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Australia-India Council Board

Australia-India Council Board Members are appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Council's Chair is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia on the nomination of the Minister.

Board Members


Mr Ashok Jacob, Executive Chairman of Ellerston Capital (NSW)

Ashok Jacob

Mr Jacob is the Executive Chairman of Ellerston Capital.

He is also a Director of MRF Ltd, one of India's largest tyre companies based in Chennai.

Mr Jacob is a director of Thorney Opportunities Limited. Mr Jacob was the Managing Director of Thorney Holdings, the investment arm of the Pratt Group, from 1991 to 1998, after joining in 1984.

He was previously a member of Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Policy Advisory Council chaired by the then Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. He was also a former director of Malayala Manorama, one of India's largest media companies.

Mr Jacob holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science from St Joseph's College, Bangalore, India.

Deputy Chair

The Honourable Ms Lisa Singh (TAS)

Ms Lisa Singh

The Hon Lisa Singh is a former Australian Senator and Tasmanian Government Minister with 20 years of parliamentary experience. She was the first woman of South Asian heritage to be elected to the Australian Parliament. She is currently the Director and CEO of the Australia India Institute, Australia's premier centre dedicated to deepening the Australia-India relationship.

Representing Australia as an influential professional, Ms Singh has been advancing Australia’s social and economic ties with India and the wider Indo-Pacific for the past decade. She has actively participated in a number of inter-country dialogues with the Australia India Institute, the Lowy Institute and the Australia-India Youth Dialogue. As a regular visitor to India, she has engaged with members of the Indian parliament on a broad range of policy objectives.

Ms Singh’s career has focused on the promotion and protection of peace and human rights, foreign affairs and trade policy, international development, the environment, governance and access to justice. She has published widely and speaks regularly on these issues. 

In recognition of her advocacy, the President of India awarded her the highest civilian honour, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, for her exceptional and meritorious public service as a person of Indian heritage fostering friendly relations between India and Australia.


Ms Neema Premji, Director of Premji Board Consultancy and Management Services (WA)

Ms Premji is Director of Premji Board Consultancy and Management Services, which assists organisations with strategic planning, risk management, corporate governance frameworks, board evaluations and executive mentoring. Ms Premji has served as Chair and Director of the Bunbury Port Authority and Director of the Busselton Water Board. Ms Premji's corporate governance experience includes significant organisational restructures and mergers.

Ms Premji has previously worked with Wesfarmers Coal Limited and BHP Research as a mining engineer, spanning the infrastructure, water, power, mining and transport sectors. Ms Premji has a comprehensive understanding of related federal, state and local government regulatory regimes.

Professor Robin Batterham AO (VIC)

Professor Batterham is one of Australia's leading scientists and a world-leading chemical engineer. Professor Batterham has had a distinguished career in research and technology, across the public and private sectors, including in mining, mineral processing, mineral agglomeration processes and iron making. Professor Batterham is an inventor across over 20 patent families and an innovation expert.

Professor Batterham is Kernot Professor of Engineering at the University of Melbourne and a former Chief Scientist of Australia from 1999 to 2005. He has held senior research positions with Rio Tinto and on the International Energy Agency Expert Group on Science for Energy.

Professor Batterham is concurrently serving as Chair of the Advisory Panel of the Australia India Strategic Research Fund.

Dr Vanessa Guthrie AO (WA)

Portrait of Dr Vanessa Guthrie.

Dr Guthrie has more than 30 years' experience in the mining and resources industries. Dr Guthrie is the former Chair of the Minerals Council of Australia and former Managing Director and CEO of Toro Energy Limited. She has qualifications in geology, environment, law and business management, including a Doctor of Philosophy in Geology.

Dr Guthrie was WA's first female mine manager at Alcoa's Huntly bauxite mine at Dwellingup, and has held senior roles at Alcoa, Woodside Energy, RGC, Pasminco, Goldfields Limited and WMC.

Deputy Chair and Lead Independent Director of Adbri Ltd, Vanessa is also non-executive Director of publicly listed companies Santos Ltd, Tronox Holdings PLC and Lynas Rare Earths Ltd.  Vanessa also serves as Pro Chancellor of Curtin University and on the board of Cricket Australia.  She was appointed to the Australian Reference Group for the India Economic Strategy and to the Australia-India Prime Ministers' CEO Forum in 2015 to help drive bilateral economic relations between Australia and India.

Dr Guthrie is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Chief Executive Women, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE). She holds an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Curtin University.

Ms Sanushka Seomangal, Partner, Thomson Geer (NSW)

Ms Seomangal specialises in equity capital markets, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions. Her practice is largely cross-border with an Asia-focus and she has expertise in capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the People's Republic of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India, as well as capital markets and M&A transactions involving clients in the USA and the UK.

Amongst her professional achievements, Sanushka was named by the Australian Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence in Australia 2018. She has a particular interest in India and is a co-founder and director of the School of Policy and Governance, co-founder of the Australia India Youth Dialogue and National Vice Chair of the Australia India Business Council.

The Honourable Mr Ted Baillieu AO (VIC)

Portrait of The Honourable Mr Ted Baillieu AO.

Ted Baillieu was Premier of Victoria and Arts Minister from 2010-2013.

He was formerly a Partner of Mayne and Baillieu Architects, a Director of Knight Frank Australia and a Board Member of Tourism Victoria, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

Mr Baillieu recently served as Chair of the Victorian ANZAC Centenary Committee and Co-Chair of the Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

In 2012 he led Victoria’s Trade Mission to India, which at the time was the largest ever fielded.

He is currently the Patron of the Australia India Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Matthew Hayden AM (QLD)

Portrait of Mr Matthew Hayden AM

Matthew Hayden AM is a former Australian cricket player and is one of the most dominant and decorated opening batsmen in cricket history. His cricketing career spanned over 15 years.

Mr Hayden is a Director of The Hayden Way (Aust) Pty Ltd, a management company that is involved with many projects and organisations including both business and philanthropic.

In 2010, Mr Hayden was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM), in recognition of his contribution to Australian society. The honour paid tribute to Mr Hayden’s service to cricket and the community, through support for a range of health, youth and charitable organisations.

Mr Hayden is a Board Director of Mahindra Automotive Australia Pty Ltd, a Board Director of the Institute for Australia India Engagement and is also member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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