Council Members

A Council is elected each year to provide voluntary administration and organisation of the Society. The Council is responsible for

  1. developing the Society’s strategy and direction
  2. organising events, publications and other activities
  3. engaging with members, partners, young economists and students
  4. representing the Victorian branch at the national level.

We are always looking for members to involve themselves in the running of the organisation.  Please contact us on to express your interest in becoming involved.

Further information on governance is available in the Economic Society of Australia Constitution  

The Council

The 2022 Victorian Council was elected at the Annual General Meeting in December 2021.


President - Alex Millmow

Dr. Alex Millmow was an associate professor in economics at the School of Business at Federation University Australia over the period 2010 until 2019. He is now an honorary research fellow at Federation University. Alex's research interests include the making of the Australian economic profession and the role of economic ideas in steering public policy. In 2004 he completed his doctorate at the Australian National University on 'The Power of Economic Ideas: The Rise of Macroeconomic Management in Australia’ which was subsequently published. Alex has also published over 50 journal articles Including the Economic Record, Economic Papers, Economic Analysis and Policy and the History of Economics Review. He is the current President of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia (HETSA). In 2017 he published A History of Australasian Economic Thought (Routledge: London). He had just published an intellectual biography of the Anglo Australian economist Colin Clark entitled The Gypsy Economist.

Secretary - Sharon Lierse

Dr Sharon Lierse has a Global MBA from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has extensive experience on committees and boards and is also an editor. Sharon has lectured in Asia and Australia, and has been an international consultant for UNESCO.

Treasurer - James Maccarrone

James Maccarrone is a Consultant at BCG, where he has worked across the Public Sector and Private Equity practice areas. Prior to this, he was a Research Economist at the Productivity Commission, and worked as an intern at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, London. He has published research in labour economics, particularly at the intersection of international trade and labour markets. James has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree in economics from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Office Bearer - Nicolas Alexiou

Nicolas Alexiou is an Investigator in Financial Services Enforcement at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), assisting investigations and proceedings relating to breaches of Commonwealth and state financial services and credit laws, including corporate misconduct and complex fraud. Prior to this, Nicolas gained experience in the Data Analytics and Research, Market Supervision and Financial Services and Credit Licensing teams of ASIC, and also interned in the Legal and Economic Division of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). Nicolas holds Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from Monash University and during his studies served as President of the Economics Student Society of Australia at Monash University’s Clayton campus.

Office Bearer - Mary Cavar

Mary Cavar is the Executive Manager of the Melbourne office at the Productivity Commission, where she is responsible for planning and coordinating the Commission’s inquiry and research work, supporting the development of staff, and advising on analytical matters. Prior to this, Mary was an Assistant Commissioner and lead a number of inquiries and studies.
Prior to joining the Productivity Commission, Mary worked for the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance in the areas of macroeconomic forecasting, tax policy and intergovernmental relations. She has also worked as an economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. Mary has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree from the University of Melbourne and an Executive Master of Public Administration from the Australia New Zealand School of Government.

Office Bearer- Benedict Davies

Benedict Davies is currently a Ministerial adviser on superannuation policy. He has experience in technical, product and policy roles for a diverse group of employers and he has degrees in economics, philosophy, tax law and policy as well qualifications in applied finance and health economics.

Office Bearer - Anita Doraisami

Anita Doraisami has taught Economics at Monash and Federation University. She has also worked for the International Monetary Fund and was Macroeconomic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance, Timor Leste.

She has consulted widely for international organisations and held visiting positions at the Asian Development Bank Institute, Tokyo, the University of Malaya, the ANU and the University of Cambridge.

Anita holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

Office Bearer - Brendan Coates

Brendan Coates is the Economic Policy Program Director at Grattan Institute, where he leads Grattan’s work on tax and transfer system reform, retirement incomes and superannuation, housing, macroeconomics, and migration.
He is a former macro-financial economist with the World Bank in Indonesia and consulted to the Bank in Latin America. Prior to that, he worked in the Treasury in areas such as tax-transfer system reform and macro-economic forecasting,with a strong focus on the Chinese economy.
Brendan holds a Masters of International Development Economics from the Australian National University and Bachelors of Commerce and Arts from the University of Melbourne. He sits on the Victorian State Council for the Economic Society of Australia.

Office Bearer - Michael Coelli

Dr Mick Coelli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne. Mick’s main research interests are in Labour Economics, the Economics of Education and Micro-empirical econometric techniques. He completed his PhD in Economics in 2005 at the University of British Columbia. He has published in several leading International and Australian Economics journals including the Journal of Public Economics, Labour Economics, Empirical Economics, Economic Record and the Australian Economic Review. He has written several book chapters, government reports and has conducted research for the Federal and Victorian State governments. Prior to working in academia, Mick worked for the Reserve Bank of Australia, Macquarie Group and KPMG Management Consulting.

Office Bearer - Ben Ferguson

Ben Ferguson is currently Director of Renewable Energy Zones at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Ben has held senior roles in the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, Deloitte Access Economics and the Business Council of Australia focussed on energy, water, climate change and regional development policy.

Ben is an economist with degrees from the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne, and a past President of the Victorian Branch of the Economic Society of Australia.

Office Bearer - Philip Norman

Philip Norman’s current economic interests are Mental health, Transport, Agriculture and Macroeconomics. His economic consultancy advises, innovates and offers tutorials.

Philip gained wide work experience across government (Reserve Bank, Department of Transport, Victoria), business (Norman Bros stationers, BHP Minerals) and not for profit (University of Melbourne, Business Council of Australia). He is a past President of the Economic Society (Vic branch).

Professor Richard Ivan Downing (1915-1975) was Philip’s inspiring economic teacher. Prof Downing studied under Lord Keynes at King’s College Cambridge UK in 1938 and married Philip’s mother in 1965.

University of Melbourne and Southampton University awarded Philip economics degrees with mathematics and econometrics. LSE taught him econometrics.

Philip still swims competitively. He rowed for MUBC in the All Japan Championships and for LSE at Royal Henley.

Office Bearer - Dr George Rivers

Dr George Rivers is an economist specialising in cost benefit analysis; legislation assessment; project/program evaluation and pricing.  Dr Rivers is also currently an adjunct faculty member of the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and an instructor in the Executive Masters of Public Administration for senior public sector officials. George has extensive experience in program evaluations, stakeholder consultation, cost-benefit analysis, productivity analysis, activity based costing and national competition policy assessments, consulting with various state and national government agencies.  Dr Rivers has been commissioned to deliver cost-benefit workshops on behalf of the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (now Better Regulation Victoria), the Queensland Competition Authority and the New Zealand Treasury.  Dr Rivers was also involved in delivering innovation productivity workshops for the Department of Business and Innovation on ICT projects and brand value/productivity workshop for the Corporate Valuations Unit of the Australian Tax office. 

Office Bearer - Steven Stern

Steven Stern is University General Counsel and University Secretary at Victoria University, and an Adjunct Professor in the College of Law and Justice. He has a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Law from Monash University, and a Master of Law and PhD from the University of Melbourne. His Master thesis was on the protection of computer software, and PhD on the extent to which monetary economics influences financial law. Steven is alos a member of the Victorian Technical Committee of the Taxation Institute of Australia. He has published in internationally refereed journals such as Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly, The Journal of Business Law, and The Company Financial and Insolvency Law Review. 

Office Bearer - Rebecca Valenzuela

Dr Rebecca Valenzuela is a professional economist, an experienced university educator, a well-published research academic and a best-selling book author. Between 2000-2019, she taught economics at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, as well as in various universities in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Canada and the US. Rebecca is currently the Model Development and Research Manager at DTF, where she is also the managing editor of Victoria’s Economic Bulletin. Prior to this, she served as Principal Economist at the Productivity Commission (QLD), and as Senior Adviser at the DPC in NSW. Dr Valenzuela is the principal author of the popular book “The Economic Development in Asia” published in 2009. Between 2010 and 2017, she wrote regular Op-Ed articles on contemporary policy issues in The Age and in the Sydney Morning Herald. Rebecca obtained her PhD (Econometrics) from the University of New England, NSW.

Office Bearer - Simone Wong

Simone Wong is currently a senior economist at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. She was previously a specialist in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet's Behavioural Insights Unit and a consultant for Frontier Economics where she advised on Australian electricity, coal and natural gas markets. She also has extensive market modelling experience. Aside from economics, Simone enjoys live music, running and yoga. Simone graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne in 2009.  

Office Bearer - Wenying Yao

Dr. Wenying Yao is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Deakin University. She has previously worked at Monash University and the University of Tasmania as a Research Fellow after obtaining her PhD in Econometrics from Monash University. Her research broadly covers time series econometrics theory and methods, with particular focuses on the application of innovative econometric tools to macroeconomic and financial time series data. She has taught a wide range of econometric units across all undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and developed research collaboration networks with researchers around the world. She has worked on a range of forecast modelling projects outside the economics discipline.



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