Previous Executive Director of Consumers’ Federation Australia Jenni Mack was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours for her service to consumer advocacy.
CFA is thrilled by the fantastic recognition of Jenni’s long-running contribution to consumer advocacy and the welfare of Australians.
Jenni was Executive Director of the CFA between 1993 and 1996. During Jenni’s tenure, she oversaw a significant expansion in its profile, impact and resource base. She led work across industry self-regulation, competition policy, food standards, financial services and legal services.
In 1996 CFA was defunded by the Australian Government and has operated as a voluntary association since that time. After its defunding, Jenni continued to play an active role supporting CFA and consumer advocacy in Australia. Examples of this have included:
- Director and chair of the board of CHOICE, Australia’s largest consumer advocacy organisation between 2003 and 2013 (chair between 2006 and 2013);
- Consumer representative director of various external dispute resolution boards, including the Financial Industry Complaints Service (1999–2009), Insurance Brokers Disputes (2002–2009), and the Financial Ombudsman Service (2008–2014);
- Advisory board member and chair of the community consultative forum of the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medicines Authority (2003–2012); and
- Chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Committee’s Consumer Advisory Panel (2006–2014).
Jenni has taken a particular interest in both superannuation policy and food policy. On the former, she was the driving force behind the creation of the Superannuation Consumer Centre, leading its establishment committee and acting as a director since it has received resourcing to support its growth in 2018. The Superannuation Consumer Centre is a consumer body focussed on better retirement income outcomes for Australians. In relation to food policy, Jenni acted as a consumer representative during the development of the health star food rating scheme and has been a director of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ). At FSANZ Jenni has worked to increase the organisation’s capability and responsiveness to issues of community concern.
Jenni also led the push for the abolition of conflicted remuneration in the finance sector, particularly in the area of financial advice. While at CHOICE, she led research and advocacy that prompted the removal of commissions and other conflicted payment arrangements as part of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms. This advocacy effort has spurned further scrutiny and reform, including by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Service Industry.
Jenni has always taken a clear-eyed approach to her advocacy — identifying structural barriers to better consumer outcomes and taking practical steps to develop public interest-focussed policy and regulatory action, often in the face of strong lobbying from vested interests.
CFA congratulates Jenni on being awarded a Member of the Order of Australia and for her valuable contribution to consumer advocacy.