Niru Palanivel, Campaign Coordinator
Niru is a qualified teacher and lawyer and has a strong understanding of the status of the child at law, both domestic and international. She believes that humanity’s youngest and most vulnerable persons should not be held in detention centres under Australian law and that Australia needs to stop this systematic and institutionalised abuse of children. Niru advocates for the acknowledgement and promotion of human rights and has worked with a number of non-governmental organisations over the years. She enjoys working with children and young people and believes that education and human rights are of utmost importance.
Zoe Grant, Community Engagement Officer
Zoe has been passionate about the issue of children in detention for a number of years, which led her to become a ChilOut Youth Ambassador in 2015. Since then, she has spoken about the issue at many events, organised and led campaigns, and worked with young people across Australia. In her current role at ChilOut, she looks after the Youth Ambassador Program and the Schools Speaking Program. Zoe is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Applied Psychology at the University of Notre Dame and she also has a Certificate in NLP Communication Excellence from the University of Sydney. Zoe understands how holding children in detention is psychologically damaging and inhumane and this has made her determined to advocate for change.
Therese Cochrane, President
Therese became ChilOut's Secretary in 2012 and President in 2014. Therese is a lawyer who has studied and worked in Australia and Europe. Her work in private practice and in-house has been in banking and finance. She has been interested in human rights since her university days and has participated in various organisations and campaigns over the years. She has degrees in economics and law and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Alain Rondot, Treasurer
Alain has been a supporter of ChilOut since 2001, when news of the plight of Shayan Badrai broke and the events of the Tampa unfolded. He has been a vocal advocate of refugee rights and for a fair treatment of all who come to our shores regardless of method of arrival. Alain was born in France and emigrated to Australia in 1991 following his computer science degree. Following a career in Management Consulting and IT, he is now a senior executive in financial services in Sydney.
Alison Harris, Secretary
Alison has been involved with ChilOut in some way or another since its inception. Alison studied Politics and French at the University of Sussex in the UK, emigrating to Australia in 1988 after many years of working in London in the field of Human Resources. She was a Board member of 'Friends of MS', an offshoot of the MS Society for many years. Alison has a partner and teenage son with whom she has travelled extensively and visited many of the countries from which asylum seeker children have fled.
Jessica Perini, Vice President
Jessica is a senior editor and a published writer specialising in the topics of refugees and the environment. She is also a permaculture designer and a historian. Jessica has been with ChilOut since 2003, has been a Board Member since 2010, and is our social media coordinator and Vice President. As founder of Permaculture for the People she has sourced scholarships, volunteer opportunities and work for asylum seekers within sustainable endeavours. Jessica has been a volunteer with the Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney for over fifteen years.
Elizabeth is an experienced business strategist, change management consultant, business facilitator, corporate coach of CEOs and managers, corporate communications consultant and company director. Elizabeth is committed to advocating and working for the release of children in immigration detention and is resolute in the knowledge that incarceration of children causes life-time trauma and distress and should be outlawed. Having worked at Board and CEO level she brings to the ChilOut board business disciplines and systems to ensure ChilOut can undertake its important work efficiently and effectively.