Championing a Labor culture of ideas

Last week the board of Chifley appointed me as Executive Director.  I’ve got a lot of work to do – and the first job I have is to ask you to join us.

As Executive Director, I can summarise our mission very simply.  Chifley is here to champion a Labor culture of ideas.  In practice of course, that means a wide variety of activities, cultivating all the values, customs and behaviours which connect Labor people and progressive thought.

That’s why from our direct policy engagement with Labor leaders to the Progressive Australia conference and our Young Progressive Leaders Program, we try to touch as many Labor people as possible.  It’s also why we try to connect with as many progressive ideas as possible, from our New Progressive Thinking blog to commissioned research and publications through to the daily battle of ideas in the opinion pages, on line and on talk tv – as well as connecting with Labor’s heritage of ideas, through our Labor History project.

This is where you come in.  The culture of ideas that I want to champion is all about Labor people thinking progressively.  The contributors, readers, participants and supporters who make up what I think of as the “Chifley circle” don’t just enable our work – they really are our work.

So I’d love it if you’d join the circle and join the mission too.  The best place to start is to subscribe where I can let you know what we’re doing and thinking.  And I’d love to hear your ideas for Chifley as well – drop me a line at or you could tweet me @cooneymj so everyone sees your thoughts.

On my desk I keep a list of Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions for 1943.  There’s 33 of them and they are all wonderful.  But today, as I start up a new chapter of my Labor work here at Chifley, the one I am looking at is “keep hoping machine running”.

I can’t do that – but we can.

About Michael Cooney

Michael Cooney

Michael is a former Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre. He was previously Speechwriter to Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard MP, Senior Adviser at the HR Coombs Policy Forum, Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, and was Principal Policy Advisor to Federal Labor Leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham.

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