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Robert attained his Bachelor of Science with honours (IIA) in 1982, adding a Doctorate in Biochemistry, also from Monash University, in 1985.
After completing his studies, he spent six years in the pharmaceutical industry, during which time he ran an in vitro research laboratory (working on vascular prosthesis), became a development chemist, and worked in clinical and research biochemistry.
In 1989, Robert became an Accredited Clinical Educator / Assessor by the Department of Human Services (DHS 92/003) under the Victorian Accredited Driver Education Program (VADEP).
Based on his interest in holistic health, he founded the Academy of Health Education of Victoria (AHEV) in the same year.
He became an active Professional Development trainer and consultant working with various government departments and non-government organisations, such as the Health Department, VAADA, Pleasant View, and General Practitioners Divisions, including Conferences for Magistrates, Registrars and the Department of Corrections and Justice.
To complement his psychological qualifications, Robert undertook postgraduate studies in Counselling and Meditation-Based Stress Management (a clinical program, Community Medicine, Monash University).
In 2011, as a result of his professional and community efforts, Robert was nominated for Australian of the Year by Professor Jon Currie, Head of Addiction Medicine at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Robert is a leading advocate of the bio-psycho-social model for addiction, which considers both biological / genetic factors (nature) and psycho-social influences (nurture).
While most therapists in Australia heavily rely on the psychosocial model of counselling, namely harm minimisation, understanding the combined model has given Robert a unique perspective.
Calling on his biochemistry qualifications, he has provided tools for further training and research in genetics, and debated the basis of addiction with experts in this field.
Since 1990, Robert has been extremely active in Alcohol and Drug Awareness and Rehabilitation, not least through the design and development of educational tools including:
- About A Drug Called Alcohol (video and booklet)
- Are You Over .05? (pamphlet and poster)
- Genetic Predisposition and Alcoholism (booklet)
- Meditation-Based Stress Management Program (booklet)
- Know Your Limit (DVD)
- Know Your Limit (app available for Android and Apple)
Robert has also launched several websites:
With experience spanning both the academic and corporate scientific sectors, Robert has been able to develop excellent educational resources for schools, the community, professionals, and trainers.
A significant milestone in Robert’s career was the launch, in July 2011, of a historical campaign aimed at changing the way Australians perceive the drug alcohol.
Synergistically, he launched the slogans: If You Binge Drink Your Brain Will ShrinkTM and .05 Whether Or Not You Drive.
While acknowledging that governments play an important role in educating the community on various aspects of health and lifestyle, it is not in Robert’s nature to remain idle while waiting for such projects to be implemented.
Consequently he has become highly active in public education and health awareness. He personally funded a 3AW radio campaign on alcohol awareness, which was instrumental in information provision across the community.
He has been interviewed on numerous occasions by broadcasters such as Derryn Hinch and Nick McCallum and is readily available for print and electronic media opportunities.
His research on alcohol and message of awareness has been featured in newspapers and on TV programs (including A Current Affair and Today Tonight).
Summary of skills / overview
Legal / professional
Robert has an extensive background with the legal profession, calling on his expertise and experience in the fields of drink and drug driving and alcohol or other drug-related offences. He has provided expert witness testimony and scientific reporting to court and legal representatives.
He has summarised the Road Safety Act, as it pertains to driving under the influence, in a simple and interactive computer program available via 05.com.au, and produced a legal chart that summarises the complicated categories of drink driving guidelines in Victoria, along with the corresponding legal requirements. This chart is heavily relied on in Drink Drive Programs, Courts and VicRoads.
He has also been involved with review / regional public consultation of the Medicinal Cannabis Inquiry.
Ability to preside over hearings and make quick and fair decisions
As Managing Director or chairperson of numerous committees and organisations, research programs and scientific organisations, and as an intuitive counsellor with extensive background in mediation, Robert is an expert communicator.
One of the most important aspect of communicating is listening, which is characterised by two important factors: listen more to the person and listen less to mind chatter.
Integrity and compassion
Robert is a dedicated family man whose compassion is best displayed by his willingness to provide assistance to those who need help the most. His integrity is evident through his iconic campaign to change the way Australians regard alcohol (which can be viewed at knowyourlimit.com.au).
Robert founded the Academy of Health Education of Victoria P/L with the specific mission and philosophy of caring for and treating the community (see ahev.com). He was nominated for Australian of the Year by Professor Jon Currie.
His personal attributes include a strong work ethic, loyalty, sincerity, ambition and confidence. He also has a passion for meeting and liaising with people across all walks of life, and for taking on stimulating and challenging tasks.
On a family level, he loves spending as much time as possible with Irena and their three children, Lara, Karl and Julian.
By combining a sound intellect with highly-attuned intuition and an appreciation for the practical application of philosophy, Robert is able to offer great insight and wisdom across a wide variety of issues.
Robert’s psychological and academic background contribute to his ability to accurately evaluate people and situations, while his multicultural background informs his open-minded style, without prejudice, stereotyping or bias.
He has developed a meditation-based stress management program, encompassing a sound lifestyle and approach to behaviour, including eight principles or tasks for living life meditatively (including such concepts as acceptance, listening, limitations and expanding self-interest).
For further information on community and scientific achievements, please refer to Robert’s detailed CV below.
Robert’s expertise in effective communication strengthens his conflict-resolution skills. He feels that integrity and fairness, coupled with clear perception and listening skills, are the key parameters for a successful mediation.
Commitment to ongoing professional education
Ongoing education is a significant part of Robert’s success. He has completed numerous postgraduate courses, including many lifestyle and coaching workshops (such as Landmarks’ The Forum).
Robert believes that, regardless of how experienced, educated and mature an individual is, there is always room for more day-to-day learning, particularly on a philosophical level.
He maintains an interest in writing and is currently writing poetry and his autobiography.
Embracing information technology
Robert strongly believes that the world’s future lies within technology, so he has developed numerous websites (listed above, under Achievements).
He is particularly proud of the Know Your Limit app, launched in April 2015. The app (available for iPhone and Android) is designed to evaluate an individual’s influence and vulnerability to alcohol, drugs and even fatigue.
Additionally, the interactive technology experienced upon visiting 05.com.au is a first in this field. Using an interactive question-answer design, visitors to this website are enabled, regardless of their answers to the questions posed, to identify the category of guidelines that applies to them, and then book into the appropriate service online. This had never been possible in this field previously.
Robert enjoys family time, music, dancing, movies, dining out and relaxing with friends.
He is also a martial arts enthusiast and has been practising boxing and other forms of training for over 15 years.
He has recently increased his writing output, including some poetry as well as his autobiography, which has turned his personal story into a dramatic representation featuring many philosophical and socio-political considerations.