By: Shannon Jenkins
Published in The Mandarin: 2 June 2020
A group of former ministerial advisors and ex-politicians has launched a think tank aiming to develop evidence-based pathways for reform in response to the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Blueprint Institute was co-founded by two of Julie Bishop’s former advisors, Harry Guinness and Gisele Kapterian, as well as Ian Hancock and Lachlan Crombie.
Joining them on the board is former Nationals member of the NSW Legislative Council Jenny Gardiner, former Liberal National Queensland MP Lisa France, and the electorate officer of the then-communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, Elizabeth Bold.
A strategic council will advise the think tank, comprised mostly of former Liberal and National MPs, including Christopher Pyne, Bruce Baird, Wendy Machin, and Leslie Williams.
Economist professor Richard Holden, experienced board member Kevin McCann, and media personality Adam Spencer also join the council.
The Blueprint Institute has welcomed the national cabinet’s decision to continue operating in the future.
It argues the national cabinet should prioritise four key areas as part of a federated reform agenda: regional economic development; education reform to ensure consistency across state boundaries; aligning energy policy with emissions reductions policy; and productivity reform including reducing regulation for small business.
The think tank will release its first two research reports this month, which will address the need to reduce regulation for small business, and the opportunity for the national cabinet to make progress on energy and climate policy.
Blueprint CEO Guinness said future politicians “must do better at finding policy solutions” to the big challenges.
“The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for bold new ideas and innovative thinking at all levels of government to ensure Australia has the capability to thrive now and into the future,” he said.
“The national cabinet shows that our leaders are capable of rising to the challenge: we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink policies that will shape Australia’s future. We believe sound policy puts people first.”