Asylum Seekers Centre Board Members

Asylum Seekers Centre Board Members

Profiles of the Board Members at The Asylum Seekers Centre, Sydney

Betty Hounslow

Betty Hounslow: Chair

Betty has over 30 years experience in the community sector, most recently as Deputy CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation. She has worked in community legal centres and women’s refuges, been the Executive Director of ACOSS (the national advocacy body for low income and disadvantaged people), and Vice-President of ACFID (the peak body for international aid agencies). Her activism around the rights of refugees and migrants started in the early 1980s.

Clare Petre: ChairClare Petre: Deputy Chair

Clare was most recently the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW for over 16 years.  Prior to that she was a Senior Assistant Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Clare has extensive experience in the community sector, with government and the media. She has worked with community legal centres – Redfern Legal Centre, the Intellectual Disability Rights Service and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. She has also worked as a reporter with ABC TV’s 4 Corners and The Investigators, as well as in the health system.  Clare has served on a range of NSW and Commonwealth government advisory bodies, and on the boards of community groups, including ACOSS and Performance Space.

Mary ReemstMary Reemst

Mary Reemst is Managing Director and CEO of Macquarie Bank.  Prior to her 15 year career at Macquarie Group, Mary was Head of Energy & Power of Bankers Trust Australia and has also enjoyed an 11 year career with Citigroup.  She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Director of Australian Bankers Association, Australian Financial Markets Association and Financial Markets Foundation for Children.

Marina Brizar

Marina Brizar

Marina arrived to Australia as a refugee from the Former Yugoslavia. Her personal experience compelled her to study a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, from where she graduated in 2012. She currently holds the position of Head of Corporate and Private Clients at Playfair Visa & Migration Services, where she practices as a Solicitor and Registered Migration Agent. Together with her corporate experience, Marina has acted on cases in human trafficking with Anti-Slavery Australia, and on behalf of people seeking asylum in Australia and offshore.

Quite separately from her professional work, Marina co-founded the Aspire Motivate Believe Foundation which assists students from an asylum seeker/ refugee background meet the practical costs associated with pursuing their education. Marina was named the 2015 Young Migration Lawyer of the Year; the 2015 Woman Lawyer of the Year – Up Coming; and a “Woman of Influence” 2016.

Steven Glass

Steven Glass

Partner in the law firm Gilbert + Tobin, Steven has specialised in commercial litigation for over 25 years. For over 12 years he has led the firm’s pro bono refugee practice, and has been a regular visitor to Christmas Island and other detention centres to represent asylum seekers.

Dr Graham Thom -Amnesty

Graham Thom

Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia

Graham has visited detention centres and refugee camps in Australia and throughout the region. He has previously chaired the NSW Asylum Seeker Interagency. In 2013, Graham undertook research on policies relating to the resettlement of vulnerable children, including unaccompanied minors. His research involved travelling to Indonesia, Kenya and Jordan and culminated in the University of Sydney and Amnesty International Australia report – Removing the Stumbling Blocks: Ways to Use Resettlement More Effectively to Protect Vulnerable Refugee Minors (2014).

Om Dhungel

Om Dhungel

Om Dhungel, formerly a refugee from Bhutan, brings to the Centre a diverse range of board management, community development and volunteering experience. He is a consultant and practitioner of a strength-based approach to refugee settlement and community development. Om has served as a director on the boards of Settlement Services International (SSI), SydWest Multicultural Services and MTC Australia. He is the founding president and currently a senior advisor of the Association of Bhutanese in Australia,  a recipient of the 2017 University of Technology Sydney (UTS) International Alumni Award, 2016 Community Service Lifetime Achievement Award and 2012 National Volunteer Award, amongst many other accomplishments.

Having experienced the life of a refugee and seen stars rising from those refugee camps, Om strongly believes that “no matter where you grew up or what your past circumstances were, you can choose and work towards where you want to be in the future”.