The 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. To this end, the Centre promotes policy discussion in universities and throughout political and industrial forums; commissions academic research into pressing and long term public policy issues affecting Australia; provides strategic policy advice to the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party; and works in conjunction with other research and intellectual bodies to promote better understanding of the Australian political and policy environment.

The activities of the Chifley Research Centre are overseen by a Board of Directors.

The day to day operations of the Chifley Research Centre are managed by a small staff who are committed to the advancement of public policy debate and progressive thinking in Australia.

The Chifley Research Centre is supported by the Commonwealth Government through a grant in aid administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status under the Income Tax Act 1997, making all donations to it tax deductible.

Michael Cooney – Executive Director


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.

Jane Austen – Executive Officer

Jane is the Chifley Research Centre’s Executive Officer, and gets a kick out of publishing progressive ideas from Australia’s best thinkers. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Central Queensland University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Policy and Applied Social Research from Macquarie University. In 2011, Jane was selected as a Young Progressive Leader as part of the inaugural Progressive Leaders Program.

Nick Martin – Chairperson

Nick Nick is the Chair of the Chifley Research Centre and National Assistant Secretary of the Australian Labor Party. He has worked in progressive causes and movements for his entire life. He was secretary of the 2010 National Review of the ALP and travelled the country with former Premiers Steve Bracks, Bob Carr and Senator John Faulkner to get the views of members and supporters on how we can build a better Labor Party. Nick has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a Bachelor of Laws from Australian National University, and is now based in Sydney.


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