Brooke Thomas is an advocate for social change. In her high pressure, high profile role as Chief of Staff and Arts Adviser to the ACT Attorney-General and Arts Minister, she briefs and advises the Minister on a range of issues with social and economic impact.
‘I deal with the legal community, artists and arts organisations, industry groups, unions, NGOs, members of parliament, education institutions, business owners, and local constituents,’ says Brooke (BA(Hons) ‘00, PhD ’04).
After studying a Bachelor of Arts at Flinders University, Brooke went on to complete her PhD in Postcolonial Literature with a focus on migration and diaspora theory. She then moved to Canberra to join the Graduate Program of the then Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, an area she was passionate about.
Brooke found the political environment of Canberra was the perfect place to develop her skills, eventually shifting into political advising.
‘It’s fast paced, and incredibly dynamic, you have to be able to communicate ideas quickly, accurately and memorably. You have to maintain good relationships with a vast number of diverse stakeholders and you have the opportunity to help bring about positive social change.’
Outside of her work, Brooke nurtures her creative side through belly dancing and community activism. She is the Canberra event organiser for the annual fundraising event, The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever. The event, which began as a flash mob re-enactment of Kate Bush’s 1978 music video in the UK in 2013, has since spread around the world. Brooke’s event in Canberra raises money for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and attracts over 100 men, women and children each year.
‘It seems to capture people’s imaginations,’ says Brooke. ‘Maybe there’s a little bit of interpretive dancer in all of us and this is how it gets out.’
Brooke says she is inspired by smart, funny, fearless, unconventional women so it’s not surprising that she is a Kate Bush enthusiast.
‘I’m inspired by high-achieving women who are not afraid of their flaws. You have to learn that you won’t always have it all together, and that’s OK. You have to be able to laugh at yourself, learn from your mistakes, and move on.’