I am delighted to write to you as CPD’s new CEO.
As Miriam Lyons and I conclude our handover this week, I am amazed by her legacy here, and grateful that she will remain involved as one of our Fellows. Policy change is tough, especially given the complex challenges ahead and the short-termism that seems to dominate politics here and abroad. CPD has taken some impressive strides so far, but to keep up that momentum we need your continued support. Organisations like CPD have to be front and centre of the ideas business, driving a constructive national discourse towards a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable future.
We have had two pieces of good news this past week. The Hon. Fred Chaney AO, one of CPD’s Patrons, was named Senior Australian of the Year. The award is a wonderful tribute to Fred’s work over many years, especially on reconciliation, social justice and equality. Our Sustainable Economy Research Program was also recognised internationally for its interdisciplinary research by the Global Go-To Think Tank Index, a great nod to the leadership and dedication of CPD Research Director Laura Eadie.
The CPD team is hard at work, preparing papers on the economic benefits of marine protection, Queensland’s macroeconomic future, and innovation within the federal public sector. Three of our fellows, Jennifer Doggett, Ian McAuley and John Menadue, have made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Federal Government’s Commission of Audit. As I meet our supporters, I have been asking what other areas CPD should focus on. Inequality and social mobility, wellbeing, innovation, infrastructure, new growth industries, superannuation, national planning, and governance for future generations have been proposed. I would be grateful for your ideas too – please get in touch with any suggestions.
Undoubtedly, the next few years are critical for public policy development in Australia and abroad. Now for the Long Term, which I was fortunate to work on before returning home, makes the case for concerted action internationally. We live in a world that is hyperconnected. Understanding Australia’s place in the global economic, security and environmental landscape and resisting an exclusively domestic mindset is important for positive, evidence-based policy at home, including in areas like trade, tax, energy and resources, immigration, agriculture, employment, health, education and development. I hope CPD’s research can help to expand Australian policy horizons in this way.
CPD is an organisation where evidence-based research and the public interest are promoted above personal gain or the fortunes of any political party. Our work feeds into what Ross Garnaut has described as the “substantial independent centre of the national polity”. As a supporter, you are a key part of this endeavour. I look forward to meeting more of you as I get stuck into the job, and am excited about what we can achieve in the months and years ahead.
Best wishes for a brilliant 2014!