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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:
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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:
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 Tony Partridge was born in the United Kingdom and emigrated to the beaches of Australia’s Sunshine Coast in 1970, where he spent most of his youth on a surfboard. He graduated from the Queensland Institute of Technology in 1987 with a bachelor degree in Electronics Engineering, prior to joining the Navy in 1988.
Prior to taking up the role of Director General – Navy People in January 2018, Commodore Partridge was the Director General – Defence Force Recruiting, responsible for the attraction and recruitment of Defence Force personnel into Navy, Army, and Air Force. Working closely with the three Services, Commodore Partridge enjoyed the challenge of improving Defence’s people capability through transforming the recruitment of women, Indigenous and Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Australians.
His previous role was Chief of Staff Fleet Command, during the transformation of the Fleet Command organisation in preparation for the largest regeneration of Navy’s capability in many decades. As head of the Fleet Command enablers, he was responsible for all engineering, logistics, legal, medical, HR, and business management functions for the Fleet.
Commodore Partridge has served in three senior command & staff positions as the Chief Engineer and Frigate Capability Manager in Fleet Command and as Director of Studies Maritime at the Australian Command & Staff College, which included Commanding the ADF Warfare Centre, the Defence Force School of Languages, the Defence International Training Centre and the Peace Operations Training Centre.
In 2010 he attended the United States’ National Defense University where he lectured in National Security Studies and Strategic Leadership, following achievement of a Masters Degree.
Other shore postings have included, Royal Australian Navy liaison officer in Washington DC, Frigate Sustainment & Logistics Manager in the Defence Materiel Organisation, coordinator for Chief of Navy’s strategic planning documents (Plan Green and Plan Blue), and Executive Coach for Navy’s Leadership & Development Program.
Commodore Partridge has served in HMA Ships Perth, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. His sea-going highlights include four Operational Deployments to the Gulf in support of DAMASK, FALCONER, and IRAQ 2003.
Commodore Partridge and his wife Anna live in Canberra with their three children Zoe, Lachlan and Maddison.
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 Geoff Harland joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1985 as a navigator and graduated as a PLTOFF from the School of Air Navigation in 1986. He completed training as a navigator on P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft in 1987 and completed his tour as a tactical coordinator prior to re-rolling to F-111 strike aircraft in 1990.
Following F-111 conversion, he completed tours at both No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron. At No. 6 Squadron, he was a member of one of the crews responsible for the introduction to service and test and evaluation of the F-111G in 1994.
In 1995, he was posted to the UK and completed the RAF GD Aerosystems post-graduate course at RAF Cranwell. On return to Australia, a posting to the F-111 Weapon System Support Facility saw him working with Boeing design engineers responsible for major capability improvements to the F-111, including the initial design for the human-machine interface for AGM-142.
Following a short tour at Headquarters No. 82 Wing as the Operations Officer, he was posted to No. 6 Squadron as Operations Flight Commander. During that time he served in East Timor as an operations planner for the INTERFET Forward Command Element and then Air Component Headquarters. In 2001, he returned to No. 82 Wing as a Combat Systems Officer and was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for service to 82 Wing.
In 2002, he was posted to the No. 82 Wing Headquarters as the Executive Officer. In 2004, he completed Australian Command and Staff Course at the Australian Defence College followed by a posting as the Divisional Air Liaison Officer at the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters. He served overseas in Sumatra, Indonesia as the Air Operations Centre Director and then Air Component Commander providing humanitarian assistance to tsunami victims in Banda Aceh.
In January 2006, he was posted to command No. 1 Squadron (F-111C). After serving as Commanding Officer No. 1 Squadron for two years, he was posted to the Directorate of Personnel – Air Force as Deputy Director Air Operations. Air Commodore Harland then spent 18 months on leave working for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in aviation systems safety culminating in an executive appointment as the Australian Safety Oversight Branch Manager.
In 2009, he was promoted to Group Captain and posted to the position of Director of Personnel – Air Force where he was responsible for personnel management of Air Force Officers and Airmen. In 2012, he was appointed to the position of Officer Commanding No. 82 Wing (F/A-18F, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Combat Controller and Heron UAS). During his command, he led the F/A-18F transition from Initial Operating Capability to Final Operational Capability at a time when the operational tempo across the Wing was significant.
In 2014, he assumed the role of Director Airworthiness Coordination and Policy Agency where he was the Defence Aviation Authority’s (Chief of Air Force) Staff Officer responsible for operational regulation and oversight of Defence Aviation. In 2015, he was promoted to Air Commodore and deployed as Director of the 609th Combined Air and Space Operations Centre in the Middle East. Upon returning to Australia in February 2016, Air Commodore Harland commenced a two-year appointment as Commander Air Force Training Group.
On Australia Day 2017, Air Commodore Harland was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for exceptional service in personnel administration and air combat capability preparedness. He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for distinguished leadership as Director Air Operations Centre, Qatar on Operation Okra in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
On 18 January 2018 Air Commodore Harland commenced his appointment as Director General Personnel – Air Force.
Air Commodore Harland’s wife, Shivani, is an Air Force Logistics Officer and they have two young daughters, Eleanor and Esmé. Air Commodore Harland enjoys motorcycling, most sports, general fitness and spends any spare time customising his classic Moto Guzzi Café Racer and BMW R75/6.
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).
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.
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.
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.