Home' Be : Be Issue 23 Contents CAREER WITH
Here's proof that CQUniversity
graduates can end up working
anywhere in the world. Dr
Aleicia Holland has recently
been working in the Amazon,
examining the influence of
dissolved organic carbon on
the toxicity of copper and
nickel in the waters of the
Her research is highly
respected and she's been
successful in achieving
numerous coveted awards,
and is the recent winner of
CQUniversity's Youth Achiever
Dr Holland has been based
at the National Institute
of Amazonian Research,
described by a World Bank
report as one of the most
important science centres
in the Amazon. Thanks to a
successful application for a
coveted international Science
Without Borders Young Talent
Postdoctoral Fellowship, she
has been working with the
Professor Chris Wood from the
University of British Columbia.
Despite only completing her
PhD in 2014, her research
has already had an impact
on government policy and
environmental activities in
her field. She recently gained
a $368 000 Discovery Early
Career Researcher Award
from the Australian Research
Council grants program. A
huge accolade for Aleicia and
a huge boost for waterway
research here in Australia.
The grant will ensure valuable
research into Australian
freshwaters including the
influence of metal toxicity to
"...we need to do far
truly caring nation.
As a young aid worker in Burma,
Bria n Babington witnessed firsthand
how providing ready access to clean
drinking water changed a community.
He remembers women trudging miles each day to get
drinking water from polluted creeks, before engineers
came in to drill deep tube-wells. After this, women could
draw clean water directly from within their own villages.
"Women were freed to engage in more productive
roles, such as spending more time with their children
and opening small businesses. Fundamental shifts in
village economics and life took place often within a
very short time."
This was a turning point in Brian's life. "That
experience showed me that great strides in wellbeing
could be made, first, by asking people what they
needed, and then assisting them to overcome obstacles
so they could help themselves. That lesson continues to
resonate within me to this day."
Today, Brian has spent more than three decades
striving for stronger communities and families in
Australia and overseas. Since 2005 Brian has been
CEO of Families Australia, an independent national
peak body that advises the Australian Government
on ways to advance the well-being of families and
children, especially the most vulnerable. He is also
the Coordinator of the Coalition of Organisations
Committed to the Safety and Wellbeing of
Australia's Children, which he plays a leading role
in advocating for and negotiating the National
Framework for Protecting Australia's Children 2009-
2020. He also has 10 other active board, director and
membership positions focused on communities,
families and child welfare.
"It wasn't really until I became a parent that I
started to think deeply about the vital importance of
families for individuals and society as a whole. I was
confronted with a huge responsibility. I learned a great
deal very quickly --- mostly through trial and error ---
about myself and about looking after others."
Brian also owes much of his career choice to his
experiences back in Burma in those early years. "In
my early career, I directed Australia's aid program in
Burma/Myanmar. I saw the per vasive, heart-breaking
impacts of poverty and disadvantage on the wellbeing
of children, families and communities. I saw, too,
how inter ventions, such as health and education and
employment opportunities could transform lives for the
better. I think that that experience also ignited a passion
inside me to assist others where I could."
In his role as CEO of Families Australia, Brian
hopes to make an impact on child abuse and family
violence, improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal Torres
Strait Islander communities and encouraging more
recognition and celebration of the vital role families play
"It's a matter of grave national concern that over
40,000 children suffer abuse and neglect each year.
The number of children in out-of-home care --- that is,
in foster, relative and other forms of non-parental care
--- has almost doubled over the past decade to around
41,000 per annum. Around one in three women has
experienced physical violence and almost one in five has
experienced sexual violence.
"These are some examples where we need to do
far better if we are to be a truly caring nation." Brian
believes it's Families Australia's role to draw attention
to these issues and to help politicians and policymakers
find workable solutions.
Families Australia and other advocacy
organisations are critically important in helping
communities and families. They can bring important
community issues to the attention of politicians
and policymakers and assist decision-makers to find
effective and practical solutions.
"There is still a great deal for me to achieve at
Families Australia. I want to keep the momentum
going at the national level to reduce rates of child
abuse and neglect."
Brian is an alumnus of CQUni, having earned a
Graduate Diploma of Management in 1987, and was
awarded CQUni's Outstanding Alumni Award in 2015
for his amazing contribution to family and community
welfare. Thinking back to his uni days with CQUni,
he believes the University played a 'central role' in his
career. "The management qualification I gained by
distance when living in Burma/Myanmar helped me
advance within the Australian Foreign Ser vice. Beyond
that, it moved me further along a path of life-long
learning, which I continue as I turn 60."
After studying at CQUni, Brian went on to gain a
graduate diploma in counselling and, recently, a PhD
from the Australian National University on children's
rights in Indonesia. He has also just completed a
leadership program at the Har vard Kennedy School of
Government Centre for Public Leadership.
"I want to keep learning, of course. I will be
returning for more studies at Har vard later in 2016
and I want to write another book, about families, as
a companion to my first book, Bouncing Back. I will
continue to work for the realisation of children's rights,
especially in Asia."
"In these efforts, I am inspired by the American
historian, playwright, and social activist, Professor
Howard Zinn, who wrote that 'To be hopeful in bad
times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the
fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty,
but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history
will determine our lives ... if we do act, in however small
a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian
future. The future is an infinite succession of presents,
and to live now as we think human beings should
live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a
mar vellous victory'."
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