Detailed Conference Information

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Confirmed Speakers

Ted Thomas and Gail Penaluna will share MC duties at the conference. They are both people with albinism and avid square dancing enthusiasts. Ted is the current president of the AFA.

Dr Larry Abel is a senior lecturer for the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Dr Abel’s post-doctoral work was in eye movement control.

Bryony Balaton-Chrimes is currently studying a Bachelor of Performing Arts and loves to make cupcakes. Bryony has albinism and is a passionate reader, maintaining a blog about books.

Geoff Bowen is a psychologist associated with the Statewide Vision Resource Centre in Victoria. Geoff has decades of experience dealing with children and young people with low vision in a range of areas.

Andre Brett is a serious academic, majoring in History (honours) and Political Science and currently focusing on his PhD in New Zealand history. Despite low vision due to albinism Andre excelled in his honours year, surpassing his sighted peers and obtaining the highest grade for his thesis.

Kim Gillespie is a person with albinism. She is successful clinical social worker who owns her own private practice and is currently focusing on work with adolescences. Kim was a co-founder and previous president of the AFA.

Rick Guidotti is the Director of Positive Exposure. Rick completed his education in photography and filmmaking at New York’s School of Visual Arts and established a studio in Manhattan, specializing in portraiture and fashion for 15 years. Rick has been a friend, advocate and ally to the albinism community for many years.

Graeme Innes has been Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner since December 2005. Graeme also served as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner from July 2009 to July 2011 and is a Lawyer, Mediator and Company Director. He has been a Human Rights Practitioner for almost 30 years in NSW, WA and nationally. Graeme will talk about the federal anti-discrimination system in relation to the vision impaired.

Alan Johnston is a well known optometrist with an interest in vision solutions. He will be focusing on bioptics at the conference.

Dr Lionel Kowal is a specialist in strabismus and paediatric ophthalmology. Dr Kowal is the Director of the Ocular Motility Clinic at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. He is also a Senior Fellow of the University of Melbourne; Department of Ophthalmology.

Maria Lupton is a vision therapist from the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC). Maria has many years experience in early childhood development and will present on topics such as activities for babies, toddlers and preschoolers with low vision, how the RIDBC provides support, and more.

Professor Ron McCallum has a distinguished career. In 1993, he became the foundation Blake Dawson Waldron Professor in Industrial Law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney. Professor McCallum served as Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney from 2002 to 2007, followed by a term as Professor of Labour Law from 2008 to 2010. In January 2011, he was appointed to an Emeritus Professorship in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney. Professor McCallum was the inaugural president of the Australian Labour Law Association from 2001 to 2009, and Asian regional Vice-President of the International Society for Labour and Social Security Law from 2006 and 2009. From 2003 to 2011, he was Chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped of New South Wales Cooperative Ltd. Since 2006, he has been a Director and Deputy Chair of the Board of Vision Australia. In early 2003, the Australian Government awarded Professor McCallum a Centenary Medal for his role as a labour law scholar and in recognition of his leadership and inspiration for the disabled citizens of our nation. In the 2006 Queen’s Birthday honours list, he was designated an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for his services to tertiary education, industrial relations advice provided to governments, assistance and inspiration to visually impaired people and services to the cause of social justice. In November 2008, Professor McCallum was elected as Australian representative to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In March 2009, the Committee appointed Ron as Rapporteur to that Convention, responsible for reporting to the UN General Assembly on the recommendations and activities of the Committee. In 2009, Professor McCallum was unanimously elected as 2010 Chair of the Committee, and he was re-elected for a further two-year term in April 2010. At that time, he was also appointed by the Treaties Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Chair the Inter-Committee Meeting of Treaty Bodies and the Chairpersons Meeting. He is the 2011 Senior Australian of the Year, an honour awarded for achievements as an equal rights campaigner, especially for persons with disabilities. Professor McCallum will talk about the relevance of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability for the vision impaired.

Kenton Miller is a Human Rights Community Educator from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. Kenton Miller will talk about the human rights and anti-discrimination system in Victoria, as it relates to the vision impaired.

Maureen M Mswela is a lecturer in Social Welfare law at the University of South Africa (UNISA) and is currently a Doctor of law Candidate at (UNISA) specializing in the Medico-legal Aspects of Albinism. Maureen has contributed to local as well as international journals in the field of Medical- law and will be presenting on perceptions around socio-cultural beliefs and attitudes towards people living with albinism.

Dr Shari Parker is a Rehabilitation Physician at St Vincents hospital in Sydney. She has a particular clinical and research interest in chronic pain management. She is a mother to 3 children and has albinism.

Jim Pipczak is the Senior Adaptive Technology Consultant at Vision Australia. In addition to adaptive technology in general he is knowledgeable about Apple products and how best to utilise them with low vision.

Mai Shihah is a senior lecturer at the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris and has siblings with albinism. Her presentation is titled Fine motor skills among PWA: A comparison between Malaysia and Australia.

Sue Silveira is the chief investigator on a project to develop and implement the Australian Childhood Vision Impairment Register. She has over 20 years experience as a paediatric orthoptist and in an academic role.

Dr Zornitza Stark is a practising clinical geneticist. Dr Stark will be presenting on genetics relating to albinism, and she has a keen interest in the genetics of the eye.

Dr James Elder is a full-time paediatric ophthalmologist since 1990. Director, Department of Ophthalmology at the Royal Children’s Hospital from 1994 to 2009. Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne.

Blind Sports Victoria Inc was established in 1977 and is the statewide body providing sporting and recreational opportunities for blind or sight impaired members of the community.

Guide Dogs Victoria will be presenting on what services they offer, cane and Guide Dog mobility, and will likely have a Guide Dog available for those with low vision to “test drive”.

Vision Australia Orientation and Mobility services will be working with the youth program.


There will be an informal pay-as-you-go dinner on the Friday night for those who have arrived early and want to socialise. We will meet at the Novotel and continue on from there. Afterwards a group will continue across the street to the Lindt Cafe.


The official conference dinner will be held on Saturday at Wonderland, Docklands. After the conference program ends for the day there will be coaches to Wonderland where the AFA has exclusive use of the fun park. For three hours we will be able to eat, chat, enjoy the rides, and relax in the enclosed fun park before returning to the Novotel via coach.

Depending on interest, there will be activities in the week after the conference. These activities will give people a chance to experience the sights of Melbourne as well as continue the social aspect of the conference. Costs for these activities are not covered by conference registration. Possible destinations include the Melbourne Zoo, Museum, Aquarium, casual dinners and more.



The AFA would like to acknowledge and thank the generous following sponsors of our SPF 2011 conference.

  • Crown Coaches – complimentary provision of coach transport for the conference dinner 8 October 2011

  • Australian Government – Attorney General’s Department – sponsorship of the Human Right’s Workshop

  • Australian Government – Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs – National Disability Conference Funding Program for provision of travel bursaries to assist people with albinism and their carers to attend the conference.

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

  • Mars Food  have donated a cookbook for a raffle.

  • Yarra Trams have generously donated $500.

  • Pets Wonderland have generously donated a $50 gift card.

Pets Wonderland Logo

If you, or your organisation, would like to sponsor a component of our conference, please go to for additional information.


General Program Times

Day Event Time
Friday Early registration 2:30 – 4:30pm
Dinner 5:00pm
Saturday Registration 8:00 – 9:00am
Program Start 9:00am
Program Finish 4:30pm
Dinner 5:00pm
Sunday AGM 8:00 – 9:00am
Program Start 9:00am
Program Finish 5:00pm

Colouring Competition

Find out about the Colouring Competition here.