Richard Denniss

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Richard Denniss (2016)
Richard Denniss (2016)

Richard Denniss is the Chief Economist and former Executive Director of The Australia Institute.[1] He is a prominent Australian economist, author and public policy commentator, and a former Adjunct Associate Professor in the Crawford School of Public Policy[2] at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Dr Denniss was described by Mark Kenny in the Sydney Morning Herald as "a constant thorn in the side of politicians on both sides due to his habit of skewering dodgy economic justifications for policy"[3]


Prior to his appointment at The Australia Institute, Denniss was Senior Strategic Advisor to Australian Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown and was also Chief of Staff to Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja, former Leader of the Australian Democrats.[1] Denniss also worked as a researcher at the H.V. Evatt Memorial Foundation (the 'Evatt Foundation'), a public policy organisation with strong links to the Australian Labor Party.[citation needed] His academic work has resulted in publications in various peer-reviewed journals, and he has lectured in Economics at the University of Newcastle.[4]

During the 2000s Denniss' research focused on climate change policy [5] and tax policy.[6] He also worked on a number of projects aimed at improving the measurement of government and economic performance including the 'Genuine Progress Indicator' (GPI),[7] the 'Wellbeing Manifesto',[8] and the state of Australian Government.

666 ABC Canberra produced and broadcast "An occasional series with 'The Moral Economist'" podcast starring Richard Denniss, in 2013. The series discussed economic issues from the dollar cost of a human life to preventative health care to who deserves welfare.[9]

In 2015 Denniss delivered the 16th Manning Clark Lecture at The Australian National University. The speech drew from Clark's writings, identifying 'enlargers' and 'punishers' in Australian cultural, economic and political history.[10]

The Australia Institute[edit]

Richard Denniss is the Chief Economist for The Australia Institute. He was Executive Director of the Institute from July 2008[11] to June 2015[12] and was previously the Deputy Director of the Institute between 2003 and 2005. The Institute is acknowledged as Australia’s most influential progressive think tank. Based in Canberra, it conducts independent research on a broad range of economic, social and environmental issues in order to inform public debate and bring greater accountability to the democratic process.

The Institute and its researchers are prominent commentators on public policy issues, including recent work on climate change and emissions trading, taxation policy, paid parental leave and unemployment. The Institute is also known for its work on health, consumer affairs and trade practices.

In 2014, The Saturday Paper published a feature on the Institute[13] in which author Mike Seccombe wrote "The men from the Australia Institute are no one’s puppets. Indeed, through carefully cultivated alliances with the pivotal players in this parliament, they look increasingly like the ones holding the strings." Additionally, Australian Labor Party MP Andrew Leigh was quoted as saying "Their work on tax breaks has been very important. I think of Richard as being kind of a mirror image of [free-market economist and former Reserve Bank board member] Warwick McKibbin."[13]


Denniss is the co-author (with Clive Hamilton) of best-selling book Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough.[14] and An introduction to Australian Public Policy (with Sarah Maddison). Most recently, he co-authored Minority policy: rethinking governance when parliament matters with Brenton Prosser, a book that examines the operations of minority government and implications for public policy in Westminster systems. In 2016, his book Econobabble was published by Black Inc and Redback.[15]

A prolific writer, Denniss is a regular contributor to The Monthly[16] and Quarterly Essay, as well as producing columns in The Canberra Times[17] and The Australian Financial Review.[18]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Australia Institute: "Organisational structure", retrieved 10 October 2013
  2. ^ Crawford School of Public Policy
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  4. ^ "Richard Denniss". The Conversation. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  5. ^ Denniss, Richard (November 2008). "Fixing the Floor in the ETS". Australia Institute Policy Brief. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  6. ^ Denniss, Richard (October 2008). "The case for a new top tax rate". Australia Institute Research Paper. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  7. ^ Denniss, Richard; Hamilton, Clive (December 2000). "Tracking Well-being in Australia: The Genuine Progress Indicator 2000 ". Australia Institute Web Paper. Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
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  11. ^ Hutchens, Gareth: "Want expert advice? Don't take on this bloke", in The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2013
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  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ Durber, Dean (October 2005). "Review of Affluenza: When too much is never enough". The Australian Public Intellectual Network. Retrieved 2008-11-12. 
  15. ^ "Econobabble". Redback Quarterly. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
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