Appointment of Queensland’s Public Advocate and Public Guardian

Published Tuesday, 29 June, 2021 at 03:53 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Dr John Chesterman has been appointed to the role of Queensland’s Public Advocate, and senior government lawyer Shayna Smith has been appointed Queensland’s Public Guardian the Palaszczuk Government announced today.


Dr Chesterman has extensive experience in the justice and reform system and has previously served as Deputy Public Advocate in Victoria and Ms Smith had acted as Queensland’s Public Guardian since March 2020 and was Deputy Public Guardian from November 2015.


Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said Dr Chesterman’s recognised advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and marginalised Australians made him an excellent choice for the role.  


“Dr Chesterman has been a strong advocate in protecting the rights and interests of adults with impaired decision-making capacity in his role with the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate,” Minister Fentiman said.


“He is also one of Australia’s leading experts in the fields of social care and adult safeguarding.


“His research has influenced legislation and developments across Australia, particularly in the areas of supported decision making, guardianship, powers of attorney, advance planning, medical consent and elder abuse.


Minister Fentiman said Ms Smith is highly qualified for this appointment, having stepped in an acting Public Guardian in March 2020 just as COVID-19 presented challenges to agencies across government.


“Under Ms Smith’s leadership, the initiative and commitment of staff ensured the Office of the Public Guardian was able to adapt to continue to deliver their vital services to some of Queensland’s most vulnerable people.


“Before joining the office as Deputy Public Guardian, Ms Smith gained more than 14 years’ experience working in government policy and legislation in the areas of fair trading, liquor, education, and justice, with a strong focus on consumer protection.


“I would like to congratulate Dr Chesterman and Ms Smith on their appointments and wish them the very best in their roles.


“I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to Mary Burgess for her five years of service to the Queensland people in the role of Public Advocate.”