Steering Committee

The steering committee and selection panel for the 2020 Australia Institute Writer in Residence program are –

Paul Daley is a novelist and playwright whose books have been shortlisted in major literary prizes and is the author of the political novel Challenge. He has a won a number of journalism prizes including two Walkley awards, the Paul Lyneham award for political journalism and two Kennedy awards and currently writes for Guardian Australia.

Allan Behm is the chair of the Canberra Writers Festival. Behm was formerly Greg Combet’s chief of staff and in 2001 established Knowledge Pond, an international consultancy advising on political and sovereign risk, strategy and security. Behm is currently the CEO of PTSD-ANZ and continues to publish and comment on international security matters.

Melinda Smith is a Canberra-based poet who won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for her fourth book, Drag down to unlock or place an emergency call. Her poems have appeared widely in magazines, newspapers and anthologies in Australia and overseas. She is currently poetry editor of The Canberra Times.

Alex Sloan has been a broadcaster with the ABC for 27 years. She spent 22 years presenting programs on ABC Local Radio Canberra, presenting Drive, Weekends, Mornings and Afternoons shifts. Sloan is known for her author interviews and has been thanked for reading the books from cover to cover. She has been a great champion of the Canberra region writing scene. Sloan retired from the ABC in 2017, and she hopes to spend more time reading great books by Australian writers.

Ben Oquist is the executive director of the Australia Institute, and a highly respected political and communications strategist and commentator. Oquist is known for his ability to negotiate across the political spectrum, and is a regular commentator and contributor on SkyNews, The Drum, Crikey, The Guardian and Fairfax publications.


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