Chatter Matters is a young, charitable organisation based in Tasmania. Our focus is on building communication skills in those who need it most and sharing the success stories that follow.

Who we are

Our patron

HE_Warner_(2)Many thanks are extended to our patron Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC Governor of Tasmania.


Our Founder

Rosie Martin

This is what we say about Rosie:

Founder and passionate speech pathologist who keenly feels the privilege of having been trusted in therapy by vulnerable children, their families, and other individuals over many years; but who has lamented inequity in access to service.

Speech pathologist Rosalie Martin, is the founder of Chatter Matters and was awarded Tasmanian Australian of the Year for 2017 for her work in helping prisoners crack the code of reading.

For three years, Rosie visited Tasmania’s Risdon Prison as a volunteer to deliver Just Sentences, a Chatter Matters pilot project that has been achieving astounding results. With specialist knowledge in the acquisition of language, and in the processing and production of speech sounds, Rosie was able to uncover hidden literacy problems and tackle them head on. As a result, many of the people in her program learned to read in a matter of months, and Rosie showed how many lives, currently on hold in prison, can be transformed.

Her work with inmates led Rosie to complete Criminology Honours in 2016; and she has current plans to complete a PhD in Criminology.

Rosie also runs her own private practice, specialising in services for children with autism spectrum disorder and language-literacy disorders. Her 30 years of experience as a pathologist has included one-to-one intervention, establishment of school-based programs, liaison with health and education practitioners, and innovative design of therapeutic responses which combine evidenced interventions and individual nuance.

In 2015, Rosie completed accreditation as a Facilitator for the Centre for Courage & Renewal. She now runs retreats and other events to bring this wholehearted work of courage development to leaders and others.

Rosie has loved her own family life and raising her two sons, and has a passion for valuing human communication and kind interaction at all levels of ability. She is a winger of everything that might be fun and a lover of beauty in all its forms.

Our Board

Robin Banks

It is with much delight that we welcome Robin as the new Chair of Chatter Matters! Here is what we have to say about Robin:

Bringing keen and expert knowledge of the law, and valuing all people in their human worth, Robin is a generous, warm, kind advocate filled with the passion that arises from deep integrity.

Robin has recently completed over six years as Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales in 1999, and was admitted as a legal practitioner in the Supreme Court of NSW in 2000. While undertaking her studies in law, Robin worked full-time as the Project Officer to establish the Disability Advocacy Service in Alice Springs and then as the co-ordinator of that service, before moving to Sydney to take up the role of Co-ordinator of the NSW Disability Discrimination Legal Centre.

Shortly after completing her degree, Robin spent a year in Canada where she worked as a legal researcher with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Returning to Australia in 2000, Robin worked temporarily as a solicitor for the Northern Aboriginal Legal Aid Service acting for the family of a young Aboriginal man who died at Don Dale Detention Centre. She then returned to Sydney where she was employed initially as a Lawyer and then as a Senior Associate at Henry Davis York. In 2004, Robin became CEO of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), Australia’s largest public interest legal practice, and Director of the Public Interest Law Clearing House.

Robin is a graduate of the 2006 Sydney Leadership Program (now Social Leadership Australia) and an accredited Mediator with the Resolution Institute. Robin was a member of the Women’s Advisory Council to the NSW Department of Corrections for several years while CEO of PIAC. Robin is a member of the Advisory Board to the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne and in her paid and voluntary work Robin continues to focus on human rights and equal opportunity, the development and implementation of proactive social and social justice policy and programs.

Andy van Emmerik:

This is what we say about Andy:

Steady, just, wisely-circumspect and fun-loving engineer with an eye for fine things, and with interests and talents as wide as the sky.

Andy is a Tasmanian, whose early childhood in Hydro Tasmania construction villages has left an indelible sense of innovation and community, which he sees as the distinguishing feature of being Tasmanian.

Andy has enjoyed a long career as an engineer and entrepreneur, underpinned by a fascination in finding new solutions to old problems. His experience has spanned the commercial and government sectors, with projects from the development of new bridges, highways and local streetscapes; to manufacturing lifts for homes – all with a focus on extending the consumer benefit through innovative design features. His work has also included environmental initiatives to protect threatened species on our roadsides, as well as a variety of import and export projects.

Andy has maintained a lifelong interest in the work of faith-based organisations in personal development, and is passionate about social innovation. It is this passion that drives Andy’s involvement with Chatter Matters, and in particular our charity’s work in providing a systemic solution to repeated incarceration through the development of better communication skills.

Becky Shrimpton

This is what we have to say about new board member, Becky:

Fabulous, effervescent, clear-seeing communications and marketing specialist filled with desire to share, give back, support and enjoy the beauty of a full life along the way.

Currently the Tasmanian State Manager of Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for the Federal Government, Becky’s 30-year career spans three countries and has primarily involved leading communications for government and industry, and as the head of not-for-profit organisations. As Director of the Heritage Trails Foundation of New Zealand, she won the prestigious ASTA Smithsonian Award for environmental tourism, and went on to win many state and national awards as founding Director of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation in Western Australia. Becky was then asked to lead communications for the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000) in the UK, and was later appointed Head of Communications and External Affairs for England’s Commission for Rural Communities which focussed on tackling rural disadvantage. Moving to Tasmania over 12 years ago, as Director of Communications and Economic Development for Launceston City Council, Becky was awarded the Telstra Business Women’s Award for community and government. She also led International Communications & Customer Relations for the University of Tasmania.

Rikki Mawad

Us, talking about Rikki:

Vivacious, energetic, and incisively-thinking lawyer and advisor who juggles concepts and challenges with grace, while warmly progressing them toward freedom and abundance.

Rikki is an Arts/Law/Hons graduate of the University of Tasmania. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and was admitted as a Legal Practitioner in the Supreme Court of Tasmania in 2009.

In 2012, Rikki completed her Masters in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at James Cook University, and in 2013 graduated from the Tasmanian Leaders Program – all while working as an Adviser in the Federal Parliament, the Senate and the Tasmanian Parliament (2010 – 2014)

Rikki is passionate about education. The recipient of numerous awards for the furtherance of education, she has continued to make contribution on the Boards of organisations which support equity of access: the former Tasmanian Academy, the Colony 47 Partnership Brokers Scheme, the Link Youth Health Service – and now Chatter Matters.

Rikki is currently a Sessional Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, and is also working across a range of projects within the Tasmania Law Reform Institute. Her primary work relates to measures to improve access to justice for people with disability and complex communication needs in the criminal justice system.

An experienced traveller, Rikki has been through close to 50 Countries, including working and volunteering in Eastern Africa and South America.

Richard Martin

We say this about Richard:

Kind, visionary, ideas-man and serial volunteer with a small-business and investment background – wholly motivated by compassion and supporting others to support themselves.

Richard (Rich) Martin has a background in small business, training and mentoring. He is an accredited facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal and has particular interests are in mindful personal-development for men and others who have experienced disadvantage and loss. He works in his own businesses, which include property, storage and IT support, and volunteers other time in a wide range of local community-development projects.