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Monash Experts: Summer holiday season

Monash University 9 mins read

Monash University experts are available for comment on a range of topics relating to festivities and the summer season, politics, climate and bushfires, health, energy, electrification, electric vehicles charging, cybersecurity, road safety, retail and spending, online safety, gambling and more.





Jennifer Macklin, Research Fellow, BehaviorWorks, Monash Sustainable Development Institute 
Contact: +61 422 969 886 or

  • The extensive waste over the Christmas season and recycling solutions
  • Insights into Australia’s waste industry and unique expertise in the application of behavioural insights to household recycling and other resource efficiency practices.


Dr Debbie Ling, Lecturer, Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies

Contact: Debbie.Ling@monash.ed

  • How to show compassion
  • Being compassionate this festive season
  • Compassion training
  • Virtue ethics
  • Common humanity


Professor Craig Hassed OAM, Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies


*Professor Hassed's availability will be limited between 15 December - 15 January.

  • Mindfulness therapy
  • Navigating tricky conversations with mindfulness over the holiday season




Dr Philip Mendes, Department of Social Work


Read Dr Mendes’ commentary at Monash Lens

  • Young adults transitioning from out-of-home care (foster care, kinship care or residential care)
  • Conditional welfare such as compulsory income management
  • Medically supervised injecting facilities
  • Policies to address poverty and inequality such as the Jobseeker rate for the unemployed.

The following can be attributed to Dr Mendes:

“To be effective, Labor’s recently announced independent panel to review the adequacy of social security payments should adopt a co-designed approach to social security policy development that would enable the direct participation of low income Australians in formal decision making processes. 


“That approach would necessarily require the creation of a peer support workforce of people with lived experience of poverty based within key government and non-government policy and program institutions operating in a similar fashion to the significant peer workforces well established in areas such as mental health, drugs and alcohol, family violence and out-of-home care.”




Professor Tony Capon, Director, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Contact: +61 478 698 198 or
Read more of Professor Capon’s commentary at Monash Lens  

Professor Capon has been prominent in the nexus between climate and health in Australia for many years and in 2017, he co-founded the MJA-Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change to track progress in Australia. 

  • How extreme weather patterns are impacting human health - the emerging pattern of the interconnection between human health and planetary health
  • Preparing the health care sector for the global climate emergency
  • The emergence of unprecedented national catastrophes - bushfires, increasing temperatures and current floods in Australia.

Briony Rogers, CEO, Fire to Flourish, Monash Sustainable Development Institute,
Eka Permanasari 


  • Empowering communities for wellbeing and disaster resilience
  • Viewing communities as experts in their own lived experience and in ways to improve and sustain their health and wellbeing at times of crisis


Bhiamie Eckford-Williamson, Research Fellow, Fire to Flourish, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Bhiamie is an expert on Indigenous land management and cultural burning, Indigenous people in disasters and Indigenous governance.

  • Insufficient response by emergency services and NGOs to support Indigenous communities
  • The importance of understanding the unique needs of Indigenous people in the event of a natural disaster
  • The importance of Indigenous Peoples’ intergenerational knowledge, practices and leadership in climate action and in stewarding planetary health

Dr Adriana Keating, Research Fellow, Fire to Flourish, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Contact: +61 413 139 124 or

  • Disaster resilience at the science-policy-practice interface.
  • How to utilise systems analysis, and measurement and decision-support methodologies to conceptualise and effect change in disaster resilience both in Australia and internationally.

Dr Kim Reid, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Contact details:
Read more of Dr Reid’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Extreme rainfall and flooding
  • Synoptic weather systems
  • Tropical-extratropical interactions
  • Atmospheric rivers


Associate Professor Ailie Gallant, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Contact details:
Read more of Associate Professor Gallant’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Drought, and precipitation variability and precipitation extremes. 
  • Characterising variability and trends in characteristics of drought, extreme precipitation, and extreme heat using observations and climate models
  • Palaeoclimate investigations to place recent droughts in a longer-term context
  • Understanding what causes droughts to start and end, with a particular focus of the role of changes in weather systems during droughts. 


Dr Ariaan Purich, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment (and SAEF)
Read more of Dr Purich’s research at Monash Lens 

  • Ocean-atmosphere-sea ice interactions across the Southern Hemisphere, with a particular focus on Antarctic and Southern Ocean climate variability and change
  • Investigating drivers of the current low sea ice around Antarctica and examining the sensitivity of climate responses to different Antarctic meltwater projections



Associate Professor Roger Dargaville, Deputy Director, Monash Energy Institute

Contact details: +61 416 528 437 or 

Read more of Professor Dargaville’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Electrification of homes (and getting off gas)
  • Electric vehicles charging options - benefits of 'destination' charging (sharing at work/shopping centre)
  • Energy policy at state and federal levels
  • Extreme events and energy infrastructure - heatwaves, bushfires
  • Hydrogen production pathways and uses (green ammonia, green iron, steel)



Dr Pearl Subban, Senior Lecturer Educational Psychology and Inclusive Education, Monash Education 

Contact details:

Read more from Dr Subban on Monash Lens

  • Students starting tertiary education in 2024 and other education issues

Dr Erin Leif, Senior Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Education, Monash University 


Read more from Dr  Leif on Monash Lens

  • How to help ease your child back into school mode after the holidays
  • Improving your child’s reading abilities before they head back to school
  • The importance of monitoring/controlling children’s screen-time over the holiday season 

Dr Russell Fox, Lecturer in the School of Educational Psychology and Counselling Faculty of Education, Monash University 


Read more from Dr Fox on Monash Lens

  • How to help ease your child back into school mode after the holidays
  • Improving your child’s reading abilities before they head back to school
  • The importance of monitoring/controlling children’s screen-time over the holiday season 



Professor Luke Beck, Faculty of Law
Contact details:  

Read more of Associate Professor Beck’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Constitutional law
  • Religious freedom



Professor Monica Whitty, Head of Department of Software Systems & Cybersecurity, Faculty of Information Technology

Contact details: +61 450 501 248 or 

  • Detecting and preventing online scams 
  • Human factors of cybersecurity
  • Online security risk

Professor Nigel Phair, Department of Software Systems & Cybersecurity

Contact details: +61 408 437 056 or  

  • Impact of cybercrime
  • Governance of technology
  • Intersection of technology, crime and society

Professor Carsten Rudolph, Department of Software Systems and Cybersecurity

Contact details: 

Read more of Professor Rudolph’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Cybersecurity in the Pacific region
  • Security protocols 
  • Network security 

Professor Jon Rouse, Ai for community safety and law enforcement (AiLECS) Lab

Contact details: +61 416 120 663 or  

  • Using technology to fight child sexual exploitation
  • Increase in online sexploitation and measures needed to curb it 
  • Extensive experience in the Queensland Police Force related to child protection as part of Task Force Argos




Professor Sarah Pink, Director Emerging Technologies Research Lab

Read Professor Pink’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Design anthropologist
  • Impact of emerging technologies on the future of work, energy, transport systems and health

Dr Delvin Varghese, Department of Human-Centred Computing
Contact: +61 435 192 331

  • IT for social good
  • Designing technology for rural and/or marginalised groups

Professor Juliana Sutanto, Department of Human-Centred Computing

Contact details: *Professor Sutanto is currently in Indonesia but is available via email:  

Read Professor Sutanto’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Emergency systems in Indonesia 
  • Building resilient community and information systems 

Dr Jathan Sadowski, Emerging Technologies Research Lab
Read Dr Sadowski’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • The social impacts of AI and automated decision-making
  • How AI is changing major industries like finance, insurance and real estate

Professor Jon McCormack, Director, SensiLab

*Professor McCormack is available for comment except between 20 December and 7 January
Read Professor McCormack’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Intersection of art and technology
  • Generative art
  • Computer-generated music 



Dr Eloise Zoppos, ACRS Research & Engagement Director, Australian Consumer and Retail Studies (ACRS), Department of Marketing, Monash Business School 


  • Christmas shopping
  • Boxing Day sales
  • Seasonal shopping
  • Consumer and retail trends




Associate Professor David Logan, Monash University Accident Research Centre

Contact details: +61 419 103 377 or 

  • In-depth crash investigations and vehicle crashworthiness
  • Road safety strategies;
  • Advanced driver assistance systems
  • Safety of self-driving and automated vehicles

Not available 25 December 2023


Emeritus Professor Brian Fildes, Monash University Accident Research Centre

Contact details: +61 419 375 909 or

  • Autonomous vehicles
  • General road and automotive safety
  • Highway design,
  • Speeding and speed limits
  • Older drivers and child safety in and around vehicles


Emeritus Professor Max Cameron, Monash University Accident Research Centre

Contact details: +61 417 331 762 or

  • Alcohol and driving
  • Helmet laws
  • Vehicle crashworthiness
  • Speeding and speed limits



Associate Professor Michael Brown, School of Physics and Astronomy

Contact details: 

Read Professor Brown’s recent commentary at Monash Lens

  • Satellites polluting the night sky
  • Space travel




Dr Mehrdad Arashpour, Department of Civil Engineering

Contact details: +61 423 597 027 or
Read more of Dr Arashpour’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Construction accidents and safety
  • Construction Waste Management
  • Worker health and safety
  • Accidents and injuries on sites




Professor Kate Fitz-Gibbon, Director of the Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

Contact details: 

Read more of Professor Fitz-Gibbon’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Violence against women, family violence and intimate partner violence, 
  • Responses to coercive control, including policy reform and criminalisation
  • Femicide and family homicide, including the killing of women and children
  • Children and young people's experiences of violence, including adolescent family violence 
  • Australia's National Plan to end Violence against Women
  • Increased safety risk of violence for women and children during the Christmas period


Associate Professor Sharyn Davies, Director of the Herb Feith Indonesian Engagement Centre, Faculty of Arts

Contact details:

Read more of Associate Professor Davies’ commentary at Monash Lens

  • Issues relating to Indonesia
  • COVID-19 social issues 
  • Gender and sexuality in Australia



Dr Gemma Sharp, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Read more of Dr Sharp’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Popular weight loss medications (e.g. Ozempic) and body image concerns, eating disorder risk
  • Weight stigma in healthcare - people in larger bodies avoiding healthcare owing to body shaming
  • Artificial intelligence in healthcare - AI psychologist assistants - benefits and risks
  • New trends in cosmetic procedures (including the new healthcare referral pathways introduced in 2023)
  • Impacts of social media (TikTok, Instagram) on body image
  • Eating disorders around the holiday season/Christmas
  • New Year resolutions around body image, weight and diet
  • Body image concerns/eating disorders across the lifespan (particular risk periods like perimenopause and menopause)
  • New intensive eating disorder treatment facilities in Victoria - new co-design with lived experience and expected benefits


Professor Jayashri Kulkarni AM, Professor of Psychiatry and Director HER Centre Australia, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences


Read more of Professor Kulkarni’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Mental health, family stress over Christmas, children, anything about asylum seekers and child detention 
  • Why mental illness can worsen during the festive season

Professor Kulkarni is Director of the Monash University HER Centre - dedicated to Health, Education and Research to improve women’s mental health. HER Centre is campaigning for important reforms to women's mental health:

  • 12 specialist women's mental health clinics for Victoria
  • New clinical trials of new treatments
  • GP and public education on best practice when diagnosing and treating women's mental health conditions


Dr Rosanne Freak-Poli, Senior Researcher, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences


  • New year resolutions
  • Socialising is good for your health
  • Social isolation and loneliness are heightened during the festive season


The following quotes can be attributed to Dr Freak-Poli:

“New evidence has emerged to show how socialising is good for preventing cardiovascular disease and dementia. Socialising can now be considered a risk factor for chronic disease.


“Medical and health care professionals are starting to write scripts for social activities. This phenomenon is called social prescribing, where non-medicalised treatments are incorporated into health care.


“Neighbourhood houses, libraries and some councils have free activities for you to attend, as well as other activities with a small cost. Socialising can be added to your new year's resolutions. You may consider starting a new group activity or hobby, calling someone more regularly, or making time for a special friend.”




Professor Wendy Brown, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Contact details: 

  • Obesity and new treatments
  • Maintaining healthy weight-loss goals over Christmas 

Dr Michael Lydeamore, Infectious disease modeller, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Contact details:

  • Epidemiological modelling in Australia


Associate Professor Charles Livingstone, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Contact details:  

Read more of Dr Livingstone’s commentary at Monash Lens  

  • Problem gambling during the festive season

The following quotes can be attributed to Dr Livingstone:

“Christmas and New Year celebrations can be very difficult for many. Gambling habits loom as a response to emotional and other trauma, and many will struggle.


“Christmas functions held in gambling venues can represent a major problem for people struggling to overcome gambling harm. People organising end of year work outings need to select venues carefully.


“Scratch lottery tickets are sometimes seen as a low cost gift option at Christmas. But they can induce gambling in young people, and cause problems for those struggling with gambling harm.”



Dr Zareh Ghazarian, School of Social Sciences

Contact details: 
Read more of Dr Ghazarian’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • General national and state political commentary


Dr Tom Heenan, Lecturer, Sport and Australian Studies in the Monash Intercultural Lab, Faculty of Arts


Read more of Dr Heenan’s commentary at Monash Lens

  • Spun dry: Despite the Australian Open and Boxing Day Test, Melbourne no longer can be spun as the world’s or indeed Australia’s sporting capital. The Commonwealth Games fiasco has seen to that. Brisbane now has greater claims though it must be careful. The sporting capital tag can spin dry a city’s finances.
  • Australia’s South Asian cricket heartlands: South Asian migration is changing the culture of Australian club cricket. Increased South Asian participation at club level, informal competitions, and year round fixtures are placing pressure on municipal authorities to meet the need for sporting space. It reflects the growing ‘Indianization’ of Australian cricket at the local level. 
  • Gen f(ranchise): Has the BBL changed traditional cricketing loyalties. Will a generation raised on brand loyalty to a franchise supplant traditional ties to the Baggy Green?
  • Who is Johnny Mullagh? The Boxing Day Test medal is named after Johnny Mullagh, the outstanding player of the 1868 Aboriginal cricket team to England. Given that very little is known of Mullagh and few Indigenous players have represented Australia, is this virtue signalling?


The Monash University closedown period runs from Thursday 21 December 2023 through to Tuesday 2 January 2024. During this time we cannot guarantee availability of academic staff.


For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact Monash University Media on +61 3 9903 4840 or For more news, thought leadership and opinion, visit Monash Lens.


We wish you a happy and safe festive season and thank you for your support throughout 2023.

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