She is also an effective campaigner with expertise in law reform, policy development, and legal research.


Jemima Mowbray


Jemima Mowbray – Policy and Campaigns Officer
Jemima joined the TU in 2014. Working initially in the Residential Parks team, she moved to TU policy in 2016. She has extensive research experience in the university sector working on projects around politics of multiculturalism, community and identity. Jemima has a BA and PhD from Sydney University. She's passionate about housing justice, is a long term renter and imagines she'll be renting for life.


Robert Mowbray


Dr. Robert Mowbray – Older Persons Project Officer
Robert’s involvement in tenancy extends over 40 years. He was the TU's first Secretary in 1976 and awarded Life Membership in 1996. He received the Law & Justice Foundation Justice Medal in 2004. Robert is a social worker with two postgraduate qualifications in housing from the University of Sydney. He now has a focus on older renters.



Education and Resources

Paul van Reyk


Paul van Reyk – Senior Resources and Projects Officer
Paul joined the TU in 2014. Paul has been active in the housing and homelessness sectors in a range of jobs and as a private consultant for over 30 years. Paul has a Bachelor of Social Studies from the University of Sydney.


Patrycja Arvidssen


Patrycja Arvidssen – Learning and Development Coordinator
Patrycja has worked in a number of roles at the TU since 2007. Patrycja is a deeply committed member of the TU team who is passionate about adult education. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Slavic Philology as well as 40110 Cert IV in Training and Assessment.


Anushke Guneratne


Anushke Guneratne – Strategic IT Officer
Anushke joined the TU in 2015. He is a tenant with a young family. He has been involved in many non-profits in IT-related capacities in Sri Lanka and the United States. He currently holds a BSc in IT and an MS in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy.



Jeremy Kerbel


Jeremy Kerbel – Resource Development Officer
Jeremy started with the TU in 2013 and has worked in communications, research and campaigning in the non-profit sector for 15 years. He has a Bachelor of Communications (Hons) from the University of Technology Sydney, and a Diploma of Graphic Design from Enmore Design Centre. He's a tenant in the Blue Mountains.



Residential Parks

Julie Lee


Julie Lee – Residential Parks Officer
Julie has worked in the housing field in the UK and Australia for almost 30 years. In Australia Julie was a Tenant Advocate and coordinator of a Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service before she began specialising in residential parks work in 2011. Julie joined the TU in 2014.