Grattan Institute is an independent think tank dedicated to developing high quality public policy for Australia’s future. It was formed in 2008 in response to a widespread view in government and business that Australia needed a non-partisan think tank providing independent, rigorous and practical solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems.
These three words are vital to Grattan’s mission. Grattan are independent, taking the perspective of the Australian public interest rather than any interest group, and avoid commissioned work to ensure this independence. Grattan are rigorous in obtaining the best available evidence from their own data analysis and from published work and are practical in articulating what governments should do to improve the lives of all Australians.
Grattan runs seven policy programs: Australian Perspectives, Cities, Energy, Health, Higher Education, Productivity Growth and School Education. We chose them because we believe they are vital to shaping Australia’s direction as a liberal democracy in a global economy.
Grattan believes they are areas where fact-based analysis and lively debate can change the minds of policy makers and the public, and where key issues are not being resolved. All our reports and most of our events are free and can be viewed online.
Grattan began with a $15 million endowment from each of the Federal and Victorian Governments. BHP Billiton provided $4 million. In order to safeguard our independence, Grattan Institute’s board controls the endowment. The funds are invested and Grattan uses the income to pursue its activities.
In addition, the University of Melbourne contributes support in kind, most importantly by housing us in a building just off Grattan Street in Carlton, opposite the University. That’s how we got our name.
Grattan also benefits from significant support from companies and philanthropic organisations. Generous backing by the Myer Foundation, for example, enabled Grattan to launch a Higher Education program in 2011. Our other Institutional Affiliates support the programs Grattan choose to pursue, and ensure they have the funds to expand into new policy areas over time.
You can support Grattan Institute with a tax deductible donation, which will help them to continue to improve Australian public policy.
Grattan Institute began with pressure from senior figures in the Victorian Public Service, academic institutions, and broader business and non-government leaders, who believed that Australian political life lacked a heavyweight independent think tank.
Through the course of 2005 this idea was fleshed out by several people in the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, including discussions with a number of Australia’s corporate leaders.
At the end of 2005 the Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks, met with the Federal Treasurer Peter Costello to define the theme for the think tank: Australia as a liberal democracy in a globalised economy, a phrase now enshrined in the Constitution of Grattan Institute.
Links between Melbourne University, Victorian Government, and corporate Australia, along with a supportive report from McKinsey and Company, were the basis for then Victorian Premier Bracks and Treasurer Brumby in early 2007 promising significant Victorian Government funding for the idea, and asking Melbourne University to assist. In April 2008, Commonwealth and Victorian Governments announced matching funding, along with support in kind from the University of Melbourne. Commitments followed soon after from BHP and National Australia Bank. Grattan receives money from its Affiliates, which include Google, Wesfarmers, EY, PwC, the Origin Foundation, Sinclair Knight Merz, the Scanlon Foundation and Urbis. The Higher Education Program is funded by the Myer Foundation.
Grattan Institute was incorporated in November 2008, and its first Chief Executive, John Daley, commenced in January 2009.
A list of Grattan's reports to date can be found here
- CEO - John Daley
- Program Heads
- Productivity Growth - Jim Minifie
- Health - Stephen Duckett
- Schools Education - Ben Jensen
- Energy - Tony Wood
- Higher Education - Andrew Norton
- Cities - Jane-Frances Kelly
Board of directors
- Chairman - Mr. Allan Myers AO QC
- Ms. Patricia Cross AM
- Professor Glyn Davis AC
- Professor John Funder AO
- Dr. David Kemp
- Mr. Andrew Mackenzie
- Mr. Peter Scanlon
- Mr. Andrew Tongue
- Ms. Lucy Turnbull AO