Tenants' Union board and staff
Tenants' Union board and staff
Julia Davis (Chair)
Julia joined the Tenants' Union 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.
Scott Hawkins (Vice Chair)
Scott is currently the Manager of the Aboriginal Services Branch at Legal Aid NSW. A position he has occupied for over 11 years. A Ngemba man from Bourke, he has worked in both the government and non-government sectors regarding Aboriginal people’s involvement in the legal system for 30 years. Having studied law at the University of Sydney and also spending time with the Real Estate Investigations Unit (Tenancy Team) at NSW Fair Trading, he is driven and committed to protecting the social rights of the most vulnerable members of the community.
Aideen McGarrigle (Secretary)
Aideen joined the Tenants' Union 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.
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.
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.
Jane joined the board of the Tenants’ Union in 2019. Jane currently works in the government grants team at Lifeline Australia. She has experience in the fields of philanthropy, education, industrial relations and managing a small not-for-profit organisation. In her previous role at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Jane learned about the challenges that face renters in a range of settings, which fired her passion for justice for tenants in NSW.
Brendon joined the Tenants' Union Board in 2019. Brendon currently works in Human Resources in the Media industry and has a Masters of HR Management & Industrial Relations and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney. Brendon is a firm believer in promoting fairness and equality for renters and tenants as well as supporting those at risk in all aspects of society, having volunteered with Lifeline and UnLtd in various capacities.
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 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.
Leo Patterson Ross – Chief Executive Officer
Leo has worked in housing justice and community development for nearly 15 years. He has spent more than a decade assisting renters, their advocates and the broader public understand and navigate the housing system. He has a strong media profile speaking to the experience of renters in NSW.
Anne Coates – Administration Officer
Anne joined the Tenants' Union 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 – 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.
Tina Huang – Administration Assistant
Tina started at the Tenants Union in 2018 as a volunteer on the advice line. Since then, she has worked in a variety of advocacy roles in the tenancy and disability sector. Tina is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts (Gender Studies) / Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney. Tina is very passionate about the rights of tenants.
Grant Arbuthnot – Principal Legal Officer
Grant worked for the Tenants' Union 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.
Lehana De Silva – Solicitor – Aboriginal Support
Lehana has a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) from the University of Sydney and a Juris Doctor of Law from the University of Technology, Sydney. Before joining the Tenants' Union, Lehana worked as a solicitor for a Supply Nation certified legal and consulting firm and as a paralegal for a national not-for-profit organisation.
Daen Thomas Phillips – Aboriginal Paralegal
Daen is a proud Gamilaroi and Yorta Yorta man. He is studying Law and Commerce at the University of New South Wales and hopes to learn skills to act and respond within the community to make a real change. Preceding his role at the Tenants' Union of NSW, Daen gained experience as a paralegal at Herbert Smith Freehills and completed an internship with the Commonwealth Bank. Daen has broad experience as a volunteer for community organisations, including with a homelessness service and as mentor to high school students through the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience program.
Paul Smyth – Residential Parks Legal Officer
Paul Smyth joined the Tenants' Union 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 – Litigation Solicitor
Cass started at the Tenants' Union in 2013. She was previously a member of the Tenants' Union Board. She has a Master of Laws and a Bachelor of Law/Commerce from the University of NSW.
Jemima Mowbray – Policy and Advocacy Co-ordinator
Jemima joined the Tenants' Union 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.
Riley Brooke – Policy and Campaigns Officer
Riley has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, and is in the process of completing a Master of Human Rights. They have worked in the community legal sector in a variety of policy, communications and admin roles since finishing their undergraduate degree in 2015, and started work at the Tenants' Union in 2020. Riley has been renting in various share houses since they were 18, and is very passionate about defending the rights of renters.
Dr. Robert Mowbray – Project Officer – Older Renters
Robert’s involvement in tenancy extends over 40 years. He was the Tenants' Union'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 – Senior Resources and Projects Officer
Paul joined the Tenants' Union 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 – Learning and Development Coordinator
Patrycja has worked in a number of roles at the Tenants' Union since 2007. Patrycja is a deeply committed member of the Tenants' Union 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 – Strategic IT Officer
Anushke joined the Tenants' Union 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 (Hons.) in IT, an MS in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, and an MRes in Information Systems.
Jeremy Kerbel – Resource Development Officer
Jeremy started with the Tenants' Union 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.
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 Tenants' Union in 2014.