Civil Liberties Australiaspacer

Civil Liberties Australia – The Board


Kris Klugman

PRESIDENT : Dr Kristine Klugman OAM

Dr Klugman’s PhD in Politics at ANU analysed the two-way communication flow between MPs and electors. Earlier degrees were in Community Studies, and History. She has been President of CLA since 2003.

Kris previously served on the NSW Legal Aid Commission, was a foundation member of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, and a researcher with the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, helping to establish the Criminal Justice tertiary course for police and prison officers in NSW.

Her OAM was for ‘services to education and the community’. She was the first-ever female President of the board of Australia’s oldest museum, The Australian Museum. She was also the first female board member and full-time Deputy President in the 100-year history of the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW, running the NSW Fire Brigades, and a member of state bushfire and rescue governing councils.

Tim VinesVICE-PRESIDENT: Tim Vines

Originally from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Tim studied from 2004 for an Arts/Law degree at the ANU in Canberra, where he now works in a government department. At uni, he was elected President of Bruce Hall Residents’ Association and to the board of the ANU Students’ Association. He edited Cross Sections, Bruce Hall’s academic journal, and helped the Tenancy Union strengthen the accommodation rights of on-campus students. Tim graduated in 2008 with Honours, after contributing several papers on health law reform in Australia.

Tim is CLA’s main media spokesperson.

Bill Rowlings

CEO – SECRETARY: William Rowlings OAM

Bill’s career has included journalism on Australian, UK and PNG daily and Sunday newspapers, as well as being editorial director of a monthly business and sports publishing house. In PR, he was media adviser to a senior federal politician and consulted to major corporates, federal departments and agencies, and NGOs, as well as co-authoring an Australian tertiary PR textbook. In 2013 he received an OAM for services to civil liberties and human rights. Bill manages CLA’s affairs day-to-day, and edits the monthly CLArion newsletter.

Frank CassidyDIRECTOR: Frank Cassidy

Frank is a journalist and publisher, with qualifications in advertising, accounting, public administration and professional writing. He is currently founder-editor of the online newspaper PS News – and its network of editions covering the Commonwealth Public Service and separate state equivalents. In the 1970s, he managed marketing of the national ‘Life. Be In It’ health and fitness campaign. Frank was inaugural Secretary of the National Australia Day Council and represented the ACT at the Constitutional Convention in 1998. He is a former Convenor of the Australian Republican Movement in the ACT, and was a member of the AFL for Canberra Committee, Chairman of Tuggeranong Community Arts for 12 years from 1998 until recently. Frank received a Centenary of Federation Medal in 2000.

Richard GriggsDIRECTOR: Richard Griggs

Richard, born and raised in Hobart, qualified from the University of Tasmania with majors in law and sociology, then worked in Canberra as police and legal affairs advisor to a politician. He returned home to work as an in-house corporate lawyer and again enjoy having a choice of wilderness bush walks starting virtually from his back-doorstep. Richard is Tasmanian Director of Civil Liberties Australia.


Mark is a security risk management professional. He was with Customs for over 21 years, five as headquarters chief security adviser. He now advises clients for NDY, an international consulting engineering firm. Mark has a BA in Political Science from ANU and post-graduate qualifications in security risk analysis and management, including from Edith Cowan U. He was V-P (Australia) 2013-15 for ASIS International, the largest global association of security professionals. His key personal concerns are minimising unjust bullying of tobacco consumers and halting erosion of liberties and freedoms caused by bad laws.

VenkataramanDIRECTOR: Rajan Venkataraman

For nearly 20 years, Rajan was a federal public servant in the Foreign Affairs, Attorney General’s and Prime Minister’s departments. His diverse career spanned foreign and domestic policy, trade negotiations and national security. He did a three-year diplomatic posting to Chile and also worked in a ministerial office in Parliament House. In 2006, Rajan was appointed a member of the Australian Film and Literature Classification Board. He is currently based in Tasmania where he is co-proprietor of a waterfront cafe, tutors adults in literacy and numeracy, and is the island state’s media spokesperson for Civil Liberties Australia.


DIRECTOR: Jennifer Ashton

Jennifer is ‘retired’ from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees after two decades operating from Zambia to Kazakhstan, including two years with UNAIDS in Myanmar. During both 2015 and 2016 she was called back to UNHQ in Geneva to help kick start urgent refugee relief projects. Her career started with the then-AUSAID and with Australian NGOs (in Cambodia from 1986-1989, work for which she received an OAM). Her first qualification in social work was followed by a Masters-by-correspondence through Deakin Uni as a nightly respite from the harsh daily realities of remote refugee camps. She is now a keen gardener.


DIRECTOR: Kavitha Burge

Kavitha is originally from Melbourne and moved to Canberra to study Arts/Law at the Australian National University. Following her admission to legal practice in 2013, she has worked as a solicitor in the private sector in the nation’s capital, mostly on behalf of plaintiffs in personal injury compensation. Working with and for injured and disadvantaged people has shaped her appreciation for what rights we do – and don’t – have, and why basic liberties and freedoms are worth protecting and fighting for. She is a also member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance and the Women Lawyers Association.

Last updated 26 June 2017