People Watch: June July 2013


People Watch June July 2013: Movements, promotions and new appointments in the Australia China Business Community.

In January, the Jiangsu Provincial government conferred Victorian MP Ken Smith (pictured) with the title of Honorary Citizen of Jiangsu Province for his contribution to enhancing Sino-Australia links and advancing co-operation between Jiangsu and the state of Victoria. Ken Smith is the Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly and the Member for Bass. Victoria and the affluent eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu have shared a sister-state relationship since 1979.
The title adds to Mr Smith’s already large collection of accolades for his role in enhancing business links between China and Australia. Mr Smith was the first Australian Citizen to be awarded Honorary Citizenship to Shandong province in 2004.
Mr Smith is the inaugural Chairman of the Victorian Parliamentary China Friendship Group, a member of the Australia / China Friendship Society (Victorian Division) and has led and hosted a number of business and parliamentary delegations to and from China since 1995.

geoff_raby_thumbnailFormer Australian ambassador to China, Dr Geoff Raby was recently awarded the title of honorary citizen of Chengdu – capital of China’s western Sichuan province – in recognition of his contribution to the development of relations between the region and Australia.
Dr Raby is the Chairman and CEO of Geoff Raby & Associates – a Beijing-based business advisory firm. Since leaving the diplomatic corp, Dr Raby has been appointed to a number of Australian companies including as chairman of ASX-listed Smart Trans Ltd, and an Independent Director on the boards of Fortescue Mining Group, OceanaGold and Yancoal Australia. He is also Co-Chair of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s China Business Practice, Senior Advisor to Kreab Gavin Anderson, and Vice Chairman of Macquarie Group China.
Serving as Australian Ambassador to China between 2007 and 2011, Dr Raby has helped to facilitate economic, cultural, educational and other links across a vast array sectors in strengthening the China-Australia relationship.
Sichuan remains one of Dr Raby’s most frequently visited Chinese provinces and he has been commended for promoting Chengdu and the region at high profile conferences and forums.

peter_kerr_asialink_thumbPeter Kerr
is Asialink’s NSW Executive Director, in charge of expanding Asialink’s presence in NSW following the launch of its Sydney office in March. Peter is also Asialink’s Communications Director. He was previously Executive Editor at The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, responsible for overseeing ethics and standards and handling all legal and complaints issues. He was Foreign Editor at the Herald for five years, in charge of overseas correspondents and the coverage of all foreign news. Peter has been a journalist for more than 30 years, reporting, editing and sub-editing in Australia and Britain for newspapers, magazines and Australian Associated Press. He has an Honours degree in English literature and history and has studied Indonesian language and culture.

natalie_cope_asialink_bw_thumbNatalie Cope
is Asialink’s Manager of Partnerships and Development, also based in Sydney. Natalie was previously a litigation lawyer with international firm DLA Piper, prior to which she worked in Beijing as a trainee lawyer with one of China’s premier law firms assisting in advising Chinese clients with their investments in foreign jurisdictions and helping to advise international entities on their operations in China. She has completed Mandarin language studies at Tsinghua University. While completing her BA/LLB (Honours), Natalie participated in a number of academic exchanges including Mandarin studies at Shanghai International Studies University. Outside Asialink, Natalie is Deputy Director of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue and co-director of the Sydney chapter of the Australia China Young Professionals Initiative.
elise_mallory_headshot_asialink_thumbElise Mallory is Asialink’s new Communications Officer, a role that includes website development, brand awareness and promotion, and social media engagement. She previously held positions in the government, tertiary and NGO sectors including managing the communications for an international not-for-profit organisation with projects based in Thailand and Timor Leste. Elise holds a BA in Applied Science of Communication and specialises in online communication.
julie-anne_nichols_2013_thumbMs Julie-Anne Nichols has relocated from Singapore to Guangzhou to take up the role of Australian Trade Commissioner in Guangzhou, heading up Austrade’s South China network. Julie-Anne has over a decade of experience working in the field of international trade promotion and facilitation, both at the State and Federal government level. Her primary focus has been greater China and South East Asia.  Her career prior to joining the public service included consultancy and business development roles in Australia, China and Indonesia for Australian and international companies. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of International Business degree and Graduate Diploma in Chinese language at Griffith University and an MBA from the Queensland University of Technology.
Julia-Anne’s posting to Guangzhou will see her celebrate a personal milestone of 20 years of engagement with China.
Julie-Anne replaces Jeff Turner who served with the Australian Trade Commission in Guangzhou for more than four years as Senior Trade Commissioner and Deputy Consul General (Commercial).
kim_gilliland_headshot_thumbKim Gilliland recently launched Soapnut Republic, a company selling 99%+ natural home cleaning products under the brand name Home Tonics.

The products are now available online for deliveries in China. Soapnut Republic will release new baby care and pet care brands soon.

Kim has been developing the business for the past two years with her Kiwi partner Bobby Mitchell and Stephanie Cave. The business is committed to using ingredients that are as truly natural, safe and effective as possible, with the main surfactant ingredient, soapnut extract, having been used by traditional Chinese for thousands of years.

Kim has been working in China since 2008 and has held high profile roles with Media Monitors, AustCham Shanghai and Which Property.
acbc_toni_kenneth_chern_ian_mccubbin_feb_2013ACBC Victoria has farewelled Executive Director Toni Feddersen who is retiring to pursue personal endeavours.

Toni has played an instrumental role in the success and progress of ACBC as it has transitioned into the leading organisation in the Australia China bi-lateral trade and investment relationship. Toni forged strong relationships between ACBC and government and non-government organisations.

*Pictured: Toni Feddersen with Professor Kenneth Chern, Professor of Asian Policy and Executive Director of the Swinburne Leadership Institute, and Ian McCubbin, National Board Member of ACBC at the ACBC China Market Forecast in February.
Toni has enjoyed a long career in journalism and the media and later as Executive Director of CEDA prior to joining ACBC in 2008. During her career at ACBC, Toni, together with the ACBC team, developed a program and strategy for ACBC members which saw no less than 30-40 functions and events a year.
Michaela Mentasti, who has worked with Toni for many years, will be the Acting General Manager of ACBC in Victoria. Michaela is supported by ACBC Victoria colleagues Meng Zhang, Tang Yi and Brigitte McNamara.
david_and_lynne_olsson_may_2009After almost six years in China, AustCham Beijing Chairman David Olsson is returning to Melbourne. David has been a senior partner with King & Wood Mallesons in the firm’s Beijing office and will relocate to KWM’s Melbourne office in June.
David arrived in Beijing with his wife Lynne in early 2008 to expand the resources and capacity of Mallesons in China. In that time, the firm grew from five lawyers in the Beijing office to nearly 40 lawyers across Beijing and Shanghai before combining with King & Wood in March 2012 to create the world’s first Sino-foreign law firm – now with over 1,000 lawyers and 12 offices in China and 1,000 lawyers in Australia and five other countries.


*Pictured right: David and Lynne Olsson at the ANZA Great Wall dinner, May 2009.

David’s expertise in China has been on broad based banking and finance practice, assisting Australian banks to establish and grow their operations in China, but also working with Chinese banks in financing China SOE offshore investments.

Upon his return to Melbourne, David will retain his focus on China – enhancing the firm’s China capability in Australia and the region and working with several clients on their regional strategies.
In his role as Chairman of AustCham Beijing, David has overseen two key changes to the organisation – the first being a new emphasis for the Chamber on the role it plays in advocacy and government relations.
“The Chamber will always need to be a social and networking hub for the Australian community, but the extraordinary changes going in China mean that business has to have a greater voice in shaping policy – both in Australia and in China,” says David.
“Strong government connections are also critical to making things happen. We’ve put a big effort into these areas through our White Papers and our focus on establishing institutional relationships with key Chinese government bodies and staying close to the Australian government.”
The other major change has been the creation of AustCham Greater China.
AustCham Greater China was established in 2011 by the three largest Australian chambers in the Greater China region – AustCham Beijing, AustCham Shanghai and AustCham Hong Kong and Macau. The group most recently added AustCham South China (based in Guangzhou) and the recently created AustCham West China, based in Chengdu. The new nationwide AustCham network today incorporates more than 1,000 corporate members on the mainland and a similar number in Hong Kong.
“This brilliant new platform helps us coordinate our efforts across the country and to present a more unified representation of our members,” says David.
“There is huge potential to drive great business outcomes from this.”
David says the Australia China relationship has never been stronger.
“We are now starting to see a clear strategy and structure for the future bi-lateral engagement.”
A personal highlight for David during his time in the Capital was attending the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“The games were fantastic but one could see that this signalled China’s coming of age,” says David.
“I will miss the buzz and excitement of this extraordinary country.”
Upon his return to Australia, David also takes up his recent appointment with the Australia China Council. 

*If your company or organisation has an Australia-China human resources related announcement to make, or you know of people on the move, please send details to


Join Australia-Asia Forum
receive newsletter & our event promotion

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.