Adjudication Panel

When a complaint about an advertisement or packaging is received by the Advertising Standards Board, it is sent on to the Chief Adjudicator of The ABAC Scheme.  It is the role of the Chief Adjudicator to assess whether a complaint falls within the remit of the ABAC Scheme and is to be referred to the ABAC Adjudication Panel and to manage the complaints process.  Currently, the Chief Adjudicator is Professor the Hon Michael Lavarch AO.  Currently there are five Panel members.  A minimum of three Panel members can adjudicate on a particular complaint.  One of these three will always be a Panel member with a professional background related to public health, nominated by the Minister responsible for alcohol related matters or their nominee.  A brief biography of each panel member is provided below.

No member of the Panel may, at the time of or during the term of his or her apointment to the Panel (a) be a current employee of member of the alcohol beverages industry; or (b) have been an employee or member of that industry during the period of five (5) years prior to the date of his or her appointment.

The Chief Adjudicator is assisted in administering the complaints process by the ABAC Executive Officer.

ABAC Adjudication Panel Members

Chief Adjudicator, Professor the Honourable Michael Lavarch AO

Professor Lavarch has been Chief Adjudicator of the Panel since its inception. He is a former Commonwealth Attorney General and is a Professor Emeritus of Law at the Queensland University of Technology and is currently the Commissioner for Risk Analysis and Investigation with Australian Skills Quality Authority .

Professor Lavarch holds a Bachelor Degree in Law from the QIT and practiced as a Solicitor prior to being elected to Federal Parliament in 1987. In 1996 he recommenced his Legal career as special Counsel to the Legal firms of Dunhill Madden Butler and Deacons, where he specialised in land access issues for major infrastructure projects. From 2001 to 2004 he was Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia, the Peak Industry Body for the Legal Profession.  From 2004 to 2012 he was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at the QUT.

Professor Lavarch holds several Directorships on national companies and organisations and has undertaken a number of significant community service and education roles. He has also carried out extensive work in the field of Constitutional Law.  In 2012, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in recognition of his work in the Law, the Community and the protection of Human Rights.

Deputy Chief Adjudicator - Ms Debra Richards

Ms Richards was appointed as a general member of the Panel on 15 September 2010.  She is the CEO of Ausfilm International Inc (appointed in January 2011) and has been involved in the broadcasting industry in both the public and private sector for over 25 years most recently as the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Subscription Television & Radio Association (ASTRA) and previously as Director of Programming and Licensing for the Australian Broadcasting Authority (predecessor to the ACMA).  Her key achievements include building an industry association, achieving copyright and other legislative reforms in respect of the subscription television industry, developing and implementing the first and subsequent Codes of practice covering all subscription television services and businesses in Australia, and leading an established government body into a new structure and mode of operation as a result of legislative reform.

Ms Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Graduate Diploma and Masters Degree in Arts.  She is a member of numerous communications industry bodies including member and director of the Communications & Media Law Association (CAMLA); director of the International Institute of Communications (IIC) and Vice President of the Australian chapter. She also lectures on Media in Australia for Boston University.

Ms Jeanne Strachan

Ms Strachan has been a general member of the Panel since its inception. She is a director of Inview Pty Ltd, a company specializing in market research which she founded in 1965. Since 1965 she has been involved continuously in the provision of both quantitative and qualitative market research services throughout Australia to a wide variety of businesses. Her work has included evaluating the effectiveness of television commercials, advertising campaigns and pack designs for the commercial sector and also sociological research for the public sector. Her recognised field of expertise is understanding consumer behavior. In this capacity she is frequently retained as an expert witness by the Federal Court of Australia.

Ms Strachan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology and Urban Geography from the University of Sydney.  Prior to establishing Inview she was employed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission as an Audience Research Officer responsible for evaluating the reaction of consumers to both television and radio programs. Inview was a foundation member of the Australian Market Research Organisation.

Professor Louisa Jorm

Professor Jorm is a health sector member of the Panel and was appointed in December 2012.  She is the Foundation Director of the Centre for Big Data Research in Health at UNSW. She is an Australian leader in epidemiological research using linked administrative health data, including hospital inpatient, mortality and Medicare data.

From 2007 until November 2014, she was Foundation Professor of Population Health and Director of the Centre for Health Research at the University of Western Sydney, and Principal Scientist and then part-time Senior Advisor at the Sax Institute. Prior to this, she spent more than 15 years in senior positions in public health policy and service roles.

She has played a leading role in the establishment of major infrastructure and capacity for health big data research in Australia, including the NSW/ACT Centre for Health Record Linkage, the 45 and Up Study and the NSW Biostatistical Officer Training Program. She led the development of the Secure Unified Research Environment (SURE), a new facility that benefits researchers nationally by providing secure remote access to linked health data. In the last 5 years Professor Jorm has published more than 60 scientific papers, been awarded almost $10M in research funding and given invited plenary presentations at 5 international and 11 national conferences.

She represents the NHMRC on the international Public Health Research Data Forum convened by the Wellcome Trust and chairs the NHMRC’s Data Reference Group. She is a member (appointed by the Minister for Health) of two NHMRC Principal Committees: Research Committee and Prevention and Community Health Committee. She was a Member of the Health Expert Working Group, Roadmap for Australian Research Infrastructure (2011 and 2008) and was an invited participant in the inaugural meeting of the Australia-US Science and Technology Joint Commission Steering Committee in Washington DC in February 2011.

Professor Richard P. Mattick

Professor Mattick is a health sector member of the Panel and was appointed in June 2007. He is the Professor of Drug and Alcohol Studies in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Sydney where he is also the Director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. He is a member of the Prime Minister's Australian National Council on Drugs, and a regular adviser to the World Health Organization and the United Nations in Vienna.

Professor Mattick holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and PhD. He has authored over 200 scientific articles and books on the assessment, nature and treatment of alcohol, opioid, and other drug use problems. His major current research interests are in clinical trials for management of alcohol and other drug dependence, psychostimulant substitution therapy, treatment of young drug dependent people, and the effects of injecting drug use on health. He has been an Editor on the Cochrane Review Group for Drugs and Alcohol, and Assistant Editor and Executive Editor (respectively) on the international journals Addiction and the Drug and Alcohol Review.