Message from Travers McLeod

Travers3I 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!



Short-term thinking cannot address Australia’s long-term dilemmas – Help us look further ahead!

Blog Comments

Dear Travers McLeod,

Your message invites us to contribute suggestions for areas CPD should look at.

You may wish to take up an issue I have recently covered – the method by which we determine the size of our migration intake. I am not talking about the composition. Size is the issue which impacts on local development.

The Commonwealth’s choice of a number of migrants to bring in each year impacts on every local area where population density increases, yet there is no policy connection between migration numbers and planning. I have proposed one, under the deliberately provocative title of the We Will Decide process. Just read the home page at and you’ll get the idea.

My 2nd suggestion: CPD could put the republic debate on the right track.

The vast majority think the republic is simply about replacing the Queen with another head of state, with the catch being how we choose the replacement. This intellectually shallow approach is not helped by the ARM pretending it’s all about identity, whatever that is.

When business hires someone, the first thing it does is work out what it wants the new staff member to do. Determine the role first, then work out the selection method.

Most republicans automatically assume a new ‘president’ would simply do the same thing as our Governor-General. But this is a monarchist role, accompanied by monarchist powers. It is the role and powers which must change. That is the real issue with a republic.

Most Crown powers should be abolished. This would prevent another 1975 crisis, and make our system more democratic. The new head of state should replace the speaker and, armed with additional powers, make sure everyone plays by the rules in Parliament. A real job, instead of ceremonial bullshit. This is the Advancing Democracy model, available at

No doubt there will be other suggestions. CPD need not endorse any particular proposal. But it would be most useful if it could re-focus the debate onto the role and powers of any new head of state.

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