Our purpose

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

We foster fresh thinking about public policy and provide evidence-based strategies for addressing ‘wicked’ problems that defy simple solutions. We conduct and review research into social, health, economic, environmental and national security issues, aiming to shape the best possible future for Australia.



Tackling the big issues confronting Australia

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 delves into public policy differently from a conventional university or politically-aligned research institution, going beyond populist consensus and taking a hard look at the local and international evidence and experience of what works. Our high profile volunteer Board includes leaders and 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 leading-edge collaborative networks. This allows us to explore issues openly and laterally, including diverse perspectives and discovering new frameworks of understanding that lead to fresh strategies for tackling the challenges confronting Australia. It also underpins our reputation for balanced inquiry and objectivity.

We are unique because we seek to explore topics through the lens of mindfulness, empathy and compassion, recognising that the latest neuroscience supports more effective decision-making within organisations and governments. We also sponsor and mentor youth-led projects and integrate youth perspectives and involvement into all of our work, because young people are the stewards of the future.

We support public policy that is fair, sustainable and inclusive. 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:

  • drug harm reduction
  • post traumatic stress
  • youth wellbeing
  • resilience
  • inequality
  • assisted dying
  • the future of work
  • climate change.


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 are a small, effective outfit. Our Board members and their extensive networks, along with our volunteers and small staff, contributed more than 2,600 hours of pro bono work in 2016-17. We rely on donations, philanthropic grants, government grants, academic and industry partnerships to operate.

You can help us shape the future by supporting our work at australia21.org.au/donate.


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