Our exciting new initiative

The Australia Institute is part of the big policy debates in Australia. We have challenged the flawed thinking behind Australia’s over-reliance on resource extraction, the economic dangers of climate change, the economic and social costs of inequality, and the need for a fairer tax system, among other issues.

We lead debates, we help drive change and with your help our impact is growing every day. Now we are taking another big step.

That is why we are announcing the launch of a new initiative to amplify the progressive economic perspective in key Australian economic debates:

 Centre for Future Work logo

The Australia Institute’s new Centre for Future Work is a distinct and unique centre of excellence focusing on the core economic issues facing working people, their families, and their communities: jobs, wages, industrial development, globalisation, fair taxes, quality public services, income distribution, and more. It builds on a strong foundation of work but will bring a new focus.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that working people have more influence in the economic debates that will shape the quality of life here. And we want to show politicians, the media, and our own supporters that there are credible, positive, progressive solutions to the economic challenges we face.

The Centre’s website is already up and running: visit futurework.org.au for more information on its research agenda and publications and subscribe to updates from the Centre for Future Work here.

A key ingredient for our new Centre for Future Work is the arrival in Australia of leading progressive labour market economist: Dr. Jim Stanford.

“The Australia Institute has an unparalleled ability to project progressive ideas into the national debate. I am thrilled to join this creative and effective team, and look forward to deepening The Australia Institute’s engagement in issues of work and incomes.” 
— Dr. Jim Stanford, Director of the Centre for Future Work, at The Australia Institute

Jim Stanford worked for 20 years in Canada’s union movement (first with the Canadian Auto Workers, and then with its successor organisation, Unifor). He is one of the most widely-reported economists of any stripe in Canada, and is well-known and respected internationally. 

Jim’s book, Economics for Everyone, a progressive ‘textbook’ on economics for trade unionists and other concerned non-specialists, is used as a teaching resource by unions and community organisations around the world. He is recognised for his unique communication and teaching skills, presenting complex economic topics to unions and other audiences in accessible, often humorous ways — and as such, we think Jim Stanford is the perfect fit to join us as the Centre for Future Work’s inaugural director.

Indeed, Naomi Klein has said of Jim and his book: “Stanford is that rare breed: the teacher who changed your life. He has written a book — both pragmatic and idealistic — with the power to change the world.”

The very nature of work is changing. The quality of work is being redefined. What is a good flexible job in the 21st century? Women and the labour force issues are not discussed enough. Wage inequality matters and what is a better future for work and families?

There are some big challenges ahead. With union membership falling in some areas and a push by certain conservative sections of society to eliminate or at least marginalise the union movement altogether, now is the time to re-double our efforts on behalf of working people and their communities, and I believe our new Centre for Future Work led by Dr. Jim Stanford can play a part.

Ben Oquist
Executive Director 
The Australia Institute

P.S. If you have not seen already, check out this recent Saturday Paper discussion on the impact think tanks — including the Australia Institute — are having on the election campaign. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.

General Enquiries

Tanya Martin Executive Assistant

02 6130 0530


Media Enquiries

Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser

0413 208 134


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