Australian Institute of Criminology

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Criminology Research Advisory Council

The Criminology Research Act 1971 provides that the Council is to consist of nine members, comprising a representative of the Commonwealth and of each state and territory.

Council Members

As at 1 January 2017

Commonwealth - Ms Anna Harmer

Anna Harmer is the Acting First Assistant Secretary, Criminal Justice Policy and Programmes Division, in the Attorney-General’s Department.

Western Australia - appointment vacant

Acting: Ms Pauline Bagdonavicius, Acting Director General, Department of the Attorney General, Western Australia

Tasmania - appointment vacant

Acting: Mr Simon Overland, Secretary, Department of Justice, Tasmania

South Australia - appointment vacant

Acting: Ms Caroline Mealor, Acting Chief Executive, Attorney General's Department, South Australia


Chair - Ms Julia Griffith

Julia Griffith

Julia Griffith is the Deputy Secretary, Corrections, in the Victorian Department of Justice.  She is responsible for providing high-level advice in the areas of corrections policy, operations, health services, and crime prevention policy.

Ms Griffith has previously been involved in managing Victoria’s juvenile justice system, monitoring the State’s correctional services and redeveloping its child protection placement and support services. During her career, Ms Griffith has also been responsible for implementing the Victorian Government’s employment programs focusing on assisting the most disadvantaged job seekers in our community.
Her career achievements have been built on a strong background in youth work, research, training and community development, as well as roles in the private sector.  Ms Griffith holds a Bachelor of Arts (Youth Affairs) and a Diploma (Youth Work).


Deputy Chair - Ms Jennifer Lang

Jennifer Lang

Jennifer Lang is the Acting Deputy Director-General, Justice Services in the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney-General. She is responsible for a diverse range of business units including the courts, tribunals and commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management, Dispute Resolution Branch, Justices of the Peace Branch and Victim Assist Queensland. 

Prior to her current role, Ms Lang was the Assistant Director-General, Strategic Policy and Legal Services in the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.  In this role Ms Lang was responsible for providing policy advice to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice on a range of issues, overseeing an extensive legislative policy agenda and for the implementation of key Government commitments. 

Ms Lang holds a Bachelor of Laws with honours and a graduate diploma in legal practice and is admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court and High Court. She has almost 10 years’ experience as a solicitor in private practice as well as over 15 years’ experience in the public sector.


Mr Greg Shanahan

Greg Shanahan

Greg Shanahan commenced work in the NT Attorney-General’s Department in 1996 as a commercial lawyer. He was appointed Registrar-General in September 1998 and Public Trustee for the NT in March 1999. He was made Executive Director of the Court Support Services division in 2002 and subsequently became Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the department.

Mr Shanahan became Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Justice in July 2006, and continued as Chief Executive of the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice when it was formed in September 2012. He holds a Bachelor of Economics from Flinders University and a Bachelor of Laws awarded from the University of Queensland. 


Mr Rick Persse

Rick Persse

Chief Executive, Attorney-General’s department, South Australia

Rick Persse was appointed Chief Executive in August 2012.

He has significant public  and private sector experience, having worked in a variety of central and line agencies at senior executive levels and as the State Government and Health Leader for Big 4 Consulting firm, PwC.

Mr Persse has deep experience in public sector issues/challenges around change, strategy and capability, risk, governance, project leadership and functional effectiveness. Rick has also significant experience with policy development and evaluation at a State and National level.

He was formerly Executive Director Justice Business Services leading a variety of major projects across the public safety and emergency services arena. He is a former Deputy Member of the State Emergency Management Committee.


Mr Brendan Thomas

Brendan Thomas

Brendan Thomas was appointed to his current role, Assistant Director General for Crime Prevention and Community Programs in September 2007. Brendan is responsible for Criminal Diversion and Crime Prevention activity for the Department, including oversight of the Crime Prevention Division, Anti-Discrimination Board, the Aboriginal Programs Division, the Diversity Services and the Victims Services Division.

Mr Thomas has worked in crime prevention and criminal justice for more than 17 years and has written widely on crime prevention and Aboriginal justice issues.


Ms Alison Playford

Alison Playford

Alison Playford has 20 years experience in the Commonwealth public sector in a range of positions in the Department of Finance, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Attorney General’s Department.  These included the areas of native title, indigenous litigation, family law, administrative law, federal courts and tribunals.  She has been in the ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate as a Deputy Director-General since 2010 and as the Director-General since 2014.