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The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust & The University of Queensland 2 mins read

Leading minds from across Australia are gathering at Parliament House today for the annual Churchill summit as they tackle the country’s biggest challenges, including housing, homelessness, mental health and youth crime.


CEO of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Dr Rachael Coghlan said the initiative brought Churchill Fellows together to share their expertise and broaden Australia’s policy platform.


“Our Fellows are renowned for their critical thinking, which is more important than ever before due to the many challenges Australia is currently facing.  State, Territory and Federal governments are having to make quick policy decisions that have long-term and wide-ranging implications, with little time to develop the policy foundation that will ensure positive change and sustained success,” Dr Coghlan said.


“The Winston Churchill Trust was established in 1965 with the specific purpose of enriching Australia and, 59 years on, that mission has never been more important.”


The Churchill Policy Room event is part of the Policy Impact Program, a partnership between the University of Queensland and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which showcases the research and recommendations of Churchill Fellows working in policy reform. 


“By bringing these bright minds together in a forum like the Churchill Policy Room, we benefit from their insights and ideas across industries and sectors, which fuels a policy agenda that governments can rely on and build on for future success,” Dr Coghlan said. 


The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has partnered with the University of Queensland to develop the flagship publication Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda. This publication features succinct and timely policy articles written by Churchill Fellows and will be released at today’s event.


The Trust provides Churchill Fellows with resources to travel overseas and investigate their industry’s international best practices.  Over the past six decades, almost 5,000 Australians have received a Fellowship, bringing back incredible insights from their travels around the world and contributing to the rich fabric of Australian society with their learnings.


“We send our Fellows overseas to investigate better ways of doing things and incorporate that into their knowledge and expertise so that when they come back to Australia, they can make a significant contribution to bettering our way of life,” Dr Coghlan said.


The eight Churchill Fellows and their areas of focus showcased at the Churchill Policy Room are:

  • Leanne Mitchell (Victoria): Place-based homelessness prevention – a role for local government.
  • Glen Blackwell (Western Australia): Simplifying access to Behavioural Health Crisis and Suicide Support.
  • John Chesterman (Victoria): Supporting and safeguarding at-risk adults.
  • Kate Bjur (Queensland): Reconnecting young people with their communities to reduce reoffending after release from youth detention.
  • Victoria Cornell (South Australia): A culture shift towards better affordable housing policy and development options for older Australians


  • Matthew Wilson (Victoria): Improving the lifelong trajectory of Australian infants who enter out-of-home care through an evidence-based Specialist Infant Court.
  • David Cowan (Victoria): Evidence-based policing: Shifting the focus to evidence of what works in community safety.
  • Margie Danchin (Victoria): Embedding social and behavioural science expertise in public health decision-making within the interim Australian CDC.


For more information on the Fellows featured in Policy Futures: A Reform Agenda, please visit: 


About us:

For nearly 60 years, the Winston Churchill Trust has flown talented Australians around the globe to pursue their passion and bring their knowledge home. Churchill Fellows are people from all walks of life and all sectors; the arts, science, health, agriculture, and beyond. The breadth of topics for Churchill Fellowships is limitless.  

Contact details:

Media contact: Matt Neagle | 0408 207 256 |

Isabelle Colla | 0432970548



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