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Abbreviation Left Right
Motto Hard heads, soft hearts, & young minds...
Formation 2008
Type Public Policy Think Tank
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Richard Newnham

The Left Right Think-Tank is an Australian non-profit think tank for young people. Left Right seeks to involve people aged 15-24 in public policy, whilst remaining committed to the principles of independence and non-partisanship. The institute was founded in Melbourne in 2008 by Richard Newnham and Thom Woodroofe. Richard Newnham is the current Chief Executive Officer.


The Left Right Think-Tank began as an idea between co-founders Richard Newnham and Thom Woodroofe in March 2008, to fill a void in the Australian political landscape. Before the creation of Left Right, there was a lack of non-partisan, youth-oriented and youth-created policy in Australia. The creation of this organisation has enabled young people to engage in politics and public policy, unfettered by party ideology or undue influence.

The organisation started within Victoria in 2008, and the Left Right Think-Tank held its official launch on March 24th, 2009. The launch was held at the BMW Edge Theatre at Federation Square, launched by Charles Firth of The Chaser.

National expansion of the Left Right Think-Tank occurred throughout 2009 with new teams launched in New South Wales (February 2009), Western Australia (June 2009) and Queensland (July 2009). This expansion into other states allowed for the organisation to take a national focus and engage with more young people across the breadth of Australia.


The mission of Left Right is to involve young people in public policy. The vision of The Left Right Think-Tank is for a society that seeks and embraces the ideas of young people.

The Left Right Think-Tank does not affiliate with any political party. Left Right chooses instead to engage with all involved within the political spectrum, and to form organisational policy positions and opinion pieces based on sound evidence, in-depth data, created through the fresh perspectives of young people.


The Left Right Think-Tank has a Board of Directors comprising of eight members. It also has the support of four Patrons: Barrie Cassidy, Peter Shergold AC, Craig Reucassel, and Melinda Cilento. As of December 2009, The Left Right Think-Tank has 60 volunteer staff members, and has had 72 young Australians in total participate as staff within the organisation.


The Fellowships Program is the flagship program of the Left Right Think-Tank, aimed at senior secondary, and first year university students. The program is run twice per year across the participating states. Successful applicants (fellows) participate in a series of intensive and interactive seminars, combined with a group project.

In August 2009, Left Right hosted the Ennovate Conference, a summit relating to climate change. The conference fostered discussion around the impact of global warming on the energy industry, as well as broader sustainability issues.

In 2010, Left Right also begun a series of policy makers' dinners. In these events, guests have the opportunity to hear a presentation from a high profile stakeholder in the policy making process, and engage in a question & answer discussion.

Furthermore, the Left Right policy team works across the public policy spectrum to generate ideas for the future in the following areas:

  • Economics & the Environment
  • Foreign & Strategic Affairs
  • Health & Education
  • Governance & Justice
  • Rural & Indigenous Affairs
  • Youth & Community Affairs


Contributors to Left Right include the Foundation for Young Australians. Left Right does not accept funding from political parties.


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