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Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is the peak representative body for postgraduate students in Australia. CAPA's members are 33 postgraduate associations and the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association (NATSIPA). CAPA provides member associations with representation to the Federal government, and peak bodies such as the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia, on issues affecting postgraduate students in Australia. In 2017, Australia had over 400,000 postgraduate students, representing one quarter of all tertiary students in Australia.[1]

Recognising the dual roles of many postgraduate students, CAPA works in collaboration with the National Union of Students where matters impact on all students (such as voluntary student unionism and funding for higher education), and with the National Tertiary Education Union regarding issues of employment in the tertiary education sector, particularly on the casualisation of the academic workforce.

CAPA has an office located at the NTEU National office in Melbourne, Victoria. Its Annual Council Meeting (ACM), where organisational issues and policy directives are decided, is hosted by a different constituent organisation each year.


CAPA was founded in 1979 by a coalition of ten postgraduate organisations in order to protest taxation on postgraduate research scholarships.[2] Historically, CAPA has been concerned with lobbying around fees on postgraduate degrees.

In 1998, a separate organisation, the National Indigenous Postgraduate Association (NIPA) was formed within CAPA.[3] This association became the National Indigenous Postgraduate Association Aboriginal Corporation (NIPAAC) in 1999, and was later restructured as the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association (NATSIPA) in 2015.


CAPA consists of elected representatives on three committees: the governing Executive Committee, the Equity committee, and the Engagement Committee. The NATSIPA Liaison Officer sits on all committees. Each committee meets on a monthly basis. New committee members are elected at the Annual Council Meeting, which is held in November.

2018 Executive committee [4]

National President- Natasha Abrahams

General Secretary- Rachel Brisbane

Vice-president (Equity)- Mick Fox

Vice-president (Engagement)- Anish Saini

NATSIPA Liaison Officer- Sharlene Leroy-Dyer

Media Officer- Zoe Tulip

Policy and Research Advisor- Simon Burnett

2018 Equity committee [5]

Vice-president (Equity)- Mick Fox (Chair)

Disabilities Officer- Marguerite Biasatti

International Officer- Florian Spalthoff

Queer Officer- Dylan Styles

Women's Officer- Sharlene Leroy-Dyer

NATSIPA Liaison Officer- Sharlene Leroy-Dyer

2018 Engagement committee [6]

Vice-president (Engagement)- Anish Saini (Chair)

Northern Branch President- Saira Khan

Eastern Branch President- Madhur Chhabra

South-Eastern Branch Presidents-Ganesh Reddy

Western Branch Presidents- Romana-Rea Begicevic and Peter Watson

Central Branch President- Katt Hatzi

NATSIPA Liaison Officer- Sharlene Leroy-Dyer

Past PresidentsEdit

  • 1979 Andrew Pik
  • 1980 Robert Biggins
  • 1981 Sue Hatherly
  • 1982 Russel Jacobs
  • 1983 Russel Jacobs
  • 1984 Hal Swerrissen
  • 1985 Catherine Cuthbert
  • 1986 Anne Seitz
  • 1987 Anne Seitz
  • 1988 Tony Ryan
  • 1989 Monica Carroll
  • 1990 Paul Dworjanyn
  • 1991 Teresa Tjia
  • 1992 Teresa Tjia
  • 1993 Shane Ostenfield
  • 1994 Oliver Simmonson
  • 1995 Simon Vanderaa
  • 1996 Danielle Brown
  • 1997 Bronwyn Fredericks
  • 1998 Robert Jansen / Jill Thorpe
  • 1999 Tom Clark
  • 2000 Bradly Smith
  • 2001 John Byron
  • 2002 Leisa Ridges
  • 2003 Benjamin McKay
  • 2004 Stephen Horton
  • 2005 Stephen Horton
  • 2006 Jason Hart
  • 2007 Nigel Palmer
  • 2008 Nigel Palmer
  • 2009 Nigel Palmer
  • 2010 Tammy Jonas
  • 2011 John Nowakowski
  • 2012 Chamonix Terblanche
  • 2013 Meghan Hopper
  • 2014 Meghan Hopper
  • 2015 Harry Rolf
  • 2016 Jim Smith
  • 2017 Peter Derbyshire
  • 2018 Natasha Abrahams
  • 2019 Natasha Abrahams (current)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2015 First half year student summary tables". Australian Government Department of Education and Training. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Twenty five years of CAPA – the fight is far from over" (PDF). Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  3. ^ "About NATSIPA". NATSIPA. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

External linksEdit