The Australia Institute sets up shop in Tasmania

GAME CHANGER: Leeane Minshull will head the country's first dedicated Australia Institute state branch, in Tasmania. Picture: Carly Dolan

GAME CHANGER: Leeane Minshull will head the country's first dedicated Australia Institute state branch, in Tasmania. Picture: Carly Dolan

Tasmania has become the first state in the country to have a dedicated Australia Institute branch outside the national headquarters in Canberra.

The Tasmanian branch will look at political, social and economic issues on a state level, and release research and polling on government policies and issues of the day.

“The institute for a while has looked at involving itself in research and policy debates on a state level because that’s really where the rubber hits the road from a lot of the federal policies,” The Australia Institute Tasmania director Leeane Minshull said.

“It’s where things get implemented and it’s where policy and political decisions actually affect people’s lives. We saw Tasmania as an ideal place to do it because we think it’s really an exciting time for Tasmania.

“I think the state’s in transition economically, culturally, socially and what a lot of the rest of Australia has discovered is a lot of Tasmanians had it right all along.

“The lifestyle and the environment here is really being treasured for what it’s worth, so what an interesting time to be involved with Tasmania.”

Ms Minshull said the state branch would also look at state government policy implementation.

“I’m of the firm belief that you can never have too much debate in the public arena and I think what the institute does really well is, they’ve got top notch economists and researchers who are able to pick apart what these policies mean and then put them forward in a way that people understand.

“We don’t have a political interest, we don’t have a particular agenda, other than to ensure that good ideas are getting out there into the public and we also like to do creative research work. So if only two paths are being presented, we’ll often find the third one and that’s sometimes how you get a breakthrough in good thinking.”

Ms Minshull said she wanted to hear from Tasmanians about what they believed to be the important issues of the day.

“I’m trying to find out from stakeholders and people what they’re interested in, because we don’t just want to come here and say this is what the debate should be about.

“We’re trying to work out where the debate is happening and how we can value add to that.”

The Australia Institute Tasmania can be contacted by email at leanne@tai.org.au.

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