Inspired by the Montreal Homeless Men's Choir and his previous experience with the Sydney Street Choir, former Opera Australia Tenor Jonathon Welch formed a partnership with ABC TV, Fremantle Media and RecLink Australia to document the creation of the Choir of Hard Knocks. Formed in September 2006, the Choir of Hard Knocks is made up of a group of 50 diverse and eclectic individuals who responded to a call to form a community street choir. Their incredible journey was recorded and broadcast by the ABC and touched the lives of millions of viewers across Australia.
Since that time the Choir have recorded 2 CDs. Their first release, Songs from the Series, has won an ARIA Award and sold in excess of 110,000 copies while their second album Songs of Hope and Inspiration was released at Christmas. In Canberra for Australia Day 2008, Jonathon Welch was recently acclaimed the Australian of the Year: Local Hero while the Choir were hosted by none less than the Prime Minister himself.
Professor Allan Fels, AO
Professor Allan Fels, AO is Dean of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG). This is a new institution established by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and ten universities.
Professor Fels was Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission from 1995 until 30 June 2003. Prior to that he was Chairman of the Trade Practices Commission from 1991 to 1995 and Chairman of the Prices Surveillance Authority from 1989 to 1992.
Professor Fels was previously Dean of the Graduate School of Management of Monash University. He was appointed a Professor of Administration at Monash University in 1984. He has been an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Economics and Business at Monash University since 1996 and is now also Professorial Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Melbourne.
His eldest daughter Isabella has schizophrenia.
Jessica Rowe is one of Australia’s best known television presenters. She began her career 15 years ago and has held various positions including a decade as co- anchor of Network Ten’s First at Five News. She has also co-hosted the Today Show, worked as part of the Seven Network’s news reading team and is a regular contributor to the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s opinion page. Recently she enjoyed swapping her news presenting role for dancing shoes, appearing on Seven’s Dancing with the Stars.
Jessica is passionate about news and current affairs as well as her advocacy work for mental health organisations. She is patron of the Mental Health Council of Australia, Ambassador for beyondblue and patron of its work on postnatal depression. Jessica is on the board of the George Gregan Foundation and is a member of the IVF Australia Ethics Committee.
Jessica has co-authored a book with her mother, Penelope Rowe called The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, an account of their family’s experience of living with Penelope’s bi-polar disorder.
Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Communications from Charles Sturt University and a Masters of International Studies from Sydney University.
Jessica is married to 60 Minutes reporter Peter Overton and they have an 18 month old daughter, Allegra and a new baby, Giselle.
Peter Overton has a degree in Economics from Sydney's Macquarie University, but he heard a louder call to pursue a career in Media. That career began at Sydney radio station, 2UE, where he covered weekend sports, as an 18 year old. He moved to television, with Sky Channel, then the Seven Network, and finally the Nine Network. He took a job as a sports reporter at Channel 9 Sydney in 1991.
Peter's reporting highlights include key roles in the coverage of the Thredbo Disaster and the Super league War. He graduated to 60 Minutes in 2001, serving eight years at the program as a Reporter before becoming the Nine Networks main Sydney News Anchor in 2009. Peter is married to fellow patron Jessica Rowe and they have two young daughters.
David Galbally QC
David is a Partner of Browne & Co. He is a former Board Member of the Collingwood Football Club and second eldest son of Australia’s greatest criminal lawyer Frank Galbally. Recently hosted Channel Nine’s consumer affairs program Watchdog and current legal commentator on 3AW’s Neil Mitchell program.
David has appeared in more than a dozen murder trials with his father Frank. He is also the Honorary Chairman of the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Hormone Research Board, Honorary patron Epilepsy Foundation, and Patron of the Epilepsy Foundation.