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Speaker bios

Samantha Palmer

Samantha Palmer currently heads up the Regulatory Support Division of the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration - helping ensure the medicines and medical devices in Australia are safe, effective and high quality. Previously she led the Indigenous and Rural Health Division which coordinates and oversees the delivery of around $1bil in health services annually and works to Close the Gap and ensure appropriate access to health care for rural, regional and remote Australians. She is also an APS and Departmental Diversity Champion, won the 2013 AHRI Diversity Champion (HR) Award and was named one of the AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence for 2013.

Samantha has worked in the Commonwealth as an SES2 since 2005 and previously worked in senior service delivery, corporate and programme management positions for more than 12 years at Queensland Government (Office of Fair Trading, Environmental Protection Authority, Queensland Transport, Queensland Housing), and Griffith University. She also has private and community sector experience.

What was your motivation for participating in the video project?

"As a Board member of the Australian Employers Network on Disability and through my work as a Disability Champion I have seen the immense value that can be delivered by people with disability in a range of workplaces and saw this video as an wonderful opportunity to share the privilege of my experiences in order to create more opportunity for diversity in the APS - As One."

Michael Pini

Michael Pini, who has cerebral palsy, has been with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for 27 years. During that time, Michael has occupied, and progressed through, a number of positions in the income tax technical areas of the ATO. In March 2012, this progression culminated in Michael being appointed to the Senior Executive Service as he was promoted to a position of Assistant Commissioner (Senior Tax Counsel).

Michael is also on the Board of Directors of the Cerebral Palsy League which is a non-profit organisation that provides vital support and services to more than 8,000 children and adults with disabilities in Queensland and Northern NSW.

Michael has a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy), holds a Graduate Diploma in Taxation and is a CPA.

What was your motivation for participating in the video project?

'As a person with a disability that has had a successful career at the ATO, I think it is useful and important that I share my insights into, and the importance of, employing a person with a disability."

Craig Farrel

Craig has worked in a range of public and private sector organisations over the last 25 years, and is currently the First Assistant Secretary responsible for People Strategy and Services Division in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Among other responsibilities in this role, Craig is working with other people on the consolidation of the DIBP and Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBS) workforces and HR systems in readiness for the 1 July 2015 amalgamation. His other responsibilities include managing the strategic elements such as workforce planning, succession and talent management and fraud and integrity; and services elements including property management, payroll, recruitment and Health and Safety.

His background includes managerial, employment brokerage, consultancy, contract management and corporate services, though for the past 15 years or so has been in the HR operational and strategic arena. Craig has a personal interest in people management and diversity – particularly in Indigenous issues and disability.

A keen golfer, squash and tennis player, Craig is married with three children and is an enthusiastic pilot, having flown hot air balloons in various locations around the world over the last years and ran a successful commercial ballooning operation for 6 years.

What was your motivation for participating in the video project?

I have a personal interest in fairness and equal opportunity for all. In the area of disability, and more specifically the employment of people with disability, this can often be assisted by focusing on simple things such as fear of the unknown; "what am I able to say or ask", and to challenge a common perceptions such as "perhaps best to not ask anything for fear of saying something wrong, upsetting someone, or getting myself into trouble". The reverse is often true of course, and the best outcomes are often achieved by asking simple questions; making sensible accommodations (reasonable adjustments) to allow for a broader range of people to compete equally.