Madonna is an award-winning journalist, author and leader of public debate. She has written in depth about politics, education, health, crime and business and addressed or moderated hundreds of public forums across Australia.
The research for her last five books – including best-seller Being 14 – has focused on the challenges confronting our tweens and teens. That’s involved interviewing thousands of children and young adults, aged 8 to 18, along with school principals and counsellors, teachers and CEOs, psychologists and scientists. Governments and corporations wanting to better understand this influential, but vulnerable, part of the population have been keen clients in this space.
Madonna’s other books have included biographies of Australia’s leading medical scientist and Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer, and former Treasurer and diplomat, Joe Hockey.
As a journalist, Madonna is skilled in asking the right questions, listening carefully to the answers and helping audiences understand what they need. She does that for schools, universities, sporting organisations and professional groups as diverse as the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Local Government Association of Queensland.
This is all founded on more than three decades in journalism across print, online, radio and television, including many years as the voice of radio current affairs in Queensland as the host of the ABC Mornings program.
Madonna has written weekly news columns for more than 20 years, and been appointed to two government inquiries; one as chair of the Queensland Anti-Cyber Bullying Taskforce.
Being a media specialist opens all sorts of doors, and she’s also experienced in hosting podcasts that help the professional development of teachers, others that celebrate university alumni, or cut-through complex and tricky debates.
Madonna’s regularly appeared on television, – on breakfast programs, the Drum and Q & A, and spent many years in the Canberra press gallery reporting and interpreting politics. That’s helped create a demand for facilitating and moderating panels, giving keynote speeches and acting as an emcee. Thinking on your feet in an interview with the prime minister, calming the anger of a talkback caller or interviewing leading CEOs are skills she’s learnt in newsrooms – but now puts to use traveling around Australia moderating hypotheticals or facilitating conferences on topics as varied as leadership, education, politics, business, resources, the law, tourism and the environment.
A fellow of the prestigious World Press Institute, she’s also served as a visiting fellow at the Queensland University of Technology, and on the Walkley Advisory Board for Journalism. With a university degree focused on journalism, she’s since done a Diploma in Company Directorships, through the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and served on several boards. Currently Madonna serves as deputy chair on a university-related board.
Madonna travels Australia providing keynote speeches, as well as moderating and emceeing conferences and facilitating panel discussions on issues as varied as the economy and music, development, resources, politics and the environment. Parenting and how tweens and teens think, and the challenges they face, is also an in-demand topic for school parent communities.
Madonna’s research is wide and she is able to speak on all issues impacting tween and teens. She moulds her talks, after individual school briefings to make them highly relevant.