The Honourable Julie Bishop

Julie was the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

She served as a Cabinet Minister in the Coalition Government as Minister for Education, Science and Training and as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women’s Issues. Prior to this, Julie was Minister for Ageing. Julie has held a number of positions including Chair of the Western Australia Town Planning Appeals Tribunal, a member of Murdoch University Senate, the Anglican Schools Commission, a director of SBS (TV and Radio) and the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA WA).

Julie was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Curtin in 1998 after five years as managing partner at the Perth firm of Clayton Utz Solicitors.

She has served on a number of parliamentary and policy committees including as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

The Honourable Steve Bracks AC

Proudly of Lebanese descent, Steve Bracks is one of Victoria’s longest-serving premiers, having been in office for almost eight years after winning successive elections with large majorities.

As Premier of Victoria, Steve started rebuilding the state’s services and infrastructure whilst maintaining strong budgets and a growing economy. Drawing on his immense experience and expertise, he now advises the Timor-Leste Prime Minister and several leading Australian finance and service sector corporations.

Steve also led the Federal Government’s review into Australia’s Automotive Industry and is now the Australian Government’s Automotive Envoy.

Martin Ferguson, AM

Former Minister for Resources & Energy and Former Minister for Tourism.

Elected to Federal Parliament as the Member for Batman in 1996, Martin served continuously as Shadow Minister with the following portfolios and roles until the election of the Labor Government on the 3rd of December 2007:

  • Employment & Training (20th March 1996 – 26th August 1997)
  • Employment & Training, Population & Immigration, and Assistant to the Leader on Multicultural Affairs (26th August 1997 – 20th October 1998)
  • Employment, Training & Population (20th October 1998 – 3rd October 1999)
  • Regional Development, Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Services & Population (3rd October 1999 – 25th November 2001)
  • Regional & Urban Development, Transport & Infrastructure (25th November 2001 – 23rd August 2002)
  • Regional Development, Transport, Infrastructure & Tourism (23rd August 2002 – 2nd July 2003)
  • Urban & Regional Development, Transport & Infrastructure (2nd July 2003 – 26th October 2004)
  • Primary Industries, Resources & Tourism (26th October 2004 – 24th June 2005)
  • Primary Industries, Resources, Forestry & Tourism (24th June 2005 – 10th December 2006)
  • Transport, Roads & Tourism (10th December 2006 – 3rd December 2007)

Before entering federal politics, Martin was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), in which capacity he was a member of advisory councils and foundations including the Social Security Review, the Economic Planning Advisory Council, the National Labour Consultative Council, and the Advance Australia Foundation.

Martin was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 1996.

The Honourable Peter Collins AM QC

A Barrister and ABC journalist before his election to NSW Parliament, Peter Collins served for 22 years in senior roles including Minister for Health, Attorney General and Treasurer of NSW during his 7 years in the Greiner/Fahey Government, and a further 6 years as Deputy Leader of the Opposition, before leaving Parliament in 2003.

Having served as Chair by various federal and state government appointments on the Cancer Council of NSW (2004-2006); the Cancer Institute of NSW (2005-2008); the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2004-2011); Legal Aid NSW (2009-2012); and St John Ambulance NSW (2007-2013), Peter is currently Chairman of the Advisory Board for National Patient Transport Pty Ltd, and a Member of the St Vincent’s & Mater Health Sydney Advisory Council.

A Director of the leading industry superannuation fund, HOSTPLUS, since 2006, and a Board Member of the Workers Compensation Insurance Fund Investment Board of NSW from 2005-2012, Peter is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (FAIST) and a Director of the Sydney Financial Forum.

With an active, lifelong interest in the Australian Defence Forces, he has served as both an Army and Navy Reserve officer, being made Honorary Colonel of the elite 1st Commando Regiment (1995-2000) and seeing active service in Iraq in 2007 – for which he was awarded the US Joint Service Commendation Medal. He was appointed by the Australian Goverment to the Defence White Paper Consultative Committee in 2008 and remains a Captain in the RAN Reserve, where he is a legal officer.

For his civilian service, Peter Collins was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (2004); a Commander in the Order of St John (2012); and received the Centenary Medal.
Maintaining a long association with the University of Sydney, he was made an Associate of the Graduate School of Government (2004-2008) and is now Managing Director of Barton Deakin Government Relations, which he established in 2009.

His Excellency Henri Castoun – Former Consul-General of the Lebanese Consulate-General in Melbourne

As testament to the statement of his General Consulate’s mission – “Building bridges and strengthening bonds”, His Excellency Henri Castoun has delivered a dedicated and professional service to the diversified Lebanese community in Victoria.

His determination to strengthen the relationships between Lebanon and Victoria mainly in the field of trade (but also in the fields of culture, education, arts and many more) has been more than evident in his tremendous support of and influence in the establishment of the ALCCI.

Even after ending his post in Melbourne, Henri has remained actively involved in the chamber, contributing to the success of our Trade Mission to Lebanon from his post in the Foreign Affairs Department in Beirut.

The Honourable Warren Truss MP

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development, and Leader of the Nationals.
Warren Truss is a third generation farmer from the Kumbia District near Kingaroy.  He entered Federal Parliament in March1990 as a National Party Member representing the electorate of Wide Bay.

In 2007, Warren was chosen as the Federal Parliamentary Leader of The Nationals while serving as Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Warren was a Minister in the Howard Coalition Government for 10 years.  He was appointed Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs in October 1997, and a year later, Minister for Community Services. In July 1999 Warren assumed the position of Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, where he served for six years. He became Minister for Transport and Regional Services in July 2005 and in September 2006 Warren became Minister for Trade.

Before entering Parliament, Warren was a Kingaroy Shire Councillor from 1976 to 1990, including seven years as Chairman. He served as President of the Burnett District Local Government Association and as Chairman of the Fraser Coast-South Burnett Regional Tourism Board. He was Deputy Chairman of the Queensland Grain Handling Authority and a member of the State Council of the Queensland Graingrowers Association.

He is married to Lyn and now lives in Maryborough.

The Honourable Philip Ruddock MP

Chief Government Whip, Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Member of Parliament for Berowra 1993 (current), Father of the Australian House of Representatives 1998 (current), Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs 1996-2003, and Attorney-General of Australia 2003-2007, the Hon. Philip Ruddock MP is a widely respected and admired member of the Australian Federal Parliament.

His extraordinary political career has spanned nearly four decades, in which time he has made a very special bond with the Australian Lebanese community, particularly during his time as Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs.
He is currently the third longest-serving Member of the House of Representatives, and the third longest-serving parliamentarian, in the history of the Australian Parliament.

It is an extraordinary honour to count this man amongst our distinguished patrons.

Joseph Assaf AM

Author; Pioneer of Multicultural Marketing; Chairman of the Ethnic Business Awards.

As a maturing and adventurous young man, the sense of having other places to see and people to discover grew stronger and stronger, and Joseph’s dream of migrating, could no longer be put on hold. Something was calling him to go out and explore the wide world.

Joseph migrated to Australia from Lebanon in 1967, “travelling In someone elses shoes.” Upon arrival in Australia, he worked in a factory at night and studied at university during the day.

By 1972, Joseph had completed his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, majoring in Social Theory. Joseph then went on to complete a Diploma in Interpreting and Translating at the University of New South Wales.

Joseph Assaf is married to an Australian born Italian, Angela. They have 3 children Anthony, Daniel and David.
For details about Joseph’s career, click to download his Curriculum Vitae.