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ABOUT US

On this website you will find a range of educational materials and links to other useful information from trusted resources. Our aim is to keep you informed so that you are in a position to make the best decisions possible for yourself and your family.

Our Charter

The ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre (ADF Consumer) is a Department of Defence entity established in 2006.  We exist to serve ADF members and operate under a Charter issued by the Chief of the Defence Force.  Our role is to:

Provide financial and consumer education for ADF members

To offer, in consultation with appropriate regulators, impartial financial education (not personal advice) and relevant resource material to all ADF personnel in order to assist them to make informed decisions and plans about their financial affairs, and empower them to improve their financial capability throughout their careers.

Provide advice to the Chief of the Defence Force and Service Chiefs

To act as an internal source of expert advice to the Chiefs on consumer matters related to the financial services industry. For the purposes of this Charter, ‘financial services industry’ generally describes organisations that offer banking, insurance, lending, superannuation and investment products and services.

Build and maintain relationships with relevant external agencies

To develop, foster and maintain a professional and positive relationship with regulators, particularly Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, relevant industry associations and participants in the financial services industry.

CENTRE MEMBERS & STAFF

Members

Air Commodore Robert M. C. Brown, AM
Chairman

Robert Brown is a Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reservist. He brings a wide range of practical experience and technical knowledge to the work of the Centre. He practised for many years as a Chartered Accountant in Sydney, specialising in taxation, superannuation and financial planning.

His views on the financial services industry are published widely in trade and general media. He is a monthly columnist in the Institute of Chartered Accountants professional journal Charter and in Professional Planner magazine.

In 1997 he was voted as inaugural ‘Superannuation Fund Trustee of the Year’. Robert is a regular speaker at conferences on matters both of a technical and policy nature relating to the financial services industry. In 2009 he received a Meritorious Service Award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in recognition of outstanding services to the profession.

In 2011, Robert was awarded a Chief of the Defence Force Commendation for his contribution to the financial education of ADF personnel. Since 2010, he has been a member of the Australian Government’s Financial Literacy Board which provides advice to Government and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on financial literacy issues.

In 2013, Robert was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for his work in superannuation and financial services.

Rear Admiral Brett Wolski, AM
Head People Capability

Rear Admiral Brett Wolski joined the RAN in 1986 as a Supplementary List officer.  He was awarded his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate in HMAS BRISBANE in 1989 and a 12-month posting in the Destroyer Escort HMAS STUART as Officer of the Watch immediately followed.  Rear Admiral Wolski completed the Air Defence Controller course at RAAF WILLIAMTOWN in January 1991 and joined HMAS PERTH for eighteen months as the Air Intercept Controller and Officer of the Watch.  He then posted to RAAF WILLIAMTOWN as an Air Defence Controller Instructor and was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant in 1993.  He completed the Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) course in Dec 95 and over the next five years, was posted as Warfare Officer onboard HMAS CANBERRA and BRISBANE, and as an instructor at the PWO facility, HMAS WATSON. He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in January 2000.  In August 2000 Rear Admiral Wolski posted to the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters in Brisbane as the RAN Liaison Officer giving him a close view of the Joint capabilities of the ADF.

Rear Admiral Wolski was deployed overseas in January 2002 to the role of RAN Liaison Officer COMFIFTHFLT based in Bahrain.  He then attended the Executive Officer course and joined HMAS MANOORA as Executive Officer in July 2002. MANOORA conducted First of Class Flight Trials, several amphibious exercises and deployments to Operation FALCONER and ANODE during his tenure.  Promoted to Commander in January 2004, Rear Admiral Wolski undertook workforce planning duties as Deputy Director Navy Establishments (2004-2005) and Director Navy Workforce Planning (2005-2006) at Navy Headquarters, Canberra.  Rear Admiral Wolski was selected as Commanding Officer HMAS TOBRUK and assumed command in January 2007.  TOBRUK took part in Operations CATALYST/SLIPPER and RESOLUTE and Exercises Talisman Sabre 07 and RIMPAC 08 during his command.  Promoted to Captain in November 2008, Rear Admiral Wolski was appointed Director of Workforce Modelling, Forecasting and Analysis located in Canberra.  He was subsequently selected as Commanding Officer HMAS STIRLING from December 2010 for two years.

In January 2013, Rear Admiral Wolski was promoted to Commodore and posted as Director General Workforce Planning. In December 2015, he was promoted to his current rank of Rear Admiral and assumed the appointment of Head People Capability.  He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2016 Australia Day Honours.

Rear Admiral Wolski is married to Sandra and has two children, Elena and Alexander. His interests include jogging, bushwalking and agriculture.

Mr John Edstein
Independent Member

John Edstein is a consulting lawyer with over 30 years experience in superannuation, life insurance, tax and financial services law. For 23 years, he was a partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons (which was previously Mallesons Stephen Jaques). His areas of expertise include:

  • Trust, regulatory and tax advice for major superannuation funds
  • Trust and tax advice for trusts generally
  • Tax and regulatory advice for life companies

For many years, John was an author and co-editor (with Air Commodore Robert Brown) of Australian Superannuation Law & Practice (a loose leaf text now published by Thomsons). He contributes to professional and industry journals. John was a part-time lecturer for the post graduate Diploma of Taxation course at the University of Western Sydney for many years and occasionally lectures in the Master of Laws course for the University of Sydney.

Commodore Michele Miller
Director General Navy People

Commodore Miller joined the Royal Australian Navy, from Canberra, through the Australian Defence Force Academy in 1988. She assumed the role of Director General Navy People in December 2014.

After training and serving as an Officer of the Watch in Destroyer Escorts, Commodore Miller qualified with the Royal Australian Air Force as an Air Intercept Controller and completed RAN Principal Warfare Officer training in 1997, specialising as an Air Warfare Officer.

Commodore Miller has served as the Gunnery Officer and Operations Officer of HMASNewcastle, the Training Coordinator for the RAN Sea Training Group, Commanding Officer of HMAS Bunbury, Operations Officer to Commodore Flotillas, Executive Officer of HMAS Stuart, Deputy Director of Surface Combatants in Maritime Development, Commanding Officer of HMAS Perth, Commander Sea Training (Major Fleet Units), Director of Sailors’ Career Management in Canberra, and Chief of Staff in Navy Strategic Command.

Commodore Miller’s operational service has included border protection operations (Operations STANHOPE, CRANBERRY, RELEX I, RELEX II and RESOLUTE), and in the Middle East Area of Operations on Operation SLIPPER (Iraq and ICAT). She has a Chief of Navy Commendation for her service in HMAS Newcastle in 1995-1996, and a Maritime Commander’s Commendation for actions onboard HMAS Stuart in April 2004.

Commodore Miller holds a Master of Arts (Strategic Studies), Graduate Diploma of Management (Defence Studies), Certificate of Maritime Studies (University of Wollongong) and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Oceanography and Information Systems

Commodore Miller is married to a RAAF officer and they live together in Canberra in their own home with their young daughter. Her interests include running, bush walking, playing touch football, alpine skiing, reading and studying strategic issues in the South China Sea.

Brigadier Leigh Wilton
Director General Personnel - Army

Brigadier Wilton graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon, to the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC) in 1991. Her early appointments included regimental and staff positions as a supply officer, and as a project manager involved in the enhancement of the Standard Defence Supply System.

Brigadier Wilton’s command experience includes a posting as the Officer Commanding Supply Company, 7th Combat Service Support Battalion and, being appointed as the inaugural Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor of the Army School of Ordnance.

Brigadier Wilton has held a range of staff appointments at both Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel. She has held positions as the Senior Officer Manager within the Career Management Agency, Directing Staff at both the Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC) and the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS), and as the Chief of Staff for Headquarters 633 – Afghanistan, and Chief of Staff for Army Headquarters.

Brigadier Wilton is a graduate of ACSC and CDSS. She holds a Master of Arts in Strategic Studies, a Masters of Management, a Bachelor of Business and a Graduate Diploma in Information Systems. Brigadier Wilton has also completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Brigadier Wilton was appointed as the Director General Personnel – Army in 2016.

Air Commodore Henrik Ehlers, AM
Director General Personnel - Air Force

Air Commodore Henrik Ehlers is the Director General Personnel – Air Force. Personnel Branch – Air Force provides an integrated full-time and part-time military and civilian workforce for Australia’s air power and military needs. The branch aim is to ensure a capable workforce for force generation and sustainment. We achieve this by planning for the future workforce, strategically managing personnel, developing people and influencing organisational behaviours, and optimising our personnel policies and systems.

Air Commodore Ehlers enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an Officer Cadet in 1982. After completion of a Bachelor of Business Studies degree with majors in Data Processing and Personnel Management, Air Commodore Ehlers was commissioned as a Supply Officer in 1984. His early postings included Headquarters Support Command, unit level supply positions at Base Squadron Fairbairn and No 492 Squadron, and as part of the Blackhawk and F/A-18 Project Teams in the USA. After promotion to Squadron Leader in 1993, he served in Communications and Information Systems policy in Air Force Headquarters before returning to the USA as a Supply Liaison Officer with the US Army. Air Commodore Ehlers returned to Australia in 1998 to undertake the RAAF Command and Staff Course and was subsequently posted to the Directorate of Personnel Officers – Air Force. In October 1999, he was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander and remained in the Directorate as Deputy Director, Engineering/Logistics. In December 2001, Air Commodore Ehlers returned to the USA as the Director Foreign Military Sales at the Embassy of Australia, where he was responsible for managing the interface with the US Department of Defense agencies and military Services for the purchase of US-origin goods and services through Foreign Military Sales arrangements and, increasingly, the emerging area of Cooperative Acquisition Programs with the United States.

In January 2005, he was promoted to Group Captain and returned to Canberra as Chief of Staff of the Air Force Headquarters Personnel Branch. In January 2008, Air Commodore Ehlers posted as Director Coordination within the office of the Chief of Air Force, where he was responsible for the provision of executive support to the Deputy Chief of Air Force and the Chief of Air Force, Air Force’s interaction with Ministers and Parliament, and Air Force communications and reputation management.

Air Commodore Ehlers was promoted to his current rank upon assuming the Director General Defence Force Recruiting position in February 2010. As Director General Defence Force Recruiting, he was responsible for ab initio recruiting into the Australian Defence Force (ADF), leading an organisation of over 800 ADF, contractor and Public Service personnel. In September 2012, he was appointed the

Director General Cultural Reviews Response. His branch included the Organisational Development Unit – responsible for facilitating the Defence-wide implementation of Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture, Defence’s response to reviews into aspects of Defence and Australian Defence Force culture; the Organisational Response Unit – responsible for coordinating Defence’s interactions with the independent Defence Abuse Response Taskforce; and the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO).

Air Commodore Ehlers was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2014.

Air Commodore Ehlers is married to Wing Commander Katrina James, a RAAF Active Reserve Personnel Capability Officer. Their interests include good wine and food, reading (fiction and nonfiction), travel, and Macy – their young Cocker Spaniel.

VIEW STAFF PROFILES

Squadron Leader Daniel Mendoza-Jones
Staff Officer - Legal & Financial Services

Daniel is the Principal of Mendoza Legal & Consulting and a Legal Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve. His areas of professional practice include financial services and government business. He assists the Centre with its legal and financial services projects and also presents education seminars.

Daniel qualified as a solicitor at Allens Arthur Robinson in Sydney where he worked in the Insurance, Financial Services, Mergers & Acquisitions and Communications Media & Technology practice groups.

Daniel attended the University of New South Wales where he was awarded the degrees of Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws specialising in corporate and commercial law. He later attended Harvard University where he was awarded the degree of Master of Liberal Arts, Extension Studies (General Management).

Select Publications:

  • Daniel Mendoza-Jones, ‘Reform of the Financial Advice Industries in Australia and the United States’ (2013) 31 Company and Securities Law Journal 261.
  • Daniel Mendoza-Jones, ‘Superannuation Trustees – Governance, Best Interests, Conflicts of Interest and the Proposed Reforms’ (2012) 30 Company and Securities Law Journal 297.
  • Daniel Mendoza-Jones (ed), ‘Australian Military Law’ (2005) 28(2) University of New South Wales Law Journal.

Ms Dina Bricknell
Executive Officer

Dina provides executive, administrative and secretariat support to the Centre’s Chairman, members and staff. Her role includes managing the production of  educational materials, coordinating financial administration and overseeing the scheduling of all ADF Financial Education seminars.

Dina studied Chinese Language & Culture at Taipei National Normal University in Taiwan and came to Australia in 1980 to study Modern Asian Studies, majoring in Chinese at Griffith University in Queensland.

Dina’s professional career began in the private sector after she completed a Basic Accounting Course and then worked in Connecticut, USA. After gaining additional administrative experience in a wide range of roles, she worked as the Assistant to the Managing Director of ITL Limited, a company that manufactures medical devices and procedure packs for global healthcare markets. Dina remained at ITL for five years before joining the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as Executive Assistant / Branch Coordinator to Assistant Secretary, ICT Services, Systems Division in 2005. That position led to her role as Senior Executive Assistant at the Defence Materiel Organisation, which in turn led to her transfer to Defence in August 2012 as the Executive Officer for the Centre.

Dina’s interests include travel, good wine, dancing and relaxing with her two cats, Bobby and Unyil.

Mr Duncan Poulson
Seminar Presenter - Northern Territory (Regional Commissioner NT, ASIC)

Duncan Poulson joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in October 2000 and was appointed ASIC’s Northern Territory Regional Commissioner in December 2005.

Mr Poulson holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Tasmania and was previously a lecturer in Commercial Law and International Business at the University.

He has worked for ASIC in a number of roles and, in recent times, has focused on financial consumer protection activities in the Northern Territory, with particular emphasis on boosting financial literacy.

Mr Tony Negline
Consultant - Financial Services and Seminars

Tony is an independent professional speaker, writer, and researcher on areas related to the financial services industry. He is Managing Director of Financial & Technical Solutions Pty Ltd which he founded in 2001.

Tony writes the weekly DIY Super column in The Australian newspaper.

He is author of The Essential SMSF Guide 2012/13 which is published by Thomson Reuters and endorsed by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia.

Tony has over 25 years experience in the financial services industry in which he has previously held a number of senior positions.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Business Systems from Monash University. He also has a Diploma in Journalism and an Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Superannuation). He is a Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (Finsia).

He is married with four children.

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