Will the Per Capita think-tank find a niche?

According to The Age, next Wednesday will see a new ‘progressive’ think-tank launched, Per Capita.

This idea has been floating around for a while – I gave them some advice many months ago – so it will be interesting to see how well it goes.

I have had doubts about whether their organisational structure is the right one. For example, when advertising for an Executive Director earlier this year they wanted a rare mix of skills –

You probably have
• an advanced degree
• a reputation as a ‘thought leader’
• an understanding of how ideas, economics and politics interact, including professional public policy experience
• professional management experience, sufficient to manage a small but complex organisation
• strong communications skills, including experience of the electronic media and an ability to write well
• adaptability, flexibility and problem-solving expertise and an entrepreneurial mind-set
• a background in public policy, politics, the media, academia, management consultancy or business.

but then offered only a 12 month contract.

Unsurprisingly, the successful applicant, David Hetherington, doesn’t obviously meet more than a few points on this wish-list. I could find only one published article, this four-year old Online Opinion piece, which is just a summary of the standard union line on minimum wages.

The policy director, Michael Cooney, is a long-time ALP staffer. He’ll bring strong political connections and policy experience to the job, but like Hetherington he has no pre-existing intellectual reputation based on published work. And how long would he stay once a Rudd government started recruiting?
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