New Executive Director Announced

Nick Martin, Chair of the Chifley Research Centre, has announced the appointment of Michael Cooney as Executive Director of Australian Labor’s think tank.

“I’m delighted that Michael has accepted our offer to lead the work of the Chifley Research Centre and will commence in coming days,” Mr Martin said.  “The Board was fortunate to have a number of high quality candidates to consider during our selection process and I am very confident we have made the right call.”

Mr Cooney has served as Speechwriter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Policy Director to Federal Labor Leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham, and was the founding Policy Director of the progressive think tank Per Capita, where he has remained a fellow.  Since 2013 he has held a senior adviser position in the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.  Mr Cooney’s degrees are from the Australian National University where he was awarded an MA (International Relations) in 2001 and BA (Hons, First class) in English in 1996.

“I’m thrilled to get back to work on progressive public policy and I’m tremendously grateful to Nick and the Board for their confidence and support,” Mr Cooney said. “It’s a very important project for the progressive side of politics in Australia.”

“My mission at the Chifley Research Centre will be to champion a Labor culture of ideas.  There’s enormous enthusiasm in our Party and across the movement for the task – I feel I will be pushing on an open door.”

Mr Martin and Mr Cooney paid tribute to outgoing Chifley Executive Director and now Federal Member for Rankin Dr Jim Chalmers MP.

“Jim’s election was Chifley’s loss but the people of Logan’s gain and we’re very grateful for his efforts and achievements during his time with us,” Mr Martin said.

“Jim and I first met while post-graduate students at the Australian National University fifteen years ago and have been friends and colleagues ever since,” Mr Cooney said.  “I’ll lean heavily on his companionship and advice in the work ahead.”

The Chifley Research Centre is headquartered in the Canberra, the nation’s capital.

Michael Cooney

Michael was appointed Executive Director of the Chifley Research Centre in March 2014.

From 2010 to 2013 he was Speechwriter to Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard MP.   He has since held a position as Senior Adviser at the HR Coombs Policy Forum, Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University.

Michael was the founding Policy Director at the progressive think thank Per Capita from March 2007 to December 2008 and has remained a Per Capita fellow.

Prior to this, he worked on the staff of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party for five years, including three years as Principal Policy Adviser to Federal Labor Leaders Kim Beazley and Mark Latham.  He has also worked on the staff of the ACT Labor Government and in the Australian Public Service.

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.


About Chifley Research Centre

Chifley Research Centre

The Chifley Research Centre is the Labor Party’s official think tank, committed to the advancement of public policy debate and progressive thinking in Australia.

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