Independent Ministerial Advisory Council to give victims a voice

Published Thursday, 30 November, 2023 at 10:03 AM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

  • The Palaszczuk Government has announced the membership of the new Independent Ministerial Advisory Council.
  • Council to be co-chaired by former Childrens Court Judge John Robertson and CEO of DVConnect Beck O’Connor

The Palaszczuk Government has announced the membership of the new Independent Ministerial Advisory Council (IMAC).

Members of the IMAC include victims of crime, representatives from the legal sector and peak advocacy bodies, First Nations representatives and expert practitioners.

The IMAC will be co-chaired by former Childrens Court Judge John Robertson and Beck O’Connor, current chief executive of DVConnect.

The council will provide advice, guidance and victims’ perspectives on criminal justice issues and youth crime reforms being considered by government.

This will include primary crime prevention and early intervention for young offenders, and those at risk of entering the criminal justice system and rehabilitation for youth offenders.

The IMAC will also provide advice and guidance on how victim support services could be improved.

The IMAC will be supported by a secretariat in the newly established Justice Reform Office (JRO).

The JRO will lead evidence-based reform of the criminal justice system across government with a focus on improving programs to divert people away from the criminal justice system, helping people to break the cycle of reoffending, making our communities safer, and reducing demand on courts and prisons.

The IMAC will provide advice and guidance relevant to the work plan of the JRO.

The IMAC will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks.

Members will have opportunities to meet directly with relevant ministers and the Premier through the Justice Reform Committee.

For more information about the IMAC, go to

Quotes attributable to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette D’Ath:

“I’d like to welcome the new members of the IMAC, who bring significant expertise and lived experience to the council.

“I’d particularly like to express my gratitude to former Childrens Court Judge John Robertson and Beck O’Connor for co-chairing the IMAC.

“I have no doubt the IMAC will play an integral role in shaping our response to crime and support for victims, helping to keep our community safe.”

Quotes attributable to the co-chair John Robertson 

“It’s an honour to be appointed as the IMAC’s co-chair.

“There is a wealth of expertise and experience on this council.

“Reforming the criminal justice system will not be a quick fix. However, I am confident that our shared insight and experience will make a valuable contribution to improving how the system supports victims and to help create meaningful reform.”

Quotes attributable to the co-chair Beck O’Connor

“I look forward to serving as co-Chair on the Council.”

“I acknowledge the need for significant reform to ensure the criminal justice system not only provides accessibility, safety, and cultural appropriateness for all victims of crime, but also facilitates healing and community involvement.

“I am committed to creating a more empathetic, responsive, and supportive criminal justice system – one that prioritises the needs and rights of victims throughout.”


Further information:

IMAC Members 

*Two additional members appointed to IMAC with lived experience as victims of crime have requested to not be identified at this stage. The government respects their right for anonymity.

Former Childrens Court Judge John Robertson

A former judge of the Childrens Court of Queensland for his whole judicial career and President of that Court from 1999-2001. He is presently a part-time judicial member at Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and recently Chair of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council from 2018-2023.

Beck O’Connor

Has over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the community and human services sector. Ms O’Connor is the Chief Executive Officer of DVConnect where she also leads VictimConnect, Queensland's 24/7 Victims of Crime support service.

Matilda Alexander

CEO of Queensland Advocacy for Inclusion and a human rights lawyer with a lengthy history in the community legal sector. Ms Alexander has won multiple awards for her work with vulnerable communities and holds an enduring passion for justice. Ms Alexander is also on the Management Committee of the LGBTIQ+ legal service.

Julie Arthur

Manager of the Cloncurry Justice Association, where her work focuses on court innovation and working closely with the criminal justice system to support victims and offenders.

Ben Cannon

Victim representative who created the community group Voice for Victims following a violent home invasion at his neighbour’s property. Mr Cannon is advocating for more support for victims and improved solutions to fix youth crime. 

Christine Castley

CEO of Multicultural Australia and is a passionate advocate for equal access to justice and services for everyone. She regularly interacts with criminal justice agencies on the challenges faced in multicultural communities by both victims and offenders on a broad range of criminal matters.

Zac Davidson

Youth Parliamentarian with firsthand insight into the complexities surrounding youth-related crime. Mr Davidson believes bringing a youth perspective in addressing the youth crime crisis is of paramount importance.

Professor Susan Dennison

Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Griffith Criminology Institute at Griffith University. She is currently Director of the Transforming Corrections to Transform Lives Centre leading a transformative system of practice to better support mothers who experience incarceration, and their children.

Timothy Grau

Practicing barrister at the private Bar in Queensland.  His practice is based in Cairns and he works with clients from as far afield as the Torres Strait, Cape York, Cairns and Townsville and surrounding regions.

Robert (Keith) Hamburger AM

Queensland’s first Director-General of the then Queensland Corrective Services Commission and led significant reform across Queensland’s prisons. Mr Hamburger is a Queensland patron of the Justice Reform Initiative, established in September 2020 with a goal to reduce Australia’s reliance on incarceration

Ian Leavers APM

Mr Leavers has served the people of Queensland as a Police Officer since 1989. He is the General President and CEO of the Queensland Police Union and the current National President of the Police Federation of Australia.

Professor Lorraine Mazerolle

An international expert in policing and crime prevention. She is a member of the Youth Justice Reference Group, helping to advance evidence-based policies and practices in the government’s youth justice strategy.

Elvie Sandow

The first female mayor of Cherbourg and previously served as Chairperson of Youth and Community Combined Action, a juvenile crime prevention initiative.

Andrea Storey

Ms Storey will bring her experience of navigating the criminal justice system as a victim-survivor of domestic violence to advocate for reform.

Brett Thompson

Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Homicide Victims' Support Group. His role is focused on victim support, interagency systemic improvement, and advocacy for justice system reform.