Speakers & Bios


Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Services

SenatorConcetta Fierravanti-Wells was born in Wollongong, New South Wales, the daughter of Italian migrants.

After completing her primary and secondary education in Wollongong, she attended the Australian National University in Canberra.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and European Languages in 1980 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1982.  For 20 years, Concetta was primarily a lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS).  During that time she acted for many Government Departments and statutory authorities.  Whilst at the AGS, she had various secondments to other positions including three years as a policy advisor to the Federal Opposition in the early 1990s and a period as Senior Private Secretary to former Premier John Fahey.

In particular, she represented the Australian-Italian community at an international level through the General Council of Italians Abroad (CGIE) and on the General Committee of Italians Abroad (Com.It.Es.) both in the ACT and in NSW.  In 1995 at the age of 35, she was recognised for her work by the Italian Government when she was made a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.  Concetta was also appointed as Ministerial Adviser to the Global Diversity Conference in 1995 and served as a member of the Multicultural Advisory Committee for SOCOG, Australia’s coordinating body for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  Over the years, Concetta has also participated in a number of other organisations.  At age 23, she commenced her community activities as a founding board director of a nursing home in Wollongong.  She was also involved with organisations such as Zonta International and fundraising activities with Red Cross and Co.As.It. (Italian Association of Assistance).  She also served for four years on the Board of Father Chris Riley’s Youth off the Streets, including two years as its Chairman.

Concetta became a Senator on 5 May 2005, filling a casual vacancy and located her electorate office to Wollongong.  Following the 2010 election, Concetta was appointed Shadow Minister for Mental Health.  She also retained her role as Shadow Minister for Ageing.  After the 2013 Federal election, Concetta was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, with special responsibility for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services.

Stuart Biggs

IT Infrastructure Specialist

Raised by a federal economist and a teacher/nurse, Stuart grew up in Belgium,  Germany and Australia. He studied software engineering and economics at the University of Canberra. He has a keen interest in human psychology and sociology,  and ran in the last local Canberra election as a local representative of Pirate Party Australia.
Stuart is currently employed as an IT infrastructure specialist in a local IT company, servicing federal and local government, as well as small to medium businesses in the region.
He volunteer at the National Folk Festival, and has done so for the last 19 years. His interests include information management and processing, systems analysis, human rights advocacy,  economics, and fine whisky.

Rod Cowan


Rod Cowan has contributed for over 25 years to the broader security debate on a number of levels through his writing, lecturing, speaking at industry conferences and public events, as well as having input to various Government investigations and corporate research.

In recent years through Edith Cowan University, his research focus has been on social media and open source risk, along with illicit trade, and he has conducted workshops for and consulted with law enforcement, government entities and corporations in Australia, Middle East and the EU on how digital communications and social media, although providing many benefits, also represents serious threats to governments, business, communities and individuals, from attacks on reputations to inadvertent leaking of information. An evangelist for security-minded communications, Cowan argues, criminal and terrorist operatives excel at exploiting the potential of open source intelligence, while law enforcement, intelligence agencies and security organisations have fallen far behind in making use of the same — often free — resources, as well as understanding and mitigating the risks.

Cowan is also currently working on countering violent extremism through social media and working with Muslim communities in developing social media anti-radicalisation training to present counter narratives through credible voices in the community.

Cowan is the Director and Executive Producer for the Security is Your Business videos and Editor-at-large for the specialist publication, Security Solutions magazine. Cowan has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, the Bulletin magazine, appeared on national television and radio, and has received two industry awards for excellence for his journalism in the security industry. A founding director of the Australian Security Medals Foundation Inc., Cowan is currently the Board’s Director of Philanthropy.



ISACA doyle

As an independent, nonprofit, global association, ISACA engages in the development, adoption and use of globally accepted, industry-leading knowledge and practices for information systems. Previously known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, ISACA now goes by its acronym only, to reflect the broad range of IT governance professionals it serves.

Stephen is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and a Professional Member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (PMIIA), and is Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT).  He is an active member of ISACA, with past contributions as Canberra Chapter President, expert reviewer and member of the international volunteer bodies—CGEIT Certification Committee, Leadership Development Committee.  He is currently the Oceania representative on ISACA’s Chapter Support Committee.

Stephen works as an Audit Director for the Commonwealth Government.  He has over 20 years’ experience in IT assurance, security and advisory roles, which commenced when he joined Ernst & Young as an IT Auditor in 1991.  His areas of expertise include internal and IT audit, business continuity management, electronic records management, data management and IT governance. He recently undertook an internal audit of social media in his department.

David Harding

Director, Anshin ConsultantsDavid Harding

David has over 30 years experience working within government and private security fields, including service in the Australian Army’s Special Air Service Regiment, and the Australian Federal Police’s Air Security Officer Program. As Director of Anshin Consultants, a Threat Management consultancy, David conducts threat management operations across the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. This includes advising leading business persons and diplomats on non-state security threats. David holds a Masters degree, and has researched, lectured, written, and blogged about international risk, threat and security management.

Stepan Kerkyasharian AO

Former Chairperson of the New South Wales
Community Relations CommissionStepan-Kerkyasharian

Stepan Kerkyasharian  was born on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 1943 of Armenian parentage. He has spent most of his adult life working for the benefit of people who have come to live in Australia from overseas. He was the head of SBS radio from 1980 to 1989. He then became the head of a New South Wales statutory body called the Ethnic Affairs Commission. This agency works to help people from overseas settle into their new lives and be treated fairly, and provides access and opportunities for their participation in the life of the State of New South Wales. Stepan Kerkyasharian was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1992 and a Fellow of the University of Technology Sydney in 1995.

Nicole Matejic

Nicole is matejican international military crisis information operations and social media jihadism advisor who is a regular speaker at NATO HQ in Belgium and NATO’s Allied Transformation Command in the United States.  Nicole was an early adopter of using social media for OSINT in the law enforcement, intelligence and later military environments during her time working within the Australian Federal Government. While working with the Department of Defence, Nicole successfully implemented communications strategies for some of Australia’s biggest military acquisition projects in a complex, crisis and issues rich environment. Her time serving with Australia’s Border Force saw her work extensively in passenger intelligence and operational roles in the airport environment.  Nicole’s first book ‘Social Media Rules of Engagement’ will be published through Wiley in June 2015 and is now available for pre-order at http://www.wiley.com/buy/9780730322252

Anooshe Mushtaq

Anooshe Mushtaq_Headshot_2015Anooshe is a first generation Australian of Pakistani origin. She spent her early years in Pakistan and several years in Libya on posting with her family. Since her arrival in Western Sydney in 1985 Anooshe has experienced first-hand the changing cultural landscape of Australia. From being the only Muslim in her year at Liverpool Girls High to seeing Islam at the center of the national debate, Anooshe offers a personal insight into how multicultural Australia has changed over the last 30 years and the implications of these changes. As an avowed social media aficionado, Anooshe also has a keen appreciation of the increasing role social media plays in driving conversations about the relationship between multicultural communities and the broader community. The evolution of this relationship is instrumental in understanding the rise of home grown extremism.



Anna SherburnAnna Sherburn Profile Picture

Director, Countering Violent Extremism Unit, Attorney-General’s Department

Anna Sherburn is the Director of the Countering Violent Extremism Unit in the Attorney-General’s Department. In this role, she is responsible for coordinating the Australian Government’s approach to countering violent extremism, which involves working with Government, non-government and community partners to enhance Australia’s community cohesion, community engagement and education, address online radicalisation and propaganda and efforts to intervene and divert individuals who are already radicalising to violent extremism to turn them away from ideologies of hatred and violence. Anna’s previous roles been in a variety of fields including human rights and anti-discrimination, media liaison and marketing.


Richard Spencer

iSentiaRichard pencer

Richard Spencer is Head of Digital for iSentia and Head of Agency for iSentia Two Social, iSentia’s specialist Social Media agency. The Social Media landscape is changing and developing exponentially, and Richard advises organisations on how to maximise their opportunities in this exciting channel. Richard is also a regular media commentator on Social Media channels.  Prior to founding iSentia Two Social, Richard was Senior Vice President, Global Marketing and Interactive with TMP Worldwide and has been working in digital communications and the internet since 1996.

Richard holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) in Business and a postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (CIM). Richard is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Pia Waugh

Director of Gov 2.0,
working for Australian Government CTO, Dept. of Financewaugh

Pia Waugh is an open government and open data ninja, working within the machine to enable greater transparency, democratic engagement, citizen-centric design and real, pragmatic actual innovation in the public sector and beyond. Pia is currently working as a Director of Coordination and Gov 2.0 for the Australian Government CTO looking at whole of government technology, services and procurement. As part of this work, Pia runs data.gov.au and coordinates GovHack. Pia co-wrote a paper called “The Foundations of Openness” with the OSS-Watch project at Oxford University. In 2014 she was recognised as one of the one hundred most influential Australian women for her work in innovation,

Levi J. West

Lecturer, Terrorism and National Security
Course Coordinator, Master of Terrorism and Security StudiesLevi-West

In addition to leading the Masters of Terrorism and Security Studies program at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at CSU, Levi is currently a PhD student at the Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the ANU where he is completing doctoral research into the impact of technology on insurgency, via a case study analysis of Al-Qaeda, the Sinaloa Cartel, and Anonymous. Levi has an extensive background in national security focused academia, with a focus on non-State violence and terrorism. Levi has previously lectured at the National Security College at the ANU; at the Australian Command and Staff College as part of ANU Military Studies program; at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation in Indonesia; and is a Visiting Fellow in Terrorism and Counter Terrorism at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad, India. Levi has travelled and worked in Israel, having been a 2011 Australia Israel Jewish Affairs Council Rambam Israel Fellow. In this capacity, Levi was part of a parliamentary delegation that travelled extensively in Israel and Palestine. Levi previously worked as a researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in Washington D.C. where he undertook research on the impact of non-state actors on traditional conceptualisations of deterrence, especially in relation to the US Missile Defence program. This was part of a yearlong exchange program wherein Levi lived and worked in the United States. Levi has lectured on a number of different topics to a range of government and non-government audiences both in Australia and overseas

His research interests include

  • Theories of insurgency, resistance and dissent;
  • Diversity and evolution of violent non-State actors;
  • Use of technology by non-State actors; and
  • Cyber security, particularly as it pertains to non-state actors.


Don Williams

ASRC Activities Committee, Chairdon-williams

Don Williams, CPP, RSecP MIExpE, IABTI ASecM, is Chair of the Australian Security Research Centre Coordination Committee. He represents the ASRC as the host of the Forum.  Don can be contacted at    .




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