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Current AJF Board Members

Murray McLean

Mr Murray McLean AO, Chairman

Term: 1 January 2012 to 23 August 2020

Murray McLean AO is Chair, Australia Japan Foundation (AJF) since 2012, and Chair of the Foundation of Australian Studies (FAJS) since 2016.

Formerly a senior officer of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), he retired in 2012 after a 42-year career during which he was Ambassador to Japan (2004-11), initiating negotiations on the FTA and on growing security cooperation as well as leading Australia's response to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters; Deputy Secretary of DFAT (2004); First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division (2001-03); High Commissioner to Singapore (1997-2001); Assistant Secretary, East Asia Branch, (1992-96); and Consul General, Shanghai (1987-92).

He was appointed as an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours list 2013 and in November 2014, the Japanese Emperor presented him with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.


Adam Liaw

Mr Adam Liaw

Term: 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021

Mr Liaw is a writer and television presenter. Before his current career, he was a lawyer for more than a decade between Japan and Australia, most recently with The Walt Disney Company in Tokyo.

After returning to Australia from his time in Japan, Mr Liaw turned to writing. He has published six books on Asian cuisines, and written as a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Guardian.

As a television presenter his series, Destination Flavour, has travelled through Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Singapore and China. In 2017 it won the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award for Best Lifestyle Television Program.

He is UNICEF Australia's national ambassador for nutrition, and was appointed as an official Goodwill Ambassador for Japanese Cuisine by the Japanese government in 2016.

He speaks English, Japanese and basic Mandarin Chinese.


Mark Connors

Mr Mark Connors

Term: 7 February 2017 to 23 March 2023

Mr Connors has a diverse background including legal, financial services, professional sport, rugby commentary, charity work and Board directorships. Following completion of his law degree at QUT he practiced as a lawyer in Brisbane over a 12 year period and combined this with a professional rugby union sporting career representing both the Queensland Reds and Wallabies.

His rugby career highlights include winning the 1999 World Cup as well as Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations Series' victories with the Wallabies, and Super 10 Championship wins with the Queensland Reds. During his professional rugby union career he also lived and played rugby in both England and Japan, has performed numerous speaking engagements and held an ongoing part-time rugby commentary role with Radio 4TAB for nearly two decades. Mr Connors previously served on the Board of the Australia Rugby Union from 2007 to 2012 and in April 2012 was appointed to the Board of the Queensland Rugby Union.

Mr Connors worked in the Financial Services Industry with Wilson HTM for 10 years before joining FIIG in mid-2016 as its Queensland State Manager. Mr Connors was appointed as FIIG's joint Head of Private Client Solutions in mid-2018 and is still a current serving Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Queensland Rugby Union.


Bronwyn Evans

Dr Bronwyn Evans

Term: 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021

Dr Bronwyn Evans is the CEO Engineers Australia, the Chair for the Building4.0 CRC, a Director of the Australia-Japan Foundation and was recently the CEO of Standards Australia and a Vice President (Finance) of the International Standards Organisation (ISO). Dr Evans has previously held positions in innovation initiatives, including as Chair of MTPConnect (the Industry Growth Centre for Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals) and was a member of the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum Leadership group.

She is an Honorary Fellow of University of Wollongong, an Honorary Fellow of The Institution of Engineers Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. She has been recognised as one of Australia’s 100 most influential engineers, and an AFR/ Westpac 100 Women of Influence.


Debra Hazelton

Ms Debra Hazelton

Term: 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021

Debra has more than 30 years' experience in global financial services, with particular focus on Australia and Japan. She has expertise across corporate and project finance, risk management, human resources management, treasury and financial markets. Most recently Debra spent three years in Tokyo leading corporate culture globalization and global talent acquisition and development for Mizuho Financial Group prior to her retirement from executive roles in late 2017.

Debra has held national CEO positions for banks in both Australia and Japan, namely Mizuho Corporate Bank and CBA respectively. She is also currently serving as a non-executive director on the boards of AMP Capital Holdings, Treasury Corporation of Victoria (TCV) and Persol Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, as well as a Principal of Kokusai Business Advisory. Her previous board experience includes Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA), Asia Society and Women in Banking and Finance. She has graduate and post-graduate degrees in Japanese language, literature and philosophy as well as economics and finance.


Chris Saines

Mr Chris Saines CNZM

Director, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Term: 23 March 2017 to 23 March 2023

Chris Saines is Director of the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), Brisbane, Australia. He has worked for over 35 years in leading galleries in Australia and New Zealand as a director, curatorial and collection manager, educator and curator. As Director of QAGOMA since 2013, he has overseen major exhibitions by top international artists Cai Guo-Qiang, David Lynch, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Gerhard Richter and Patricia Piccinini. He has driven record attendance for the Gallery and steered the eighth and ninth editions of the flagship exhibition series, The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. His current focus is to reinvigorate the original Queensland Art Gallery building and drive the creation of a dedicated all ages learning centre for the Gallery.

Previously, Chris was Director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand from 1996-2013. He is currently Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, has judged major national art prizes, and sat on the selection panels for both Australia and New Zealand's representation at the Venice Biennale.


Veronica Taylor

Professor Veronica Taylor

Term: 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2021

Professor Veronica L. Taylor is a Research Professor of Law and Regulation at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). She currently directs the ANU Japan Institute. She is an international and comparative lawyer specializing in legal and institutional reform and economic development. She has designed and led legal reform projects in Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands, the Philippines, and Vietnam. She was previously the Dean of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, and an ANU Public Policy Fellow, and Director of RegNet and the ANU Japan Institute. Prior to joining ANU, she was the Director of the Asian Law Center at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she led the Japanese Law Program. She also served as Chair of the Japan Foundation's American Advisory Committee. Professor Taylor serves on the Executive of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee and is a Board Member of the Foundation for Australia-Japan Studies (FAJS).


How can I contact a Board Member?

You may contact any AJF Board Member through the AJF Secretariat in Canberra.

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