Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships Selection Panel

The Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships Selection Panel will be chaired by the NSW Solicitor General Michael Sexton SC.

Mr Sexton has had a highly successful and varied career straddling the worlds of law, academia and writing.

Mr Sexton will be joined on the panel by several other esteemed leaders, scholars and educators, including members of the Ramsay Centre Executive and Board.

The nine Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships selection panel members are:


Mr Michael Sexton SC (Chair)

Michael Sexton SC is the New South Wales Solicitor-General. He studied law at the University of Melbourne, graduating with honours, and at the University of Virginia, graduating with a Master of Laws.

Following his postgraduate study Mr Sexton embarked on highly successful careers in law, academia, and as an author. After working for the Australian Attorney General he undertook an academic career as a lecturer at the University of NSW, where he was subsequently promoted to senior lecturer.

At the Bar Mr Sexton had a wide-ranging practice but a significant area was media law, and he co-authored the first text on Australian defamation law, Australian Defamation Law and Practice – a publication he continues to author.

His other legal publications include The Regulation of Foreign Investment in Australia (with Alexander Adamovich); The Legal Mystique: The Role of Lawyers in Australian Society (with Laurence W. Maher); and Uncertain Justice: Inside Australia’s Legal System.

In 1998, he was appointed as Senior Counsel and then as the New South Wales Solicitor-General. Mr Sexton remains the New South Wales Solicitor-General, making him one of the longest to serve in that role.

Continuing his work in the higher education sector, Mr Sexton served as member of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) council from 2005-16, chairing its Social Justice Committee and Student/Council Liaison Group, and serving as a member of the Governance Committee. He was an Adjunct Professor with the UTS Faculty of Law.

In addition to his legal writings, Mr Sexton is the author of several books on Australian politics and history including Illusions of Power: The fate of a reform government; The Great Crash: The short life and sudden death of the Whitlam government; and War for the Asking: Australia’s Vietnam secrets.  In 2015, he also published On the Edges of History: A memoir of law, books and politics. 

 Mr Sexton has served as Chairman of the NSW State Rail Authority and on the boards of the NSW Public Transport Authority, the NSW Library Council, and the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Dr Amanda Bell

Dr Amanda Bell is Governor and Chair of Queenwood School, and a director of Art Exhibitions Australia Ltd.

Until recently she was the Principal of The Women’s College within the University of Sydney, a position she held for 7 years. The College was founded in 1892 and is the oldest Women’s College in Australasia, with strong affiliations throughout the world.

Prior to the Women’s College, Dr Bell was Principal of Brisbane Girls Grammar School and before that, Deputy Principal at SCEGGS Redlands.

Dr Bell graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA degree and Dip,Ed, in Art History and English Literature. She went on to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Feminist Biography, Education and The Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

Dr Bell served for three years both as a member of the NSW Rhodes Scholarship Committee, and Chair of the Advisory Board of the International Centre for Youth Futures at UTS. Her interest and training in Art History resulted in her appointment as Director of the S.H.Ervin Gallery and her later serving on the Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA Board 2008-2013, including as Deputy Chair.

Dr Bell is a Member of the Order of Australia, Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

She has won a National Leadership Award in Music Education and an Australian Government Award for Quality Schooling for Excellence as a Principal.

Dr Bell was nominated by the Queensland Government’s Office for Women for inclusion in their 100 Years of Women’s Achievements register for her leadership in education.

Dr Bell mentors many women, including young women commencing their careers as well as mid-career women seeking professional guidance to secure senior roles.

Professor James Franklin 

Professor James Franklin is an Honorary Professor in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of New South Wales.  He studied at the University of Sydney, graduating with a BA (Hons) in pure mathematics and an MA (Honours). He undertook postgraduate studies at Warwick University, where he earned his PhD in Mathematics in 1982.  

His research focuses on the philosophy of mathematics, extreme risk theory, ethics and the history of ideas.

It combines the insights of mathematics (with its proofs, certainty and objectivity) with the culture of humanistic scholarship (with its understanding of how humans approach knowledge). He has been the recipient of major ARC Discovery Grants in his field and is the author of numerous books and articles. 

In the philosophy of mathematics, his 2014 book, An Aristotelian Realist Philosophy of Mathematics, developed a realist alternative to Platonism and nominalism, arguing that mathematics is the science of certain aspects of the real world, especially the quantitative and structural ones.

His research on extreme risks looks at the problems of combining very small amounts of data with expert opinion to reach reasonable estimates of the chance of very rare events with large negative consequences.

His work in the history of ideas includes two books, The Science of Conjecture: Evidence and Probability Before Pascal (2001) and Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia (2003)

In 2005 he was awarded a Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics.

From 2012 to 2019, Professor Franklin was a member of the Council of St Johns College at the University of Sydney.

He is the founder of the Sydney School in the Philosophy of Mathematics and editor of the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society.


Professor Simon Haines

Professor Haines is CEO of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, and a distinguished scholar, teacher, and author.

Educated in Iraq, England and Australia, Professor Haines took a BA (Hons I) at the Australian National University and a DPhil in English Literature at the University of Oxford.

He worked as a banker in London and then as a diplomat and analyst with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of National Assessments. He led the OECD Budget Committee as Chairman from 1985-1987.

Professor Haines then taught English Literature at the Australian National University from 1990 to 2008, where he also served as Head of the School of Humanities. He has also taught at Oxford and Bologna.

In 2009 he was appointed Chair Professor and Head of English at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he also served as Director of the Research Centre for Human Values. He is a founding member of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities.

In 2017 he was appointed CEO of the Ramsay Centre.

Professor Haines’s research interests include Romantic and post-Romantic literature and philosophy; the self in poetry and philosophy; and 17th-century English poetry and philosophy, including Shakespeare in particular. His undergraduate teaching has mainly been in the long nineteenth century and in early modern literature, as well as a “great books” course on literature and philosophy from Homer to Proust. He has supervised more than twenty PhDs.

He has served on the editorial committees of a number of journals including The Critical Review and Victoriographies, and on scholarship selection panels including the Esther Yewpick Lee Millenium Scholarship for study at Oxford.

Simon is the author or editor of five books including the prizewinning Reader in European Romanticism (Bloomsbury, 2010, 2nd paperback edition 2014) and Poetry and Philosophy from Homer to Rosseau (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) His most recent book is the edited volume Shakespeare and Value (Routledge, May 2018).

Dr Stephen McInerney

Dr Stephen McInerney, an experienced liberal arts scholar, teacher and published poet, is Academic Director & Deputy CEO of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

He holds a PhD from the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Arts (with First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, and an Advanced Diploma in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he was awarded the Theological Studies Prize and the Lightfoot Prize for Ecclesiastical History.

Since 2006 Dr McInerney has taught literature at Campion College, Australia’s first tertiary college dedicated exclusively to the liberal arts. He was appointed Senior Lecturer in 2011 and served as Associate Dean of Studies from 2014 to 2017.

The Enclosure of An Open Mystery: Sacrament and Incarnation in the Writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins, David Jones and Les Murray was published by Peter Lang in 2012.

His first volume of poetry was recommended by Les Murray in the Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year in 2002. His most recent volume, The Wind Outside (2016) was published by Hardie Grant Publishers.

Dr McInerney serves as a Ramsay Centre representative on scholarship selection panels at the University of Wollongong, the University of Queensland, and Australian Catholic University.


The Hon Tony Abbott AC

The Hon Tony Abbott AC served as Australia’s Prime Minister for two years from 7 September 2013.

He has degrees in economics and law from the University of Sydney, and an MA in politics and philosophy from the University of Oxford which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

He was the Member for Warringah in Australian Parliament from 1994 to 2019. As the local MP, he was instrumental in the creation of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust to preserve the natural and built heritage of his electorate and elsewhere.

Prior to entering parliament, Mr Abbott was a journalist with The Australian newspaper, a senior adviser to Opposition Leader John Hewson, and director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

He is the author of three books: The Minimal Monarchy (1995), How to Win the Constitutional War (1997), and Battlelines (2009).

In 2019 Mr Abbott was appointed by the Governor-General of Australia to the Council of the Australian War Memorial for a three-year term. In 2020 Mr Abbott was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for “eminent service to the people and Parliament of Australia”.

Mr Abbott volunteers for a range of community organisations and causes. Since 1998, he has convened the Pollie Pedal annual charity bike ride which has raised nearly $7 million for organisations such as Soldier On, Carers Australia, and other charities. He does surf patrols with the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club and serves as a Deputy Captain with the Davidson Rural Fire Brigade.

He is a passionate volunteer in Indigenous communities. In 2014, and again in 2015, he spent a week running the government from a remote indigenous community.

Mr Abbott is a director of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

Professor Ann Brewer

Professor Ann Brewer is a Higher Education Consultant and Researcher and Emerita Professor at the University of Sydney, Australia.

While Professor Brewer’s academic background is in Behavioural Science, it is in the areas of leadership, education, strategic policy and organisational behaviour that most of her research and teaching over the past decade is located.

She has an international reputation in lifelong learning. Professor Brewer has published 10 books and over 60 articles as well as being a guest editor of and reviewer for academic journals.

Her current work involves the educational design of a new university at the Aerotropolis in Western Sydney. She also works in both the school and vocational sectors as well as within the corporate and government sectors.

She is a highly experienced senior manager having worked at all executive levels in universities, including being the longest serving Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney.

Professor Brewer holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Commerce (Honours) from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Arts (Behavioural Science) from Macquarie University.

Professor Brewer is a director of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

Dr Michael Easson AM

Dr Easson AM is a business and community leader with a deep passion for higher education.

Dr Easson has a BA (Hons.1) in Political Science from the University of NSW; a PhD in history from the Australian Defence Force Academy, UNSW; a MSc (with Distinction) from Campion Hall, the University of Oxford; and a PhD in transport project management from the University of Melbourne.

He has also completed the Trade Union Program at the Harvard Business School and the Finance Management Program at the Stanford Business School.

He is founder and Chair of EG Funds Management. He is director, co-founder and co-owner of Willow Technology Corporation. He is also independent Chair of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia, and President of the Australian Defence Association.

Over the past twenty-five years he has served on Boards across a diverse range of sectors. He was a founding director of both Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Macquarie Goodman. Dr Easson was an Adjunct Professor at the Australian Graduate School of Management’s Centre for Corporate Change.

Earlier, he was a Vice President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Secretary of the Labor Council of NSW, and the Senior Vice President of the ALP, NSW Branch.

He was awarded Member of the Order of Australia in 1997.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Easson is a director of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

Elizabeth Stone

Elizabeth Stone is Principal of Queenwood School.

Following her undergraduate degree, Ms Stone worked in the NSW Supreme Court and as an academic specialising in commercial contract law. She lectured at the Faculty of Law at the University of NSW for three years.

She took up a Rhodes Scholarship in 1998 and completed her master’s at University College, Oxford.

She later moved into teaching and taught Mathematics first in Sydney and then in the UK. There she was the first woman appointed to a senior management position at 600-year-old Winchester College and became Vice Principal at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. She returned to Australia in 2014 to take up the Queenwood Principal role.

Ms Stone has degrees in arts and law from the University of NSW, a master’s from the University of Oxford, a performance diploma in piano, and a Diploma of Education.

Ms Stone is a Director of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation.

The past is insight. The future is in sight.