Joan Staples is an academic and social commentator. Her areas of expertise include public advocacy, civil society and human rights. Her publications focus on the democratic role of non-government organisations (NGOs), their relationship with government, and what constitutes effective public advocacy for social change. Her writing is informed by her career in policy and advocacy across a range of NGO sectors – environment, Indigenous affairs, international development, consumers and social services. She was the environment movement lobbyist in Canberra during the Hawke Government. Based in Melbourne, she sat on decison-making panels of the Financial Ombudsman Service for 14 years until 2018, as a consumer expert. She has been at RMIT since 2015.