Today is Michael Cooney’s last day as Chifley Research Centre Executive Director.
We are sorry to see him go, but we are grateful for his three years’ service to our party, and we know he will be making a great contribution to our country in his new role as National Director of the Australian Republic Movement.
In early 2014, the Labor Party had just begun rebuilding following a calamitous Federal election defeat and we knew the role of Labor’s think tank would be vital in that task.
Michael came to us with a clear vision for how he could help us deliver that and a great appetite for the work required.
Michael did what we needed him to do. He gave provocative speeches and interventions urging Labor to move on from nostalgia for the Hawke-Keating era, and he led the Inclusive Prosperity Commission’s report Inequality: the facts and the future. He engaged in fierce policy argument with our conservative opponents and patient work behind the scenes supporting Labor’s next generation of thought leaders. His work as Secretary of Labor’s National Policy Forum and his wider engagement with union affiliates, state branches and the Labor membership was tireless.
Finally – to quote Bob Ellis in his review of Michael’s 2015 book The Gillard Project (Penguin, 2015) – Michael has been “a good loyal friend of all he has worked with in backrooms in three decades”.
We thank him deeply and wish him well.
Linda White Chair, Chifley Research Centre and the directors of the Chifley Research Centre