keynote SPEAKERs

Dr Gill Hicks

Dr Gill Hicks AM MBE FRSA

Globally renowned as an advocate for sustainable peace and a valuable resource in countering violent extremism, Gill Hicks is widely considered one of the world's most thought-provoking, powerful and life-affirming speakers. 

Her devotion to making a personal greater contribution and positive difference to the urgency of building peace was realised when she was made permanently injured in the London bombings on 7 July 2005. 

When the suicide bomber, standing just one person away from Dr Gill Hicks, detonated his device, he killed 26 people and maimed many others. Gill’s injuries were so severe that paramedics couldn’t even identify her gender.  The last person to be rescued alive from the train, Gill was given a tag describing her as ‘One Unknown – estimated female’.  Trapped in the chaos, her legs destroyed, Gill was close to death but made a vow to survive and make a difference.  In the 14 years since, that vow has never weakened and Gill has dedicated her life to working for world peace.  

Gill shares what she has learned about herself, humanity and the extraordinary and inherent ability to rise in the wake of adversity.

Sir Robert Parker

Sir Bob Parker

Sir Bob Parker served four terms as Mayor of Christchurch City, including during the 2010-2011 earthquakes, one of New Zealand's deadliest and most catastrophic natural disasters. He won wide praise for his role, leadership and work in response to the quake that claimed 185 lives, and collapsed or undermined tens of thousands of buildings throughout the city and beyond.  

Hear the firsthand account of an earthquake that lasted only a few seconds but destroyed a city. Where ordinary suburban life is transformed in mere moments to a fight against fear and a battle for survival. Hear how a community of 500,000 people coped with the shocking tragedy that took 185 lives, injured more than 10,000 people and converted their world into a shattered and dangerous place, with thousands of aftershocks continuing to shatter homes, neighbourhoods and livelihoods. 

The people of Christchurch were praised for their resilience and courage. The community rose to the occasion, acts of bravery and generosity became the new normal. In a broken city a new sense of community arose. People rediscovered the real values of life and community. They found within them more strength, compassion and ingenuity than they ever believed possible. This is the story of how a city rose from the rubble.

Jerry Grayson

jerry grayson AFC

Jerry was the youngest helicopter pilot to ever serve in the Royal Navy. By the age of 25 he was the most decorated peacetime naval pilot in history and was awarded the Air Force Cross (AFC) by the Queen for outstanding gallantry in search and rescue.  

The work of a search and rescue pilot is vital, dangerous, thrilling and on the edge. Hear how Jerry saved fighter pilots who had ditched at sea, rescued desperate sailors from sinking yachts during the infamous Fastnet Race and picked up a grievously ill crewman from the deck of a nuclear-armed submarine that was playing a cat-and-mouse game with the Soviet navy.  

In 2,500 hours of flying with the Royal Navy, Jerry and his crewmates saved more than 70 lives on 120 rescue missions. His story is not an account of one man's deeds, but a salute to all the men and women he worked with who were able to turn tragedies into triumphs. 

Since leaving the Royal Navy, Jerry carved out a career as a film pilot; he was the first man to fly a helicopter between the Petronas ‘Twin Towers’ in Kuala Lumpur, filmed in Kuwait over the burning oil fields after Sadam’s first Gulf War, commanded the airspace and the helicopter filming units over Athens for the Olympics, over Melbourne for the Commonwealth Games, over Doha for the Asian Games, and throughout South Africa for the Soccer World Cup.  His first feature film was the James Bond ‘View to a Kill’ and his last ‘Black Hawk Down’. 

Then, hear how Jerry’s three decades of flying experiences almost entirely vanished into thin air. The drones had arrived and taken over. Jerry had to deal with the most extreme form of disruption; when the career he’d so successfully built simply ceased to exist. To enable him and his team to move forward positively, Jerry had to recognise the disruption, address it and learn a whole new way of doing his job..

Mick Colliss

Mick Colliss

This is the story of Mick Colliss, a man who desperately wanted to wear the green and gold and represent Australia. After trying numerous different sports, from rugby to lawn bowls, he finally achieved his dream, just not in the way you might think. Mick’s is a laugh out loud true story about mateship, having a go and never giving up.


guest speakers

James Maskey, Beyond Blue

James Maskey, Beyond Blue

James Maskey is the National Engagement Manager of the Police and Emergency Services Program at Beyond Blue, an independent not‐for‐profit organisation that provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health. 

The Police and Emergency Services Program aims to promote the positive mental health of emergency service personnel across Australia and reduce their risk of suicide and mental illness through collaboration between agencies, unions, peak bodies and government departments. 

A graduate of the Bond University Law Faculty and Griffith University Department of Humanities, James is also a former front-line Queensland Police Officer with a service history including General Duties, The Police Citizen's Youth Club and the highly regarded Child Protection & Investigation Unit. During the course of his duties, James responded to countless critical incidents, murders, suicides, home invasions, domestic violence incidents, fatal traffic crashes and serious sexual assaults.

Constant exposure to these critical incidents negatively impacted James' mental health and in 2013 James was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 2015, James made the difficult but empowering decision to resign from the Queensland Police Service in an effort to reclaim his mental health. 

James is incredibly passionate about changing the stigma that surrounds mental health, raising the profile of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and empowering those who suffer from the debilitating mental health challenges to seek the support of professionals who can help them recover.