John Roskam

Senior Fellow

John Roskam is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Australian Way of Life at the Institute of Public Affairs. He served as Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs from 2005 to 2022. Before joining the IPA he taught political theory at the University of Melbourne. He was previously the Executive Director of The Menzies Research Centre in Canberra, has been a senior adviser and chief of staff to federal and state education ministers, and was the manager of government and corporate affairs for a global mining company.

His publications include Australia's Education Choices (with Professor Brian Caldwell), 'Terrorism and Poverty' in Blaming Ourselves, 'Liberalism and Social Welfare' in Liberalism and the Australian Federation, and 'The Liberal Party and the Great Split' in The Split Fifty Years Later.

His fortnightly column appears in The Australian Financial Review. He is a member of the Editorial Board of The Australian Journal of Public Administration, and Connor Court Publishing, and the Advisory Board of The Centre for Advanced Journalism at the University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration, Australia in Victoria, and is an Honorary Fellow of Campion College.

Magna Carta – The Tax Revolt That Gave Us Liberty
15 June 2015

Magna Carta – The Tax Revolt That Gave Us Liberty

‘Our liberty, democracy, and human rights are all in some way related to what was inscribed on parchment at Runnymede in June 1215’ The Magna Carta is a founding document of individual liberty, rule of law, and parliamentary democracy.  In this accessible and engaging book, Chris Berg and John Roskam explain what the Magna Carta is, where it came from,
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10 March 2014

Climate Change – The Facts 2014

Australia needs an honest debate about the facts of climate change. Governments around the world are preparing to dramatically increase taxes, regulate energy supplies and limit individual choices to deal with climate change. But what do we really know about the science of climate change? Is climate change caused by humans? Is it new? Is there a “scientific consensus”? Is
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End The Cotton Wool Culture For Kids
31 January 2014

End The Cotton Wool Culture For Kids

A lot of nonsense has been written lately about young people, alcohol and violence. But there’s one particular bit of nonsense that stands out. It’s this statement from Michael Daube in The Sydney Morning Herald last week: “Today’s youth have vastly more freedom than before, and are much more affluent.” Daube is a professor of health policy at Curtin University
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An Australian Ruling Class
24 August 2013

An Australian Ruling Class

This article from the Winter 2013 edition of the IPA Review is written by Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. In 1964 Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country was published. Horne had one basic argument—‘Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.’ By the mid-1960s an emerging class of tertiary-educated professionals found a lot to
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Book Review: An Australian Ruling Class?
10 August 2013

Book Review: An Australian Ruling Class?

John Roskam reviews one of the most important books of 2013 In 1964 Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country was published. Horne had one basic argument—‘Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.’ By the mid-1960s an emerging class of tertiary-educated professionals found a lot to like about Horne’s criticism of their country. This new
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Why The Press Gallery Failed Us, And Why They Will Again
5 December 2012

Why The Press Gallery Failed Us, And Why They Will Again

This article from the December 2012 edition of the IPA Review is written by Editor James Paterson and Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. One of the most revealing stories in modern Australian politics comes from James Button—a speechwriter for Kevin Rudd for a short time in 2009. Button’s recent and fascinating book, Speechless: A year in my father’s
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Canberra, Unplugged
10 October 2012

Canberra, Unplugged

This article from the October 2012 edition of the IPA Review is by Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. Australians don’t normally do satire. We’re not quite serious enough. That indispensable The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory helpfully points out that Samuel Johnson defined ‘satire’ as a poem ‘in which wickedness or folly is censured’. John
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Real Conservatives
13 August 2012

Real Conservatives

This article from the August 2012 edition of the IPA Review is by Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. This is a marvellous book. It has many things to recommend it. A list of the book’s many merits would go something like this (in order of importance): it’s interesting; it’s opinionated; it’s extremely readable; it explains why John Major
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Be Like Gough: 75 Radical Ideas To Transform Australia
5 August 2012

Be Like Gough: 75 Radical Ideas To Transform Australia

If Tony Abbott wants to leave a lasting impact – and secure his place in history – he needs to take his inspiration from Australia’s most left-wing prime minister. No prime minister changed Australia more than Gough Whitlam. The key is that he did it in less than three years. In a flurry of frantic activity, Whitlam established universal healthcare,
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An Economists’ Guide To Life
19 April 2012

An Economists’ Guide To Life

This article from the April 2012 edition of the IPA Review is by Executive Director of the IPA, John Roskam. If Ian Harper had been American instead of an Australian, and if he been a professor at the University of Chicago instead of the Melbourne Business School, Economics for Life would have been a hit on The New York Times
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