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Milton James

Dip. Agr. Sc., BSW

Milton James grew up in rural South Australia, the son of a signalman who was proud of his working class heritage. Milton's working life began in the mining industry, followed by qualification and considerable experience in the agricultural and horticultural industry.

In 1978, he travelled to India to work as a volunteer on a remote community development project in the poorest villages in the poorest state of India. This experience stirred him into studying social work and he began developing his career in rural South Australia and Victoria, with a particular passion for working with disadvantaged rural and remote youths.

In 1996, having just completed further studies in social work and working in Canberra, a visiting Aboriginal friend and mentor, the late Molly Dyer from Horsham in Victoria, noting his despondent state of mind, said to him; "Milton, this is no place for you. You don't belong here. You belong on the frontier." No sooner were these words spoken, Milton and his family left to work in the Torres Strait.

Some years later, it occurred to Milton that he had overshot the real frontier - remote area social work where young Indigenous people are truly deprived and where conventional forms of intervention had never operated successfully.

Jaq James

AMus, LLB (Hons), GDLP, MPP, MEd

Jaq James has lived in different parts of China over several years, including Mount Wuyi in the Fujian province where she studied Chinese tea culture.

In China, Jaq has worked as an English lecturer, including for the People’s Liberation Army. Before moving to China, she worked in legal policy for the Australian Public Service, including for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

In 2017, Jaq was the first person to expose the misleading reporting in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax Media’s joint stories, Power and Influence: The Hard Edge of China’s Soft Power and China’s Operation Australia: The Party Line. In those stories, which gained international attention, an interview with the president of the Chinese Students’ and Scholars’ Association was deceptively edited and misrepresented to falsely insinuate that the president was a spy in Australia for the Chinese Communist Party. Jaq assisted the president to lodge a legal action against the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax Media, which was settled out of court with a non-disclosure agreement.

In her free time, Jaq enjoys hiking, tea drinking, people-watching and studying Mandarin.

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