Advisory Council members (left to right): John O’Neill, Nick Bisley, Xiaoling Liu, Jason Yat-sen Li, Linda Jakobson, Natalie Cope, Laurie Smith, Peter Leahy. Photo: Irene Dowdy.

China Matters is an Australian Public Company (ABN ). It is an independent not-for-profit entity focused exclusively from a policy perspective on China’s rise and how it matters to Australia. China Matters is registered as a charity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

Board of Directors

Jan Adams

Jan Adams AO PSM

Jan Adams is Australia’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and took up her appointment in February 2016.

Ms Adams is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She was appointed Deputy Secretary in April 2013 with responsibility for trade and economic issues. In this role she was chief negotiator overseeing conclusion of Free Trade Agreements with China, South Korea and Japan. Previously, Ms Adams was First Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreement Division.

Ms Adams was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2007 for outstanding public service in pursuing Australia’s international objectives on trade and the environment. In 2016 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to international relations through the advancement of Australia’s diplomatic and free trade relationships, particularly with the United States of America, South Korea, Japan and China.

Stephen FitzGerald

Stephen FitzGerald AO


FitgeraldStephen FitzGerald began his professional career as a diplomat, studied Chinese and became a career China specialist. He was China adviser to Gough Whitlam, and Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and concurrently to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In 1980 he established the first private consultancy for Australians dealing with China, which continued until 2010.

Since the late 1960s, Dr FitzGerald has worked for policy reform in Australia’s relations with Asia, and for Asia Literacy for Australians. He chaired the 1980s committee of the Asian Studies Association of Australia on Asian Studies and Languages in Australian Education, and the government’s Asian Studies Council, which in 1988 wrote A National Strategy for the Study of Asia in Australia. In the same year, he chaired the government’s Committee to Advise on Australia’s Immigration Policies, which wrote the landmark report, Immigration. A Commitment to Australia.

He was head of the ANU’s Department of Far Eastern History and also of its Contemporary China Centre in the 1970s. In 1990 he founded and until 2005 chaired the UNSW’s Asia-Australia Institute, dedicated to making Australia part of the Asian region through think-tank activities and ideas-generation by regional leaders meeting in informal discussion.

Dr FitzGerald has been consultant to the Queensland and Northern Territory governments on the introduction of Asian languages to the school curriculum, consultant to Monash, Melbourne and Griffith universities on mainstreaming Asia in university studies, Chair of the Griffith Asia Institute, and Research Strategy Director of UTS’s China Research Centre. He is currently a Fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs and a Honorary Fellow at the China Studies Centre at Sydney University. He has also been awarded two Honorary Doctorates from Macquarie University and the University of Tasmania.

He has published monographs, reports and articles on China, Asia, Australia’s foreign policy and relations with China and Asia, Asia literacy, and the study of Asia and Asian languages in Australian schools and universities. His most recent publications are Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy, The Coup that Laid the Fear of China, and Australia and China at Forty: Stretch of the Imagination. His current research is on the evolution of Australia’s policies and attitudes towards Asia from the 1960s to the present.

On 16 March 2017 Dr FitzGerald delivered the Whitlam Oration at the Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University.

William Forde

William (Liam) Forde

LLiam Forde photoiam Forde has enjoyed an interesting career as a Chairman, CEO and executive in a variety of industries across multiple geographies.

His industrial and commercial experience has been gained in the consumer sector: automotive and domestic appliances; in the development sector: property, large-scale construction and engineering; in the financial services sector: funds management in infrastructure debt and equity funding and also in mining: in an integrated supply chain for rare earths.

This experience has been both domestically and internationally. In particular, Liam has done business throughout the Asian region in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Papua New Guinea.

Currently, Liam is a Non-Executive Director of Lynas Corporation Limited, an Australian listed entity involved in the mining and processing of rare earths for sophisticated customers in existing and emerging industries. Until mid-2016 Liam was Chairman of Hastings Funds Management, a global infrastructure business specialising in sourcing and investing equity.

Liam came to Australia from Ireland with his family in 1974 to engage in the opportunities and challenges presented by the potential for growth in the Asian region.

Liam graduated with a degree in economics, politics and philosophy from Queens University, Northern Ireland. He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Liam has an abiding interest in geo-politics and cross-cultural challenges.

Allan Gyngell

Allan Gyngell AO

allan-gyngell-200x200Allan Gyngell is an honorary professor at the Australian National University and National President at the Australian Institute of International Affairs. He was the Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) from July 2009 until April 2013 and, prior to that, the founding Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy (2003-09).

Mr Gyngell has a wide background in international policymaking and analysis and has written and spoken extensively on Australian foreign policy, Asian regional relations and the development of global and regional institutions. He is co-author (with Michael Wesley) of Making Australian Foreign Policy (Cambridge University Press). He is also author of Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World since 1942 (La Trobe University Press, April 2017).

Between 1993 and 1996, Mr Gyngell was foreign policy adviser in the office of then-Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, and from 1991 until 1993 was First Assistant Secretary in the International Division of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mr Gyngell also spent a number of years as an analyst with ONA, where he worked on Southeast Asian issues (1978-80) and headed the branch dealing with great power relations at the end of the Cold War (1984-89).

Linda Jakobson

Linda Jakobson

Linda Jakobson is founding director and Chief Executive Officer of China Matters.

jakobson_linda_hires picJakobson has been a student of Chinese politics and China’s foreign and security policy for the past three decades. She is internationally known for her publications about China’s foreign policy. Her China-related career includes posts as a teacher (at the Shandong Institute of Economics in China), a lecturer (at Hong Kong City University), a foreign correspondent (in Beijing), a visiting professor (at Sydney University), and senior researcher and program director (at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), and the Lowy Institute for International Policy). A Finn by nationality she has served as a policy advisor on China-related issues to the president, prime minister, or foreign minister in seven countries. In 2017 Jakobson was invited to join the board of the new Diplomatic Academy of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Before moving to Sydney in 2011 Jakobson lived and worked in China for 22 years. A Mandarin speaker, she is the author, co-author or co-editor of seven books about Chinese and East Asian politics and society as well as the author of over 100 other publications about Chinese politics and society, China’s foreign and security policy, the Taiwan Straits, China’s science and technology, and China’s Arctic aspirations. Two of her books and one report have received awards. Her most recent book, written with Dr Bates Gill, is China Matters: Getting It Right For Australia (La Trobe University Press / Black Inc., 2017). Her current research focuses on Australia-China ties and China’s foreign and security policy.

She and her husband, Chris Lanzit, also a Mandarin speaker, live in Pyrmont, New South Wales. They are permanent residents of Australia.

Andrew Michelmore

Andrew Michelmore

Andrew Michelmore was Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of MMG Limited from 2009 until February 2017 following his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of Zinifex Limited and then OZ Minerals Limited. Prior to this he spent two years working in London and Russia as Chief Executive Officer of EN+ Group and became interim Chairman of RUSAL, an EN+ portfolio company, in October 2006.

Andrew has more than 35 years’ experience in the metals and mining industry. He spent 12 years at WMC where he was Chief Executive Officer and prior to that held senior roles in the company’s nickel, gold, alumina, copper, uranium and fertiliser businesses. He holds a First Class Honours degree in Engineering (Chemical) from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University. He is a fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. Andrew is Chairman of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, Chairman of the Council of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Business Council of Australia (BCA). He was Chairman of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) from 2013 to 2016.

Andrew Parker

Andrew Parker

Andrew Parker 200dpi_5325_croppedAndrew Parker is a Sydney-based Partner at PwC where he leads the Australian Firm’s Asia Practice. Andrew joined Price Waterhouse in 1985, became a partner in 1999 and spent 12 years in PwC’s London, Moscow and Jakarta offices where he gained considerable experience advising companies investing in foreign (and particularly developing) markets. Andrew was previously the leader of PwC’s Asian telecoms industry team.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Asia Society and a non-executive director of the Australia Indonesia Centre at Monash University. Andrew was the lead author of PwC’s landmark report on Australia’s lack of business investment in Asia titled ‘Passing us by’.

Michael Wesley

Michael Wesley

MW PhotoMichael Wesley is Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific and was previously Director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. His career has spanned academia, with previous appointments at the University of New South Wales, Griffith University, the University of Hong Kong, Sun Yat-sen University and the University of Sydney; government, where he worked as Assistant Director General for Transnational Issues at the Office of National Assessments; and think tanks, in which he was Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Professor Wesley has also served as Editor in Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs.

His book, There Goes the Neighbourhood: Australia and the Rise of Asia, won the 2011 John Button Prize for the best writing on Australian public policy. His most recent book is Restless Continent: Wealth, Power and Asia’s New Geopolitics.

Advisory COUNCIL

Nick Bisley

Nick Bisley

Nick Bisley is Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University. His research and teaching expertise is in Asia’s international relations, globalisation and the diplomacy of great powers. Nick is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, Australia’s oldest scholarly journal in the field of International Relations. Nick is a director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, a member of the Council for Security and Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and has been a Senior Research Associate of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington DC.

Natalie Cope

Natalie Cope

Natalie Cope is the CEO of the Australia China Business Council (NSW) where she is responsible for supporting member companies in their trade, investment and business engagement with China. Prior to her role with ACBC, Natalie was the Manager of Partnerships and Development at Asialink Business.

Natalie was Australia’s 2015 Top Emerging Leader and MBA Scholar, receiving the 2015 Emerging Leaders MBA Scholarship by the University of Sydney Business School and The Australian Financial Review’s BOSS Magazine. She is the Ambassador of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, Asian Exchange Program and is a founding member and current Chair of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue.


Graham Fletcher

Graham Fletcher

Graham Fletcher

Graham Fletcher heads up the North Asia Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has been involved with the Australia-China relationship at various times since joining DFAT in 1983. This has included three postings to the Embassy in Beijing (1986-88, 1997-2000 and 2004-08) and a period as lead negotiator for the China-Australia FTA. He has also served in Noumea and Washington.

Peter Leahy

Peter Leahy AC

Peter Leahy ACPeter Leahy concluded his career in the Army in 2008, as Chief of the Army, with the rank of Lieutenant General. He served in this appointment for 6 years. His period of command was marked by the continuous global deployment of Australian soldiers on high tempo, complex and demanding combat operations. He was also responsible for the rapid expansion and development of the Army to meet the changing demands of modern conflict.

Since leaving the Army Peter has joined the University of Canberra as a Professor and become the foundation Director of the National Security Institute. He has been appointed to the Boards of Codan Limited, Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited and Citadel Group Limited. Additionally, he is a member of the Defence South Australia Advisory Board, Chairman of the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Committee in the ACT, Chairman of the charity “Soldier On” and a Trustee of the Prince’s Charities Australia.

Jason Yat-sen Li

Jason Yat-sen Li

Jason Yat-sen Li is Chairman of Vantage Asia Holdings, a commercial group with offices in Beijing and Sydney with interests in financial services, resources and technology businesses in Asia. Jason spent 10 years living and working in Beijing, first with Insurance Australia Group where he was Head of China Strategy, and then as Managing Director of Yatsen Associates, a corporate advisory firm he founded specialising in cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Jason was recently a non-executive director of the George Institute for Global Health and is a member of the Sydney Committee of the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He was appointed a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2009 and currently serves on the WEF’s Global Agenda Council for China.

Xiaoling Liu

Xiaoling Liu

Xiaoling Liu is currently an independent non-executive Director of Newcrest Mining, Iluka Resources and Melbourne Business School. Prior to this she spent twenty six years with Rio Tinto Group where she held various positions. As the President and CEO of Rio Tinto Minerals, China was an important market for its various Borates products. As the President of Primary Metal Pacific, she had responsibility for a joint venture aluminium smelter in China. Before joining Rio Tinto, she worked as a Research Fellow at City, University of London and as a lecturer at Chongqing University in China. She has a Bachelor of Engineering from Chongqing University and a PhD from Imperial College London. She is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. She became an Australian citizen in 1991 and currently resides in Melbourne.

John O'Neill

John O’Neill AO

John O’Neill is Chairman and Non-Executive Director of The Star Entertainment Group Limited. He was Managing Director of the State Bank of New South Wales, and CEO of Australian Rugby Union (ARU). In 2004, John joined Football Federation Australia where he established the A-League and took the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup for the first time in over 30 years. The following year he returned to the ARU as Managing Director and CEO and was appointed inaugural Chairman of Events NSW. John was a recipient of the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2004. He has also been awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur and in 2015 he was inducted as a Member into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame for outstanding achievement in rugby union and football.

Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith

LSLaurie Smith is currently a member of the national board of the Australia China Business Council and a member of the Advisory Council of China Matters. He served as the Executive Director of International at Austrade 2011-2015 and before that lived and worked in China in various government and private sector roles for close to twenty years. Laurie has extensive experience in trade, investment and related policy issues in Asia generally and greater China in particular and has worked across many industry sectors with particular experience in agriculture, food, technology, media, education and training.

Laurie has a Bachelor of Science from Melbourne University, and undertook post-graduate study at Peking University. He is fluent in Mandarin.

Hugh White

Hugh White AO

Hugh White HeadshotHugh White has been Professor of Strategic Studies in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University since 2004. Before that he was a senior official of the Australian Government. His publications include Power Shift: Australia’s future between Washington and Beijing, (2010) and The China Choice: Why America should share power (2012).


John McCarthy

John McCarthy AO FAIIA

John McCarthy is currently a Senior Advisor to Mitsubishi Materials Corporation in Tokyo, and the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Griffith Asia Institute. Prior to this, he was the National President of the Australian Institute for International Affairs from 2010. He has also served as an ambassador in seven countries including Japan, Indonesia, the United States, Thailand, Mexico, and Vietnam.

He was educated at Cambridge University, is an Officer of the Order of Australia (1999), and has an Honorary Doctorate from Murdoch University (2015).

David Olsson

David Olsson

David Olsson picxDavid Olsson is a former managing partner of global law firm King & Wood Mallesons, and is currently senior China consultant to the firm. He has been working with clients in Asia for more than 25 years, based in Beijing from 2008 – 2013 and now in Melbourne. He has been a lead participant in numerous Australia – China bi-lateral initiatives, especially in the area of financial market reform. He is a former chairman of the Australia – China Chamber of Commerce, Beijing.

He serves on the Board of the Australia China Council and the Australia China Business Council, Victoria. He is the chairman of the Australian Renminbi Working Group, a private sector led initiative supported by the Australian, Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments which is looking at renminbi business in Australia.

Jonathan Pain

Jonathan Pain

Jonathan Pain oct 2013Jonathan Pain is a Director of JP Consulting NSW Pty Ltd and has 30 years of international investment experience having led investment teams in London, Bahrain and Australia. He is the author and publisher of an investment newsletter, The Pain Report. He is well known for his contrarian views and is a regular guest on CNBC TV and speaks at conferences around the world.

Jonathan holds a joint honours degree in Economics and Politics from Keele University and a Masters degree in Finance from Exeter University. Having been born in South Africa and lived in Lesotho, Swaziland, England and Bahrain, Jonathan now calls Australia home.

Geoff Raby

Geoff Raby

Dr Geoff Raby was Australia’s Ambassador to China from 2007 to 2011. Following completion of his Ambassadorial term, after 27 years in the public service, mostly with DFAT, he resigned to establish Geoff Raby and Associates Ltd. Dr Raby also holds a number of non-executive, independent director positions with ASX-listed companies, i.e. OceanaGold , Yancoal and iSentia. He was appointed to the Investment Attraction South Australia Advisory Board on 29 March, 2016.

In China, Dr Raby serves as Co-Chair of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s China practice. He is head of Trade Policy at the London-based think-tank Policy Exchange. Dr Raby is a member of the non-for-profit Advance Global Advisory Board, University of Sydney’s China Studies Center Advisory Board, La Trobe University Asia Advisory Board, and the Foundation of the National Gallery of Victoria.

Richard Rigby

Richard Rigby

Richard Rigby is the Executive Director of the Australian National University (ANU) China Institute, Professorial Fellow at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, and the Associate Director of the Centre on China in the World (CIW). Professor Rigby graduated in History at the ANU in 1970 and went on to do his PhD – subsequently reworked and published by the ANU Press as The May 30th Movement – under Professor Wang Gungwu in the then Department of Far Eastern History (now the School of Culture, History & Language).

Richard joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 1975, where he worked until the end of 2001: postings included Tokyo, Beijing (twice), Shanghai (Consul-General 1994-1998), London, and Israel (Ambassador, 2000-2001). He then joined the Office of National Assessments as Assistant Director-General, responsible for North and South Asia, where he worked until taking up his current position with the ANU China Institute in April 2008.

Julian Snelder

Julian Snelder

Julian SnelderJulian Snelder is a private investor based in Hong Kong and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He has been living and working in Asia for a quarter-century and is currently a partner in a global emerging markets fund Amiya Capital. Prior to this he lived in China, India and Korea working as a management consultant and investment banker.

He has two bachelors’ degrees, one in engineering from the University of Canterbury and the other in economics from Trinity College, Cambridge. Julian writes regularly about events in China and Asia for the Lowy Institute’s Interpreter.


Jeremy Stevens - Program Director

Jeremy Stevens

Jeremy Stevens is Program Director at China Matters. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide, a Master of International Relations from the University of Sydney, and has studied Mandarin in Shanghai at East China Normal University and Jiaotong University. Jeremy has 12 years’ experience in Banking and Finance including four years as a senior treasury and risk management advisor at two local Chinese banks where he managed a range of projects and business-focussed teams. His research interests include the global impact of China’s growing economic power and developments in international financial and security organisations.

Louisa Bochner - Operations Assistant

Louisa Bochner

In 2016, Louisa completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, majoring in Chinese Studies and Philosophy. She has completed two study abroad programmes at Fudan University in Shanghai, 2014 and 2015, and has also studied Middle Eastern Politics in Milan. In 2016, she was elected member to the University of Sydney’s Student Representative Council, and was a finalist in the University of Sydney’s division of the Hult Prize. In 2017 she is returning to the University of Sydney to do her Honours year in Chinese Studies.

Jackson Kwok - Research Assistant

Jackson Kwok

jkwok-portrait Jackson Kwok is a Research Assistant at China Matters. He previously was an intern and Chinese Media Research Consultant with the Lowy Institute for International Policy’s East Asia Program. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Languages) with First Class Honours in Government and International Relations from the University of Sydney. He has also studied Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing and modern Chinese history and foreign policy at Nanjing University. His research interests include Sino-Japanese relations, security in the East and South China Seas, and China’s state media. In addition to Mandarin, he has also studied Japanese and Indonesian.

Zoe Neill - Junior Fellow

Zoe Neill

Zoe is a currently completing a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney, with a double major in Government and International Relations and International Business. She is also completing a Diploma of Language studies majoring in Spanish and Latin American Studies. In 2015, Zoe spent time studying Mandarin at Peking University in Beijing. Last year Zoe represented Australia at the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation CEO and Voices of the Future Summit in Lima, Perú. This year she will be a delegate for the China Australia Millennial Project.

Julia Bergin - Intern

Julia Bergin

Julia is completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Melbourne, with a double major in Politics/International Relations and Criminology. Her research interests include transnational issues, specifically unregulated people movement, and serious and organised crime. During her studies, she was named on the Dean’s Honours list and received a Melbourne Global Scholars award. She recently completed an internship at the national office of the Australian Institute of International Affairs in Canberra, and the parliamentary press gallery with The Australian. She has also participated in ethnographic research delegations to Mexico City and South Africa. With a background in creative arts and travel, Julia has a broad passion for other cultures, with a keen interest in China.

Tony Yu - Intern

Tony Yu

Tony holds a double bachelor degree in Commerce and Economics from the University of New South Wales, majoring in International Business and Financial Economics. He has completed two exchange programs at Queen’s University, Canada and Peking University. He has a keen interest in foreign languages, and has studied French and is fluent in Mandarin. His research interests include international economic policy and the implementation of macroeconomic policies. Tony plans to undertake a Masters of International Relations in Peking University in 2018.


China Matters offers a three month internship program. Please visit our internships page for more information.