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Council of NHMRC

The Council of NHMRC is established under the NHMRC Act to advise the CEO and perform functions conferred on it.

NHMRC Council August 2012 group photograph

Professor Warwick Anderson AM, CEO of NHMRC (centre left) and the Hon Justice Annabelle Bennett AO, Chair of NHMRC Council (centre) welcomed members to the 192nd Session of the Council in Canberra on 10 August 2012. This meeting marked the start of NHMRC’s 2012-15 Triennium.

Functions of the Council

The functions of the Council are:

  • to provide advice to the CEO in relation to the performance of his or her functions;
  • any other functions conferred on the Council in writing by the Minister after consulting the CEO; and
  • any other functions conferred on the Council by the NHMRC Act, the regulations or any other law.

The Council will enter into consultations before it provides a regulatory recommendation to the CEO, but may provide recommendations and guidelines to the CEO without consultation in urgent circumstances.

The Chair of the Council must convene at least one Council meeting in each financial year.

The manner in which the Council carries out its functions, and the procedure to be followed by the Council in relation to its meetings will be determined by the CEO, including, for example:

  • the convening of meetings;
  • the number of members to constitute a quorum;
  • who presides at meetings;
  • the manner in which questions arising at a meeting are to be decided;
  • the voting rights of members; and
  • the arrangements for non members to attend meetings.

Composition of the Council of NHMRC

Council members are appointed under section 41 (1) of the NHMRC Act. The terms of the current council commenced in 2012 and run until 2015.

Appointees to Council of NHMRC hold positions for a period of up to three years. Consequently, the work of Council is planned and reviewed on a triennial basis. All Council members, are part-time appointees. Members may be reappointed. The Council meets in full Session on several occasions each year and the proceedings of each Session are made available on the NHMRC website. It undertakes its work through a network of Principal Committees, working committees and expert panels, whose members are part-time and give much of their time and expertise.

The Council of the NHMRC consists of the following:

  • the Chair;
  • the chief medical officer for the Commonwealth;
  • the chief medical officer for each State and Territory;
  • a person with expertise in the health needs of Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders;
  • a person with expertise in consumer issues;
  • a person with expertise in business;
  • at least 6, but no more than 11, persons with expertise in one or more of the following:
    • health care training;
    • professional medical standards;
    • the medical profession and post graduate medical training;
    • the nursing profession;
    • public health research and medical research issues;
    • public health;
    • ethics relating to research involving humans;
    • other appropriate expertise.

Chairs of Principal Committees will generally be Council members. However, the Chair of a Principal Committee may be a person who is not a member of the Council if the Minister does not consider that any member of the Council has the appropriate expertise to be Chair of the Principal Committee, and another member of the Principal Committee is a member of the Council.

Members of Council



The Hon Justice Annabelle Bennett AO

Chairperson of each Principal Committee

Research Committee

Professor Kathryn North AM

Australian Health Ethics Committee

Clinical Professor Ian Olver AM

Human Genetics Advisory Committee

Professor Robyn Ward

Health Care Committee

Professor Claire Wainwright

Prevention and Community Health Committee

Professor David Roder AM

Commonwealth and State/Territory Chief Medical/Health Officers


Professor Chris Baggoley


Dr Kerry Chant


Dr Rosemary Lester


Dr Jeannette Young


Professor Paddy Phillips PSM


Professor Tarun Weeramanthri


Dr Craig White


Dr Paul Kelly


Dr Barbara Paterson

Members with specific expertise/experience

Expertise in the health needs of
Aboriginal persons and Torres Strait Islanders

Associate Professor Noel Hayman

Expertise in consumer issues

Ms Carol Bennett

Expertise in business

Mr John Brown

Expertise in the nursing profession

Ms Rosemary Bryant

  Professor Greg Dore
  The Hon Michael Egan
  Professor Anthony Shakeshaft
  Professor Anne Kelso AO

NHMRC Council Session Reports

Previous NHMRC Council Session reports

NHMRC Council Meeting Communiqués


Page last updated on 30 March 2015