Our Board

MJDF is an Aboriginal Controlled Organisation.
51% or more of our Board Directors are Aboriginal Australians.
MJDF Aboriginal Organisation Governance Statement.

The Hon Jenny Macklin AC


Jenny Macklin is an Australian former politician, elected to Federal Parliament in 1996. She was Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 2007 to 2013, and Minister for Disability Reform from 2011-2013. It was through this period that she visited Groote Eylandt on several occasions and began to understand the high prevalence of Machado-Joseph Disease, and the work of the MJD Foundation. Jenny retired from Federal politics in 2019, after serving 23 years. She was the longest serving woman in the House of Representatives, and was the first woman to become the Deputy Leader of a major Australian political party. She holds Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne.

Jenny became the Chairperson of the MJDF in June 2021. Alongside Chair of MJDF, Jenny is the Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne, in the School of Government, and is Chair of Odyssey House Victoria. She is also a Member of the RAND Australia Advisory Board, Women's Economic Equality Taskforce (appointed by the Federal Minister for Women) and the Australia Universities Accord Panel (appointed by the Minister for Education).

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Neil Westbury PSM


With over 40 years professional experience working in Indigenous affairs and public sector management Neil has:

  • extensive knowledge of, and familiarity with, the complex range of economic and social issues impacting on Aboriginal communities and business development, and on related policy formulation and implementation;
  • a sound knowledge of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultural diversity in remote, rural and urban settings;
  • a wide national network of contacts in Commonwealth, State and Local governments, as well as with Aboriginal organisations at all levels and a strong international network;
  • substantial expertise in policy and strategy formulation, and program implementation.
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Gayangwa Lalara OAM

Vice Chairperson

Gayangwa is a Warnindilyakwa woman of Groote Eylandt. She is 79 years old, and Machado Joseph Disease has been a part of her life as long as she can remember.

Her father developed the disease when he was an older man, and all 6 of her brothers and sisters were affected by their 40s. She was the primary carer for two of her sisters’ children for over 15 years. Now the third generation of her family is sick - her 21 year old niece passed away in 2014, and she has nieces, nephews and grandchildren with the disease.

Few people have the insight and experiences living with the disease that Gayangwa has, and she brings to her role within the MJD Foundation a fierce determination to improve life for her family. Her journey through ‘shame' and ‘blame' to proud champion is an encouragement to the many people she meets and her quiet dignity and perseverance for them is an inspiration.

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Tony Wurramarrba AO


Tony Wurramarrba is a Warnindilyakwa man of Groote Eylandt. Tony is the son of Murabuda Wurramarrba, a senior culture man for the Warnindilyakwa people of Groote Eylandt.

Tony was educated at Angurugu primary school and Dupuma College at Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land. Tony has always been a leader of his people and a dedicated family man.

He has previously been mentored as the Council Clerk with the Angurugu Community Government Council and took on the Council Clerk role for many years, a role he filled with distinction.

In more recent years, Tony has used his past experiences to take on the Chairmanship of the Anindilyakwa Land Council. In this role Tony has been instrumental in helping to develop the business arm of the Anindilyakwa Land Council, GEBIE, into a significant business enterprise. The Anindilyakwa Land Council under Tony’s leadership has developed into a strong Land Council who focus on securing a future for their own people.

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Jenny Baird


Jenny Baird was the primary carer of her husband, Warren Lalara who lived with MJD for 18 years before passing away in September 2010. Jenny knows only too well the enormous burden placed on carers of people with MJD. Warren's care needs were intensified and he resided in a nursing home in Darwin for several years.

Jenny and Warren have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Both of their children have MJD and the question remains how this disease will affect their grandchildren.

Jenny is a past President of Carers NT. This advocacy role lead her to speak on behalf of carers both nationally and internationally.

Jenny's tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Teaching, Graduate Certificate in Accelerated Literacy and Masters in Education.

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Janice Oake


Janice Oake is the Board Treasurer, and previous to that was a MJDF Finance Subcommittee member from 2012, providing advice to the Board, input into the MJDF's investment approach, and assisting with budgets and cash-flow analysis. She accepted the voluntary appointment of Board Director/Treasurer in April 2014.

With over 25 years professional experience working in finance and business consulting, Janice has: extensive knowledge of Australian statutory accounting standards;
a sound knowledge of financial investment strategies; extensive expertise in business operations including finance, legal/insurance, human resources and policy development.

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Jennifer Cullen AM


Jennifer Cullen joined the MJD Foundation board in February 2017.

Jennifer Cullen is an Adjunct Associate Professor with James Cook University and Griffith University and CEO, Synapse Australia Limited. Jennifer has over 26 years' experience in disability and aged care services and was appointed in 2013 to the NDIS Independent Advisory Council as the Queensland Member and was appointed in 2016 to the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council as a Member. 

She leads a range of research and projects that focus on supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with complex neurocognitive disabilities, including FASD. Jennifer is a descendent of the Bidjara and Wakka Wakka people. Jennifer's specialties are Health economics, not for profit capability, Professional Development and Mentoring.

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Libby Collins


Libby Collins is currently a Producer with Garuwa. She has a strong national profile, working in production, marketing, communications and community engagement across the country for more than a decade. Libby’s credits reflect a diverse body of work from feature film to TV documentaries. Her most recent works include roles with Channel 10 and NITV collaboration ‘First Inventors’, due to be released in 2023. Libby also worked as a Production Manager (Tiwi Islands) on feature film Top End Wedding. After a decade in New South Wales where she fulfilled a national facing community engagement role with Bangarra, Libby returned to the Northern Territory, working with Aboriginal health leaders to get clear messaging into communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her connection to community and culture drives the work she does and through her personal life. She is passionate about creating opportunities that advance First Nations people and communities to bring about change.

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Julie Gungunbuy Wunungmurra


Julie is a Yolŋu woman from Galiwin’ku (Elcho Island). Machado Joseph Disease has been a constant in her life as long as she can remember.

Julie is on her own journey living with Machado Joseph Disease, and despite the enormous challenges, she is a strong leader and voice for her family members.

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