Matthew Lesh

Adjunct Fellow

In 2019 Matthew took up his current position of Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute in London, while continuing his affiliation with the IPA as an Adjunct Fellow.

Before moving to London, Matthew was a Research Fellow at the IPA (2016-2018) researching freedom of speech at Australian universities (inaugurating the Free Speech on Campus Audit), entrepreneurship and changing political values, as well as managing for a time Generation Liberty, the IPA's youth outreach project. In 2018, Matthew’s first book was published, Democracy in a Divided Australia, which examined Australia’s political tribes and the capture of policymaking by a new elite, while charting a path forward for a divided nation.

His writing has appeared extensively in the Australian and international media outlets, including The Australian, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Canberra Times, Brisbane Times, The Spectator Australia, The Huffington Post, ABC Opinion, Crikey, The Punch, Online Opinion, Spiked, CapX, and BrexitCentral. He also appears regularly on radio and television and has provided expert evidence to Australian Senate committees.

Matthew graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons), majoring in politics and international studies, and history. He subsequently completed a Masters in Public Policy and Administration at the London School of Economics. Matthew graduated from LSE with a Distinction and received the Peter Self Prize for Best Overall Result and the Joint Peter Self Prize for Best Dissertation.

Matthew has also worked for state and federal parliamentarians, in digital communications, and founded a mobile app development start-up.

Hurry Up And Then Stop
14 December 2020

Hurry Up And Then Stop

Australia is not following the science. The decision to dither on the Covid-19 vaccines will not delay the economic recovery but could risk lives and undermine faith in immunisation. Last week the United Kingdom became the first country on the planet to approve the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine. This week rollout began. The United States is expected to do the same in
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The Best Kind of Environment
21 October 2020

The Best Kind of Environment

This article from the Spring 2020 edition of the IPA Review is written by IPA Adjunct Fellow, Matthew Lesh. Environmental catchcries of the early 21st century are apocalyptic: “Billions of people are going to die,” “life on Earth is dying,” and “Governments aren’t addressing it”. Religious undertones are abundant. It is good and evil. The end is nigh. Human sin
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Not Quite Right
15 May 2020

Not Quite Right

This article from the Autumn 2020 edition of the IPA Review is written by IPA Adjunct Fellow, Matthew Lesh.  A friend warned me I wasn’t going to like what’s up there: “It’s two bad words.” The clock had just struck 6.30am on Friday 13th December at the Queen Elizabeth II convention centre in Westminster. Conservative Party activists, campaign workers, and
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The Great Realignment
13 December 2019

The Great Realignment

Britain’s General Election- the results of which will, hopefully, be seen by the end of today (Sydney time)- is the most consequential in a generation. It pits avid socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn against Brexit-backing Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Corbyn would cripple Britain’s economy, associate with terrorist organisations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA, and wants to have
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Evidence Based Policy Research Project: 20 Case Studies
15 November 2019

Evidence Based Policy Research Project: 20 Case Studies

Australia’s governments, both state and federal, are failing to undertake best practice policymaking. This failure is undermining the quality of public policy and is having a detrimental impact on faith in public institutions. Public policy in Australia is often made on the run, built on shabby foundations, motivated by short term political gain, and consequently having mediocre outcomes. Policy-makers face
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Campus Freedom Of Speech Gagged By Chinese Money
2 August 2019

Campus Freedom Of Speech Gagged By Chinese Money

Australian universities have been slow to act against worrying ­violence and intimidation by pro-Chinese Communist Party stud­ents on campus. Unwilling to upset their CCP-dependent business models, in­action has been prioritised at the expense of free debate. On Wednesday, a Hong Kong democracy rally at the University of Queensland turned violent when 200 pro-CCP counter-protesters­ arrived. In several shocking videos shared
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Costly Clamps On Free Speech
3 July 2019

Costly Clamps On Free Speech

Australian university leaders and their supporters have asserted repeatedly that there is no problem with free speech on campuses. The evidence hardly supports this. If there were no problem, James Cook University would not have unlawfully sacked Peter Ridd for criticising his colleagues’ science about the Great Barrier Reef. If there were no problem, students would not have attempted to
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Police Raids On ABC And Others Are Disgraceful
7 June 2019

Police Raids On ABC And Others Are Disgraceful

The Australian Federal Police’s raid of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation overnight is a national embarrassment. Yesterday morning, AFP officers arrived at the national broadcaster’s Sydney headquarters with a warrant that named two reporters and a news director. The raid was in relation to the ‘The Afghan Files’, a 2017 story that exposed the alleged killing of unarmed civilians by Australian special
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Galileo Wins Court Case
26 April 2019

Galileo Wins Court Case

‘Vindicated. The score is 17-nil, the judge’s findings were damning. It could not have gone better,’ Professor Peter Ridd explains shortly after the historic judgement in Ridd v. James Cook University was handed down in Brisbane last week. This was a momentous occasion. It came 1,082 days after this whole ordeal began when Ridd was first unlawfully censured by the university for
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Can’t Howl This Down: More Must Be Done To Protect Free Speech
24 April 2019

Can’t Howl This Down: More Must Be Done To Protect Free Speech

Former chief justice Robert French’s review into university freedom of speech is a powerful vindication of those who have raised concerns about free speech protection on Australia’s campuses. The review’s terms of reference instructed French to assess the existing higher education standards, the effectiveness of policies and practices to protect free intellectual inquiry, consider overseas approaches and, if he believed it
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