Board Members

The FRSA Board consists of seven elected members and up to two additional co-opted members, at the Boards’ discretion.

They meet four times annually to discuss governance and long-term goals, approve major actions of the organisation, support FRSA to fulfil its mission and ensure implementation of the FRSA Strategic Plan 2016.

Each Board position works on a two year term, and no Board member can exceed a maximum of three consecutive terms.

FRSA is responsible for supporting the Board, and for coordinating the Call for Nominations and ballot each year.

The Call for Nominations will be sent no more than 4 months prior to the AGM.

To nominate a potential candidate, you must be the authorised Member Delegate of an FRSA Full Member organisation who has not nominated any other candidate, and the person you are nominating must be the authorised Member Delegate of a Full Member or Associate Member organisation. All nominators, seconders and nominees must have their fees paid in full by the Call for Nominations date.

Useful Documents

The following documents are available to prospective nominees; please contact us or (02) 6162 1811 for copies:

  1. FRSA Position Description – Board Member
  2. FRSA Constitution
  3. FRSA Policy and Procedures Manual
  4. FRSA Annual Report 2014-15

FRSA Board Members (2016 - 2017)

Michael Austin

MSW, BSW, Grad Dip Couple & Family Therapy
Appointed: 15 November 2012
Re-appointed: 6 November 2016
(Current term expiry AGM 2018)

Michael Austin has worked in the community and welfare sector for 29 years. His current role is Director of CatholicCare Wollongong. Previously, Michael was the Executive Director, Family and Community Services at CatholicCare Sydney where he worked for over 21 years. This role involved strategic and operational responsibilities for a diverse suite of programmes, an annual budget of $38 million, and over 500 staff. His experience includes roles in both the government and non-government sectors, in Australia and in the UK. Mr Austin has served on the Executive Committee of the NSW Family Therapy Association, as Vice Chair of the Board of the Institute of Counselling, Sydney, and he is a member of the Advisory Board of the Bachelor of Behavioural Science and Counselling at the University of Notre Dame. He has actively supported and engaged in interagency partnerships and joint research projects, including a significant study into culturally sensitive family dispute resolution with Anglicare and the University of Western Sydney. Michael has presented papers at national conferences including the ANZ Family Therapy, Family Law Systems, FRSA and National Implementation Conferences.

Sue Christophers
Diploma in Management, Cert IV
Training and Assessment
Appointed: 6 November 2014
Re-appointed: 1 December 2016
(Current term expiry AGM 2018)

Sue Christophers is the Senior Manager Community Engagement with AnglicareSA and has worked in community services focussing on community development for nearly 20 years. Ms Christophers was involved in the development of the Communities for Children sites in Onkaparinga and Playford and has a leadership role in the South Australian Communities for Children all-sites network. Sue’s passion and commitment to putting children at the centre of communities sees her consulted by numerous organisations seeking to enhance their ability to capture children’s voices. Throughout this time Sue has developed significant relationships and partnerships across SA and Australia inclusive of Federal, State and Local Government, Non-Government Organisations, Business and Community

Karen Field
Treasurer & Chairperson of the Finance & Governance Committee
BA SocWk (Hons)
Appointed: 10 November 2011
Re-appointed: 7 November 2013 and 12 November 2015
(Current term expiry AGM 2017)

Karen is the Chief Executive Officer of Drummond Street Services and National Chief Executive of Stepfamilies Australia. She brings 26 years’ experience in developing, managing and delivering a range of evidence-based programmes and services, spanning the public health spectrum, to families across a range of sectors. This includes health (primary and mental health) and welfare, tertiary education employment, and justice sectors. Her knowledge base, employment experience and contribution span the public health spectrum including promotion, prevention and early intervention, tertiary end treatment programmes, and recovery and continuing care services. Her key areas of expertise and interest are contributing to family focused public policy research and advice, contributing to research and evaluation in early intervention, and representing the contribution of small NGOs.

Fiona Harley OAM
Chairperson of the Conference Reference Committee
BSS, AICD Member
Appointed: 7 November 2013
Reappointed: 12 November 2015
(Current term expiry AGM 2017)

Ms Harley has worked in the community services sector for over 30 years. She is currently Deputy Executive Director of Mallee Family Care and Director of the agency’s Education, Training and Research Unit. The Unit operates a number of programmes that positively engage with families and children in learning and education as a means to good life outcomes. She is also a member for the Partnership of Victorian Family Relationship of Victorian Family Relationship Centres and Chair of Northern Mallee LLEN. Ms Harley is also the Director of the Vinson Centre for Applied Social Research. The approach of the Vinson Centre for Applied Social Research is unique in that it takes a holistic view to the analysis of data that encompasses where a community is located, how it is faring economically and how these intersect with social indicators. In 2014 Fiona was awarded an Order of Australia medal in recognition of her services to welfare and community.

Dr Deborah Hartman
Chairperson, Research Advisory Committee
Dip. Teach, B.A., Grad Dip TESOL, M.Ed., PhD
Appointed: 7 November 2013
Reappointed: 12 November 2015
(Current term expiry AGM 2017)

Dr Hartman is currently the Assistant Director of the Family Action Centre (FAC), at the University of Newcastle (UON). As a long-term member of the leadership team at the FAC, she has been involved in service delivery, teaching, research, governance, strategic planning, staff development and financial and human resource management in the Family Services Sector for over 19 years. Deb brings expertise and passion for bringing family to the centre of policy and practice in all fields, and to raising the recognition of professionalism in family work through developing family studies as a discipline of scholarships.

Marie Morrison
Deputy Chairperson
BSc Psych (Hons), AICD Member
Appointed: 7 November 2013
Reappointed: 12 November 2015
(Current term expiry AGM 2017)

Marie Morrison has held the position of CEO at Relationships Australia NT (RANT) for almost ten years. Marie brings the experience of having delivered a broad range of Family and Children’s Services, especially to large numbers of Aboriginal and Islander clients in remote and isolated parts of Australia. Marie has a varied background including community development, clinical work, policy development and management. Her leadership and organisational skills were nationally recognised when she won the Northern Territory Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award. Marie brings the experience of 27 years of living and working in the Northern Territory including in remote Aboriginal communities.

Marie has considerable knowledge in delivering a wide range of Family and Children’s Services including Family Relationship Centres, other Family Law Services, Counselling, Education and other Family and Relationship Services, counselling for traumatised children and capacity building projects, including Communities for Children, as a community partner in several projects.

His Honour, Judge Matthew Myers AM
BA, B.Laws, GDip Family Dispute
Resolution, M.Laws
Appointed: 6 February 2015
Reappointed: 17 February 2016
(Current term expiry AGM 2017)

Judge Myers AM sits as a Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. His Honour is a Gadigal/Wiradjuri man who is proud to be the first Indigenous lawyer appointed to a federal court in Australia. Prior to his appointment to the Bench in December 2011, Judge Myers was a practising solicitor in the central coast of NSW undertaking Legal Aid and private family law work in parenting and property matters. Judge Myers is also an accredited and experienced Family Dispute Resolution practitioner, and is active in a number of committees including the Federal Circuit Court Indigenous Access to Justice Committee, the Law Society of NSW Indigenous Issues Committee, the Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Family Law Pathways network, and guest lecturer at the University of Newcastle. Judge Myers received the award of Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2013.

Paula Washington
Appointed: 1 December 2016
(Current term expiry AGM 2018)

Paula Washington has worked in the social services sector for 22 years across the areas of child protection, alternative care, counselling mediation, aged care, volunteer and disability support services. She has been in leadership roles for more than 18 years, managing residential, counselling, therapeutic, dispute resolution, employment and educational services across rural, remote and regional centers in Central and North Queensland.

Paula has an undergraduate major in psychology and MBA majoring in dispute resolution. Her areas of interest include service development and strategic planning with particular focus on National Disability Insurance Scheme service development and Domestic and Family Violence Interventions. Her passion for innovation has driven the development of a series of initiatives responding to regional issues for the Northern and Central Queensland regions including research and development of family wellbeing initiatives for FIFO and mining families, development of programs for Defence and Military families that resulted in securing funding, ongoing strategic and practice linkages with James Cook University.

Paula is presently involved in regional leadership groups focused on workforce development for the Disabilities services sector, integrated domestic and family violence responses, the Townsville West Communities for Children Committee and is the Chair of the North Queensland Family Law Pathways Network.

Terms for Current Board Members

Michael Austin since AGM 15/11/12 to AGM 2018

Sue Christophers since AGM 06/11/14 to AGM 2018

Karen Field since AGM 10/11/11 to AGM 2017

Fiona Harley since AGM 07/11/13 to AGM 2017

Deborah Hartman since AGM 07/11/13 to AGM 2017

Marie Morrison since AGM 07/11/13 to AGM 2017

Judge Matthew Myers since 6/2/15 to AGM 2017

Paula Washington since AGM 1/12/16 to AGM 2018


Chair: Michael Austin
Deputy Chair: Marie Morrison
Treasurer: Karen Field

Finance and Governance Committee

Chair: Karen Field (Treasurer)

  • Michael Austin (Board Chair)
  • Marie Morrison (Deputy Board Chair)
  • Sue Christophers
  • Jackie Brady (ED – Ex officio)

Research Advisory Committee

Chair: Deb Hartman

  • Fiona Harley
  • Sue Christophers
  • Paula Washington
  • Karen Field (Treasurer)

Sector Events Committee

Chair: Fiona Harley

  • Sue Christophers
  • Marie Morrison
  • Karen Field (Treasurer)
  • Paula Washington
  • Deb Hartman

Co-Opted Board Members

Judge Matthew Myers