According to ABC news,Â Australia is to get another thinktank, with the Commonwealth and Victorian governments announcing the establishment of the University of Melbourne-based Australian Institute for Public Policy. More players in the ideas space must be a good thing, but with the recent establishment of the Lowy Institute andÂ Per Capita (not to mention smaller outfits like the Eidos Institute and the Centre for Policy Development), it’s going to be harder for the AIPP to find a niche than would have been the case five years ago. A quote from John Brumby suggests that he would like to see something like the Lowy Institute on Collins Street. Here’s Lowy’s mandate:
The Lowy Institute is an independent international policy think tank based in Sydney. Its objective is to generate new ideas and dialogue on international developments and Australiaâ€™s role in the world. Its mandate is broad. It ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia – economic, political and strategic â€“ and it is not limited to a particular geographic region.
And here’s John Brumby’s vision:
“This new think-tank will be non-partisan, it’ll be broadly based. It’ll look at all of the big issues of our times, things like energy policy, things like climate change, things like Australia’s role in the region,” he said.
My own view is that this is the wrong space for AIPP to be occupying – they’d do better to carve out a domestic policy niche, looking at urban policy, crime policy, health policy, schools policy, innovation policy, IT policy,Â etc.