Our purpose

Australia21 is an independent not for profit think tank, established in 2001.

We commission, conduct and review new research into complex social issues confronting Australia in a rapidly changing global environment.

Our aim is to foster fresh thinking about public policy and provide evidence-based solutions to difficult problems, shaping the best possible future for our nation.



Tackling the big issues confronting Australia

Australia21 tackles real-world issues that have substantial social, health, economic, environmental and security impacts on all Australians.

These include the challenges of dealing with illicit drugs, asylum seekers and climate change.

Our focus is on ‘wicked problems’ that:

  • are complex
  • defy definition
  • resist all usual attempts to solve them
  • hardly ever sit conveniently within the responsibility of one organisation
  • and often, attempted solutions have been thwarted by unforeseen consequences.


What sets us apart

Australia21’s unique capacity to convene leading-edge expertise from across the nation and our established reputation for objectivity sets us apart. It enables us to delve into public policy issues differently from a conventional university or politically-aligned research institution, going beyond populist consensus to take a hard look at the evidence and experience of what works. Our sole interest is the common good and what is best for Australia now and in the future.

We are not aligned with any political party and we are not afraid to go where others fear to tread.

Among our many projects we have addressed:

  • youth wellbeing
  • resilience
  • inequality
  • assisted dying
  • post traumatic stress.


Leading thinkers

Our Board, chaired by Paul Barrett AO, includes leading thinkers from a range of disciplines, with diverse executive experience in the public and private sectors. Through our own expertise and extensive contacts we connect researchers, business leaders and policy influencers in collaborative networks. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to discover and encourage new frameworks of understanding.

  • Patron:¬†Professor Glyn Davis AC
  • Chair: Paul Barrett AO
  • Board of Directors: Rebecca Bunn, Dr Steve Cork, Emeritus Professor Bob Douglas, Ian Dunlop, Geoff Gorrie, Deb Lavis, Dr David Morawetz, Patrick O’Leary, Molly Harriss Olson, Dr Lynne Reeder, Deborah Rice, Lyn Stephens, Kerry Stubbs, Dr Alex Wodak, Peter Yuile
  • Executive Officer: Anne Quinn


It’s time to make a difference

We believe the challenges facing our country and our world are greater than ever before. Australia must find new ways to ensure a viable future for the next generations. So, in the common interest, Australia21 makes the results of our investigations and research widely available, across multiple platforms, to policy developers, industry, media and the public.

We rely on donations and philanthropic grants to operate. You can help us shape the future by supporting our work.


Stay in Touch