The ACT Humanist Society

This website is an initiative of the ACT Humanist Society. We’ve created this website to help us communicate with other humanists, and people interested in humanism, both locally and globally, to spread the word about humanism, and to help build a Canberra Humanist Community on the ground here in Canberra. If you happen to live in the Canberra area, or are just passing through; come along and be involved in one of our humanist community events.

Our Objectives

  1. Promote, advocate and educate about Humanism as a philosophy of life.

  2. Encourage and support humanists and others to explore the deeper meaning of Humanism and to live in ways consistent with Humanist values.

  3. Explore and develop ways in which Humanism can provide a foundation and/or ongoing motivation for community building, engagement and involvement, particularly in Canberra and the surrounding areas. This includes both self-identified Humanist communities and the broader community.

  4. Encourage an awareness of and the responsibility for the connection and interdependence between human and other life forms, and support the protection of the natural environment for the benefit of all life forms.

  5. Advocate for, promote and support the dignity, human rights and civil liberties of individuals and groups, especially Humanists and those of no religion experiencing discrimination, in Australia and in other places.

  6. Provide pastoral care and other charitable services to members of the Humanist community and members of the broader community generally.

  7. Provide formal endorsement and institutional support, where appropriate, to Humanist activities consistent with these aims.

Meet Us

Come along to any of our events to meet us in person. Here are our committee members:


Mary-Anne Cosgrove |

Mary-Anne is a mother of two, grandmother of one, and wife of 30+ years. She is also a software engineer (webmaster of this site) and a singer.

She is egalitarian, deeply compassionate and a committed rationalist.  She has long been searching for a framework for living a good life that does not depend on authority handed down from above, and has found the answer in humanism.


David Cosgrove

David is a physicist and environmental scientist who specialises in the mathematical modelling of transport systems and their environmental impacts; and is the Principal Research Scientist at a federal research agency. Of more vital significance, David is a father of two, grandfather of one, and husband of the multi-talented Mary-Anne. His interest in humanism arises from long-term consideration of possible optimal paths towards social and environmental well-being.

He has published many research reports on topics such as greenhouse gas emissions from transport; the social costs of increasing traffic congestion; the health effects of urban air pollution; strategies for reducing transport-related pollution; and the economics of improving transport efficiency.

Some of his other areas of research interest include: ethics and social cohesion; renewable energy technologies; the study of evolutionary systems; fundamental physics (such as interpretations of quantum mechanics) and the philosophy of science. Other pursuits or passions have, over time, included: tennis, cycling, running, martial arts, artwork or illustrating, writing, music composition, computer gaming, and photography.


Liz Forman |

Liz has a public policy background in industrial relations, telecommunications and eHealth (specifically the development and introduction of the national eHealth record system). She studied politics and economics and identifies strongly with Humanist values.

With a commitment to equality, human rights, and secularism in education, government and the law, Liz sees many opportunities for humanism to contribute to well-being of humans and the planet. She is seeking paths to better understand herself and others, and learning from the experiences and perspectives of others to build deeper connections.

A passion for nature and wilderness has contributed to Liz’s commitment to environmental protection. She spends much of her time on family, walking, painting, reading, community and social activities.



Currently Vacant |

If you’d like to volunteer for the role of Secretary, please contact the Convenor, Mary-Anne, at

Committee Member

Lyndon Storey

Lyndon was born in Australia and has spent most of his life here, with short stints of a few years living and working in China and the USA. He has worked in several fields, including as a lawyer, a university teacher, a public servant, and has also experienced long periods of unemployment. Probably my most interesting occupation was an appointment teaching “Western Civilization” at Liaoning University in China.

He has never had a stable career, but stable interests, such as in philosophy, history, sport and meeting people.  He is a father of one. He enjoys studying and completed a PhD at Sydney University, Australia, with a thesis on the thought of the Chinese philosopher Mencius.

It took him a long time to realise the humanistic basis of the core values of love and compassion that can be found in many thought systems. Today he happily describes himself as a humanist and is particularly interested in the philosophical foundations of humanism and trying to answer questions about how to live a life in accord with humanist values.


Committee Member

Dierk von Behrens

Very long-term committed Humanist: Founding Secretary Humanist Society of SA (1962), former President First ACT Humanist Society, helped relaunch ACT Humanist Society 2015.


Committee Member

Sven Erlic