Current Patrons

Touching Base is honoured to currently have three eminent Australians as patrons.

They are two of Australia’s most well-known human rights campaigners,
The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG and Eva Cox AO, and
esteemed academic researchers Professor Basil Donovan AO.

A photo of The Hon. Michael Kirby smiling as he sits at his desk with shelves of law books on the shelves behind him. His chin is lightly resting against his hand whilst his left elbow rests of the desk. His right hand holding a pen above a scattering of papers.

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG – Photo by Marcus Mok

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG  2014 – present

The Hon. Michael Kirby was a Commissioner of the United Nations Development Programme Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12) and Commissioner of the United Nations AIDS/Lancet Commission on Sustainable Health (2013-14). Previously Australia’s longest serving judge and more recently an internationally acclaimed human rights campaigner; in 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Michael Kirby to chair a team investigating human rights abuses in North Korea. He was the first judge of a final court in the world to acknowledge his homosexuality. He lives in Sydney with his partner of 54 years: Johan van Vloten

“If you deny sexual expression to human beings, cut them off from that aspect of their personalities and of their happiness, then you end up with a lot of very frustrated and very unhappy people. I applaud the work of Touching Base in facing up to reality, challenging the hypocrisy in society and its laws and recognising the needs of people to have opportunities for sexual expression, including people with disability.”  The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

    Eva Cox AO   2014 – present

A professionally shot photo of Eva Cox sitting at a table with her arms crossed as they rest on the surface of the table. She is smiling and wearing a light tan coloured long sleeved outfit; along with dark red framed eye glasses.

Eva Cox AO

Eva Cox is an unabashed feminist and passionately promotes inclusive, diverse and equitable ways of living together. She was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Boyer Lecturer (1995) who particularly focused on making societies more civil. She has been an academic, political adviser, public servant, and runs a small research and policy consultancy. A sociologist by trade, she promotes ideas widely and eclectically in books, on line, in journals and other media. Eva is a Professorial Fellow at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning (University of Technology, Sydney).

 “The work of Touching Base is important because it recognises the serious skills of sex workers and the full human needs of their clients with disabilities. Touching Base has been positive force in breaking down ill-informed stereotypes about sex workers and the range of people who seek their services.Eva Cox AO

Emeritus Professor Basil Donovan AO 2014 – present

A photo of Professor Basil Donovan wearing an open neck shirt and a blue suit jacket standing in front of a plain grey coloured wall. He has on thin black framed eye glasses and is smiling in a way that looks as if might also be laughing at a joke.

Professor Basil Donovan AO

Basil Donovan is based at The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney. Basil was previously the Director of the Sydney Sexual Health Centre. His research and policy interests include clinical and public health aspects of HIV and other sexually transmissible infections; and priority populations such as sexual and gender minorities, youth, sex workers, Indigenous people, prisoners, and travellers/migrants.

“Access to intimate physical contact is a fundamental human right, but often not available to many people with disabilities due to a range of societal barriers and personal prejudices.  I fully support adults making an informed choice to seek sexual intimacy – and if that intimacy is provided by a skilled and empathetic professional who practises safe sex, all the better.”  Professor Basil Donovan AO 

Past Patrons

A photo of Associate Professor Helen Meekosha sitting in a chair with the wooden railings of a balcony and green leafy trees in the background. She is smiling wearing a white cardigan over a horizontally striped black and white top.

Assoc Professor Helen Meekosha

Assoc Professor Helen Meekosha  2014 – 2023

Helen Meekosha is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Science at the University of New South Wales. She was one of three Chief Investigators on a research project examining the nexus between Disability and Rural Australia. Her work in Disability Studies has broken new ground in setting disability in a context of globalisation, in particular arguing the case for an examination of global North/ South relations that affect the incidence and production of disability.

Helen has been involved in Women with Disabilities Australia since its inception. Her work has always been located in activist politics of policy change and the implementation of human rights.

Over the years I’ve seen Touching Base demonstrate a remarkable capacity to make progress with issues that many people in the community have difficulty coming to terms with. Touching Base serves as a role model to other organisations that need to improve the way they support the sexual rights of people with disabilities, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.” Assoc Prof Helen Meekosha

Helen stepped down as a Touching Base patron after nearly ten years. We wish Helen all the best for her retirement in her beautiful award winning home, Butterfly House in the Illawarra.

A photo of Peter Woods wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie with diagonal red and black stripes. He is wearing thin silver framed eye glasses and is standing with a light coloured wall behind him.

Peter Woods OAM

Peter Woods OAM   2014 – 2022  (deceased June 2022)

We were very sad to lose Peter Woods OAM as a patron, due to his passing after an illness in 2022.

Peter Woods was Ambassador for United Cities and Local Governments (Asia Pacific) and formerly President and then Secretary General of the Asia Pacific region and Vice President of the World body.

He served as chair or Director on many Boards and statutory authorities, was Mayor of Concord for over ten years, President of the Australian Local Government Association and the Council of Australian Governments for two years and was President of the Local Government Association of NSW from 1990-2002. Peter also served on the NSW Sex Services Premises Planning Advisory Panel 2002-04.

“Local Councils have an important part to play in improving equality amongst their citizens. That is why I support Touching Base in actively encouraging reform of Local Government policies that reduce equitable access for people with disability or discriminate against sex workers pursuing their lawful occupation in NSW.”

“It is time we saw all politicians, in all spheres of government catching up with the rest of the progressive world and recognise the rights of all its citizens. Having now retired after many years of public service I urge support for the principles of Touching Base to be embraced by all elected representatives committed to a fair-go in the true Australian tradition.”      Peter Woods OAM 

Touching Base endorses The Uluru Statement from the Heart and acknowledges First Nations as the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge, and their continuing connections to land and community. As Australians all, we respect our nation’s First Peoples, their cultures, and Elders of past, present and future generations.