Who we are

Michael Cooney – Executive Director


Michael was appointed Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre in 2014. From 2010 to 2013 he was Speechwriter to Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard MP. He is the author of The Gillard Project (Penguin, 2015).

Michael was previously the founding Policy Director at the progressive think thank Per Capita.  He worked on the staff of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party for five years from 2002, including three years as Principal Policy Adviser to Federal Labor Leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham. Michael has two degrees from the Australian National University. His Masters of Arts (International Relations) degree included a thesis on responsible power ethics in Australia’s diplomacy over Portuguese Timor in 1974. His undergraduate degree was in English and Philosophy, and he was awarded first-class honours for his thesis on parody and satire in the poetry of the Ern Malley hoax. Michael lives with his family in Canberra, where he was born and grew up.


Linda White – Chair


linda_whiteLinda is an Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union. She practised as a solicitor in private practice after gaining degrees in Law and Commerce from Melbourne University. Linda joined the Chifley Research Centre Board in 2013 and was appointed Chair in June 2015.

Linda has been a member of the ALP’s national executive since 2006 and was recently elected to the National Executive Committee.  She has been a director of industry superannuation fund, legalsuper since 1993 and is currently a Board member of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. She was previously a director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, a member of the Australian Social Inclusion Board and was a Vice President of the ACTU from 2006 -2015.

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