Presiding Member

Jane Abbey

Jane is the Committee’s Presiding Member. The Minister for Education appointed Jane to this position on 24 January 2022. As a barrister, Jane brings extensive legal and advocacy expertise and skill to the work of child death review. She has a keen interest in human rights, domestic violence and Aboriginal issues, and a commitment to the rights and best interests of children and young people. Jane was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 2001. Her work is predominantly in criminal, worker’s compensation, disciplinary and coronial matters.


Mike Ahern
Mike holds expert knowledge in issues related to the care and protection of children through work in the Youth Court and as Chief Legal Advisor in the child protection system, where he provided advice in areas of youth justice, child protection and adoption. As Chairperson of the Privacy Committee of SA, Mike’s legal advice was a key component leading to South Australia’s adoption of the Information Sharing Guidelines – providing a systematic and practical framework, allowing practitioners to share information that protects the safety of children and young people. In 2016 Mike was awarded a PhD in law and government, focusing on the use of personal knowledge and belief by jurors and juries. He retired from the legal profession in 2018.
Carmela Bastian
Carmela is a social work practitioner, researcher and educator. She is a lecturer in Social Work at Flinders University, responsible for the child protection portfolio within social work and the university. She contributes to research projects undertaken by Flinders University’s Social Work Innovation Research Living Space (SWIRLS) focusing on the intersection of domestic and family violence and child protection. Carmela has held senior positions in the Department for Child Protection. She is committed to building social work practice excellence and improving outcomes for children, young people and families who experience complexity.
Mark Fuller
Mark is a general practitioner working both in general practice and for Drug and Alcohol Services SA where he works in a team that regularly deals with the effects of drug and alcohol use on children and young people. He worked for 15 years in an adolescent health service, including with young people in detention. The effects that mental health and drug and alcohol problems have on the lives of young people and their families, and the ways in which these problems may contribute to the death of young people, is of particular interest to him.
Margaret Kyrkou
Margaret is a general practitioner who specialises in disability and developmental delay. Margaret has dedicated her professional life to teaching, research, advocacy and providing specialised clinical care to people with intellectual and developmental delays. Margaret’s expertise in the health care of children, young people and adults with disability has led to teaching and other professional roles in Australia and internationally. For her services to children and young people with disability Margaret was awarded an OAM in 2001.
Kathy Moar
Kathy is a clinical psychologist whose practice focuses on assessment, diagnosis and intervention services for infants, children, adolescents, adults and families. She currently works across public health, university and private practice settings, including supervision and project work at the Flinders Medical Centre’s Child Protection Service and clinical lecturing at Charles Darwin University. Kathy’s experience and skills in clinical psychology and inter-disciplinary child and family psychology work are grounded within a relationship-based and ecological context, acknowledging the importance of connected systems to support young people. Kathy appreciates how a child or young person’s individual differences, as well as the role of context and experiences, impact on day-to-day functioning.
Kurt Towers
Kurt is the Executive Director of Aboriginal Health for the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, and a registered Aboriginal Health Practitioner. Kurt has extensive experience in the Aboriginal health and wellbeing fields leading executive roles within mental health, aged care and Aboriginal health in various metropolitan and remote settings. Kurt is vice president of Kidsafe SA and is passionate in leading and supporting strategies to reduce the incidence of unintentional injuries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Deirdre White
Deirdre has over 30 years’ experience as a paediatrician. This has involved community paediatrics, acute care paediatrics, child protection and, for the past 10 years, developmental paediatrics at WCH. She has practised in the community and public hospital settings. Her work has also included the teaching of undergraduate medical students and post graduate paediatric trainees as well as sitting on national committees of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. She has strong interests in equity of care and the ability of services to address this issue at both micro- and macro-systems levels.
Rhiannon Pilkington

Rhiannon is a senior research fellow in the School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, as a part of the BetterStart Health and Development research group led by Professor John Lynch. She is an epidemiologist with expertise in translational research, data analytics, and linked administrative data. Her research focusses on informing how we can ensure every child, young person and family in disadvantaged circumstances receives the support they need. Rhiannon works with government and non-government organisations across Australia, using their data to bring a public health perspective to service design and delivery.

Catherine Turnbull
Catherine Turnbull is the Chief Child Protection Officer for the Department for Health and Wellbeing, South Australia, leading the governance, models of care and practice reforms for Child Protection Services across SA Health. Catherine liaises and consults with health, child protection, human services, education and police colleagues and consumers, Aboriginal services and children, and key stakeholders such as the Commissioner for Children and Young People, the Guardian for Children and Young People in Care, and the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People. She Co-chairs National Strategy on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse Committees, the SA Health and SAPOL’s Joint Investigation Teams Committee and is Chair of the SA Health Child Protection and Policy Board.
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