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National Council of Australia

National Council of Australia

The National Council aspires to work towards an Australia transformed by compassion and built on justice. This aspiration is outlined in our Strategic Plan 2023-2027

The National Council is instituted by the International Council General and convenes three times a year at the national office located in the Canberra suburb of Deakin.

Members of our National Council include our President and the Presidents of our state councils, our youth representative and office bearers. This is as specified in Article 20 of The Rule—the governing document of the St Vincent de Paul Society, written for members and volunteers.

National Council meetings provide the forum for our state and territory councils to report on their activities, discuss matters of common concern and make decisions on action to be taken. Policy decisions are made at Council meetings.

The National Council President is elected by members of the Council for a period of up to, but not exceeding, four years. Read more in the Constitution of St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Incorporated.

Headshot of Mark Gaetani, he is wearing a white business shirt and a black jacket

National President Mark Gaetani

On 5 March 2023, Mark was officially inducted as the 18th National Council President by Archbishop Christopher Prowse at St Christophers Church in Canberra, after being elected by his peers on 5 November 2022.

Mark is a finance professional having worked for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for 32 years in various roles including branch management, Corporate and Agri-banking specialist and his last role prior to leaving the CBA was Regional Executive Manager.  He is currently Finance Manager for local family-owned finance company – Coogans Tasmania responsible for the Launceston office.

Mark commenced his involvement with the St Vincent de Paul Society in Tasmania as a member in early 2016 and not long following his commencement was asked to take on the role of Treasurer on State Council.  In November 2018 he was elected as President of State Council and then joined the National Council of Australia in January 2019 as the Tasmanian representative on Council.  He is also a member of the National Social Justice Committee and National Audit, Risk and Finance Standing Committee. 

Mark is a strong advocate for the homeless in Tasmania and is committed in ensuring the Society in Tasmania is strategically placed to contribute to increasing housing opportunities for the homeless and those seeking permanent, affordable and safe housing.

Headshot of Warwick Fulton who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

National Deputy President Warwick Fulton

On Sunday March 17 2019, Warwick Fulton was elected as the new Deputy President of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia. Warwick has been a member of the National Council since 2016 following his election as President of the Territory Council of Canberra and Goulburn.

Warwick comes from Caringbah in the Sutherland Shire where he was raised as an only child and educated by the Brothers at De La Salle Caringbah and De La Salle Cronulla.

On finishing school in 1965 Warwick joined the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in Sydney, at a time tax was calculated manually and the Social Security Levy added. (More complex calculations were made by slide rule before the advent of calculators).

Having completed accountancy, Warwick commenced part time law studies through the Barristers Admission Board. 

Warwick progressed to tax auditing of share transactions during the heady days of the Poseidon boom of the 1970s and then to Tax Appeals where he was able to put his legal studies to good use. In 1977 he was admitted as a Barrister and enticed to the ATO in Canberra where he worked until 1993.

Warwick joined the St Vincent de Paul Conference at Kambah in 2008 and the following year became Conference President, a position held until 2011 at which time he became Tuggeranong Regional President until 2012; Vice President for Conferences, Recruitment and Training 2012 to 2016 before his election as Territory Council President in March 2016.

In 1972 Warwick married Marian, the love of his life, together they have three daughters – Temena, Deborah and Gabrielle and seven grandchildren.

Headshot of Sr Teresa Haywood DC who is wearing a white shirt and long silver necklace

Spiritual Advisor Sr Therese Haywood DC

A Daughter of Charity, Sr Therese has been involved with the Society since she was 19. Sr Therese was a youth representative and involved in formation and training in Maitland Newcastle diocese while at university. She has been a member of conferences in Ashfield and Moree and has worked in various social welfare roles, including working with homeless people and people experiencing mental illness.

In 2004 Sr Therese was employed by the Society in Canberra Goulburn as Youth Co-ordinator and remained there for five years where she was also a night patrol co-ordinator for two of those years. 

In 2009/2010 she studied Vincentian spirituality and then returned to Canberra/Goulburn to work in Spirituality. 

Sr Therese has a master’s degree in theology and has a passion for exploring the Vincentian tradition in today’s world.

Headshot of Ryan Erlandsen who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

National Secretary Ryan Erlandsen

Ryan Erlandsen is a Consultant working as a Business Architect for a problem-solving advisory in Canberra. Ryan has over 10 years’ experience working in public, not for profit and private sectors. He consults in a range of ICT, strategic and advisory roles and has a background in Engineering and Enterprise Architecture.
 
Ryan first started volunteering with the Society in 2001 with the Youth Conference in South Australia, providing recreation and respite to vulnerable children and young adults. He joined the State Office as an employee between 2007 and 2011 as an Events Coordinator and later ICT and Database Coordinator. Ryan maintained membership of the Conference, including performing the role of President from 2004-2006 before moving to Canberra in 2011.
 
Upon moving to Canberra, Ryan immediately joined the Society’s Youth Conferences and was appointed to the positions of Treasurer and Vice President in 2012 and President in 2015. He remains an active member and volunteer of the conferences and participates as a member of the National Social Justice Committee. Ryan joined the National Council of Australia as Secretary in 2019.

Headshot of Bernard Meadley who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

National Treasurer Bernard Meadley

Bernard Meadley has been a member of the Society since 2014 and was appointed National Treasurer of the 18th National Council by National President Mark Gaetani. Previously he held the role of Treasurer of the Aranda Conference in Canberra and later joined the Canberra-Goulburn Territory Council as Treasurer in March 2006, he continued in that role until February 2023. During his time at both the Aranda Conference and the Territory Council he also chaired the Audit and Risk, Finance Committees and the Corporate Governance Committee.

Bernard has a strong background in finance and administration, senior executive as well as board positions roles in media, the agriculture sector, innovative stewardship programs and in strategic management consulting services.

A Canberra resident, Bernard is married to Colleen, has three children and six grandchildren all in Canberra. 

He founded a Men’s Group at South Belconnen Parish which is in its 13th year of gatherings. This group provides an outlet for men to gather and talk and share.

Headshot of Patrick Wallis who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

Vice-President, Patrick Wallis

Patrick Wallis began volunteering with Vinnies in 2009 when he joined the Mazenod College Conference. From there, he built on his Vincentian journey through various youth support programs, the Curtin University Conference, WA State Youth Team, National Youth Team, and was appointed in 2015 to the WA State Council in the role of State Youth Representative.

Patrick is currently completing his Honours in Chemical Engineering at Curtin University and works as Assistant Manager of Palace Cinemas Raine Square. He hopes in the future to found a social enterprise specialty bar in Perth to support young people experiencing homelessness.

Headshot of Matt Nunan who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

Vice-President Matt Nunan

With several years of experience in the private sector both here and abroad, Matthew Nunan is a strategic managerial and finance professional. He is also a strong advocate in the not-for-profit arena particularly in the area of social justice, highlighting issues experienced by people who are marginalised or in need and suggesting initiatives for government consideration.

Matthew is a Queensland based Vincentian with experience as Queensland State Council Vice President for seven years.  He is currently Chair of the National Social Justice Advisory Committee (NSJAC) and has held National and Queensland committee roles in in Disaster Assistance, Social Justice, Finance and Risk Committees.  Matt is also Chair of the Membership, Mission and Spirituality Standing Committee. In 2021, Matthew was awarded the Vincentian Cross for service to St Vincent de Paul Queensland.

Matthew is a member of CPA Australia and holds MBA (Macquarie Uni), B. Bus (QUT) and B. Arts (UQ) degrees.

A man in a blue Vinnies t-shirt and wearing glasses, smiling and facing the camera - head and shoulders.

Canberra/Goulburn Territory President Kym Duggan

Kym has been a member of the Society for over nine years, of which he has been the President of the Campbell Conference for the past five years and an adviser or Vice President Social Justice and Advocacy for the last seven years. Kym is particularly proud of presiding over the development of the Society’s first Reconciliation Action Plan and our first ACT Election Statement in 2020.

Kym has a passion for social justice and worked as the First Assistant Secretary of the Social Justice Division of the Attorney-General’s Department. In 2007 Kym was awarded the Public Service Medal for his work in family law and is currently a Commissioner of Legal Aid ACT. Importantly, Kym sees conference support and regional growth through the Society’s support offices and the forming of the ACT Case management team as welcome initiatives that we need to cement and expand upon.

Headshot of Paul Burton who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

New South Wales State President Paul Burton

Paul has been a member of the Society for over 35 years. He has served as Conference President, Centres President and Regional President in south-western Sydney. He currently holds the positions of Conference President  (St Patrick's West Tamworth) and Armidale Diocesan Central Council President.

Paul spent his working life mainly as a logistics manager in road, rail, sea and air freight, providing transport, warehousing and distribution services to the general, food, agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.

Paul is married to Jennifer, has four children and is a member of Rotary.

Headshot of Trish McMahon who wears a black shirt and white jacket

Queensland State President Trish McMahon

The Vincentian mission is in Patricia (Trish) McMahon’s blood, her father was a Vincentian in both Warwick and Toowoomba, a man of great leadership who inspired Trish. She commenced her Vincentian journey with St Stephen’s Conference, there were three Members at the time.  She loves and is committed to the St Vincent de Paul Society and the work carried out for those less fortunate in our community.

Trish has served as a Conference President - Regional Council, BDCC Secretary and Treasurer and currently Diocesan Council President as well as on the State Council. 

Through her work on Diocesan and State Council, Trish see’s the need to continue with the previous Presidents’ legacies of ensuring we are true to our identity, to not sacrifice our identity in the name of progress but to find creative ways of adapting while remaining true to who we are. It is her belief that we need to nurture the spiritual welfare of our members/volunteers and staff by sharing their skills and talents to enhance the richness of our Society. She would particularly like to continue to encourage our youth and believes our future membership is in great hands with our Youth Teams.

Trish grew up in Warwick and is 1 of 9 children, she is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 6.  She has worked in business administration, financial advice and is a professionally trained Authorised Civil Celebrant.

“As a Servant leader, it is good and well for me to have a vision, but I would like to express my belief that is truly for “us” to discern the vision together.”  Trish McMahon.

Headshot of Michael Quinn who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

Victorian State President Michael Quinn

Michael Quinn was elected Victorian State President on 19 February 2022. Michael Quinn’s involvement with St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria began in 1992 when he joined the Langwarrin Conference. Most recently, Michael has spent the past four years as Deputy State President.

Michael has worn many hats in the Society. In addition to his local volunteer work, he Chairs the Retail Advisory Committee, is a Board member of the St Vincent de Paul Victoria Board, VincentCare Victoria, VincentCare Community Housing and was the Bendigo Regional President. 

Michael is an active member of his community and believes in engaging young people and harnessing the youthful spirit of the Society's Mini Vinnies and College Conferences. He passionately believes that young people are the future of the Society in Australia.

Among Michael’s proudest achievements has been establishing the East Timor Scholarship Fund at Comoro Technical College in Dili in 2001, which provides 50 scholarships a year. 

Headshot of Brad Hocking who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

South Australian State President Brad Hocking

Brad Hocking says his time as a Vincentian began with ‘a mistake’ but he has only fond memories of his time with the Society which began when his youth group found itself double-booked at a church hall… the other group turned out to be the Vinnies conference from the Adelaide suburb of Seacombe Gardens. 

Despite volunteering roles with sporting clubs and growing up in a disadvantaged suburb, Brad was largely unaware of the community work done by Vinnies volunteers. Their spirit and dedication to helping people in need impressed him, and soon he became a member. 

A chance encounter later found Brad sitting next to then-SA State President Cathy Beaton whose mentoring would help him to eventually take on the role himself in October 2020.

Brad says the spirituality of the Society is a source of nourishment  – ‘My faith journey and my Vinnies journey are intrinsically linked. Our staff, members and volunteers constantly impress me with their dedication and commitment to the Society and our companions.’

Brad and his wife have four young children and the family enjoys Vinnies events and bargain hunting at our shops. They have a 10:1 sustainability policy - the kids must donate 10 toys to buy one each.

Brad works as a consultant engineer at Copperleaf Technologies. He has a strong focus on innovation and was awarded one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers Award for 2020 by Engineers Australia.

Headshot of Corey McGrath who wears a white business shirt and black jacket

Tasmanian State President Corey McGrath

Corey McGrath joined the Sacred Heart Conference in Ulverstone in 2016 and has served as a members of the Tasmanian State Council since the start of 2019. He was elected as State President of the St Vincent de Paul (Tasmania) in January 2023.

Corey brings more than 25 years experience working with and assuming leadership roles, including as Chair of the Launceston Tornadoes, an independent board member of NOSS Tasmania Inc, as President of Scouts Tasmania and Vice-Chair of the board of Scouts Australia.

He has extensive professional experience in related industries, including past and current roles as a non-executive director, a financial markets advisor, business manager, and in information technology.

Corey lives on a small property in North West Tasmania with his wife Sam and their two teenage sons.

Headshot of Jocelyn Cull who wears a white business shirt and white jacket

Northern Territory President Jocelyn Cull

Jocelyn is the President of the St Vincent de Paul Society (NT). She first joined the Society in 2015 and has been a member of the Northern Territory Council, President of St Mary’s Conference and a member of the National Social Justice Committee.  She has also been heavily involved in the management of emergency relief special works for the Northern Territory.

Jocelyn works in local government and is a qualified lawyer.  She has extensive experience dealing with government, private sector and not-for-profit organisations.  Her areas of interest include administrative law, governance, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement.

Headshot of David Kennedy who is wearing a white business shirt, blue and grey striped tie and a blue jacket

Western Australian State President David Kennedy

David Kennedy is Western Australian State President on the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council. David became a proud Vincentian ten years ago and is currently the State Council President of the St Vincent de Paul WA Council, former Regional President Perth and an active member of St Joseph’s Conference Subiaco. 
 
He retired four years ago after a lengthy career in the real estate industry, his last position being senior director, hotel and land sales, with the national CBRE agency.
 
David Kennedy and his wife Noeline have four daughters and seven grandchildren, and are members of St Joseph’s Parish, Subiaco. He is a keen sportsman (golf, swimming, cycling), a talented artist and with his brother Michael the author of a recently published book, Charles Washing and Racist Furniture, which recounts the history of a Chinese ancestor who migrated to the Victorian goldfields in the 19th century.