About Us

The Strategic Counsel is the specialist provider of strategic, government and regulatory advice to companies in the health and medical technology sectors in Australia. Each senior member of the team has been a leader in the corporate, political or bureaucratic spheres.

The Hon. Dr Michael Wooldridge

Michael is a medical practitioner who entered Federal Parliament in 1987, at the age of thirty.  He is a former Deputy Leader of the Federal Liberal Party and served in a variety of portfolios in Opposition and Government, most notably as Australia's Minister for Health for just under 6 years between 1996 and 2001.  He is the longest serving Coalition Health Minister in over 40 years. On his retirement, Australia's most respected living scientist, Professor Sir Gustav Nossal, publicly described him as “Australia's greatest ever Health Minister”.

In addition to his time as Health Minister, in Government Michael was one of five Senior Ministers who made up Cabinet's Expenditure Review Committee.  He was involved in formulating six Federal Budgets, a level of experience only matched or exceeded by three others in the last 25 years. This gives him an unprecedented understanding of Government funding processes. His detailed knowledge and understanding of health care; health policy; political and bureaucratic processes, culture and thinking is unmatched in Australia.  He is widely respected.

Michael is currently Chairman of the CRC in Mental Health Science: the Chair of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health Medicine and Deputy Chairman of Aspen Medical. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine at Monash University.

michael@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Karen Barefoot

Karen brings to The Strategic Counsel a strong track record in policy, advocacy and stakeholder engagement drawing on her experience as an executive in the corporate, public and not for profit sectors. Karen has worked in leadership positions in the Departments of Prime Minister and Health, as the CEO of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Australia and as head of policy and public affairs for a multinational biopharmaceutical company in Australia.

karen@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Dimity BrownExecutive Assistant to Michael Wooldridge

Dimity has over 20 years experience across both private and public sectors - including small business, state politics and event management. Dimity brings to The Strategic Counsel a broad skill set in areas of executive administration, event coordination and office management. Dimity's positive and balanced approach shines through no matter what that task is at The Strategic Counsel - and her committed approach to stakeholder engagement ensures all clients are connected to the appropriate members of The Strategic Counsel team.

dimity@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Elizabeth Cuming

Elizabeth has joined the team at The Strategic Counsel having worked as a portfolio professional for over 25 years. Elizabeth's strategic abilities and leadership approach have consistently achieved results across both private and public sector organisations. Elizabeth has worked and held leadership roles in many industry sectors including Pharmacy, Healthcare, Wholesale, Retail, Manufacturing, Higher Education, Professional Services, Franchise and Loyalty.

elizabeth@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Sam Dastyari

Sam has joined the team at The Strategic Counsel bringing with him a deep and detailed understanding of the culture and inner workings of federal and state Labor.

Sam joined the ALP at age 16. By 21 he had become President of NSW young Labor, and at 24 a delegate to Labor's National Conference. At 30 he was appointed to the all powerful Australian Labor Party National Executive. Sam entered the Senate at age 30 and in under three years entered the Shadow Cabinet as Manager of Opposition business in the Senate.

sam@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Donna Edman

Donna has over twenty years' experience in every aspect of corporate public affairs management. She joined The Strategic Counsel as a Senior Consultant in 2012 and has provided Association management support, strategic policy advice and stakeholder engagement plans to over 20 clients of TSC. She previously led public affairs for Medicines Australia, headed the parliamentary liaison office and government engagement for the CSIRO and federal government relations for Ansett Australia, was a senior adviser in PM&C and worked within a Cabinet Minister's office. She has managed national social change campaigns for the Commonwealth on matters spanning domestic violence, Aboriginal reconciliation, work and family policy and sport. She is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Donna is currently on sabbatical until August 2019.

donna.e@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Rebecca McCarthy

Bec joined The Strategic Counsel in August 2015 from working with a legal firm. Bec has provided executive support and a wider range of assistance for both TSC and the industry associations it manages. She regularly liaises with account and legal firms, providing updates to ASIC, preparing budgets and coordinating logistic support for TSC events.

rebecca@thestrategiccounsel.com.au

Ulrike Schuermann

Ulrike assists the Strategic Counsel with social media marketing and optimising the online presence of both TSC and its clients. She also administers a grant programme for one of TSC clients.