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.

Free Speech Now Comes With Security Costs?
8 August 2018

Free Speech Now Comes With Security Costs?

La Trobe University is encouraging censorious behaviour by charging special security fees for an event with commentator Bettina Arndt hosted by the campus Liberal club. Security fees create a heckler’s veto: the charge empowers the people who disagree to organise the biggest, most aggressive and therefore costliest protest they can muster. The Liberal club could ultimately be forced to cancel
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Nobody Wins in Global Trade War
1 August 2018

Nobody Wins in Global Trade War

Australia has much to lose in the looming global trade war, writes Matthew Lesh. Protectionist rhetoric by United States President Donald Trump threatens a new global trade war on a scale not seen since the 1930s. Trump’s push for aluminium and steel tariffs and retaliatory tariffs against China are the biggest threat to global prosperity since the US imposed the
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When Two Tribes Go To War
1 August 2018

When Two Tribes Go To War

Tribalism is splitting the United States down cultural and political lines, and Matthew Lesh fears Australia is heading in the same direction. As the infamous author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Amy Chua was typecast as a Chinese American mum with a forceful parenting style, but she’s also a law professor at Yale University with expertise in human
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Boondoggling Australia
1 August 2018

Boondoggling Australia

When politicians are tempted by a big vision, fiscal prudence is rarely front of mind. Once there are nine or more digits after the dollar sign, the numbers are so ridiculously large that politicians lose their grip on everyday logic and fiscal restraint flies out the window. In the US they call them boondoggles: big government projects that make politicians
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The Kids Aren’t All Left
1 August 2018

The Kids Aren’t All Left

Last week Elin Ersson, a 21-year-old Swedish student, halted the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker from Sweden by refusing to sit down on a plane. Not shy of the publicity, Ersson broadcast the affair live on Facebook and subsequently received substantial international media attention. The usual suspects have held Ersson up as a hero and a welcome sign of growing activism. Emma
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Red Tape Strangling Small Business
25 July 2018

Red Tape Strangling Small Business

Australian small businesses are being strangled by red tape according to a new report, The decline of small business: How red tape is undermining opportunity, prosperity, and community, released today by the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. The report finds that the number of Australians employed by small businesses decreased by 330,000 (-7 per cent) between
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Universities Of The Closed Mind
30 June 2018

Universities Of The Closed Mind

A series of leaked emails reveal the depths of prejudice and groupthink at Australia’s universities. In late May, Macquarie University academics were invited to a presentation by an Israeli. The first to respond, to the entire Faculty of Arts, was John Hunter, holder of the ‘Fellowship for Indigenous Researchers’. Hunter declared he would not attend because of ‘the Human Rights
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University Regulator TEQSA Has Lost Its Way On Political Matters
29 June 2018

University Regulator TEQSA Has Lost Its Way On Political Matters

Australia’s university regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, is not only failing to protect free intellectual inquiry but its ideologically driven interventions are part of the problem. Australia’s universities are facing a serious reputational crisis. The more universities become aligned with a single line of political thought, the more the community will wonder, rightly, why billions of taxpayer
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Half Of Australian Workers Worse Off Under Shorten Company Tax Thought Bubble
28 June 2018

Half Of Australian Workers Worse Off Under Shorten Company Tax Thought Bubble

Free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs has today released new analysis based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, which finds that almost half of Australian workers would be worse off under Labor’s plans to increase company taxes. Bill Shorten this week announced he would reverse legislated company tax cuts for businesses between $10-$50 million turnover. The data
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3.55 Million Workers Will Benefit From Enterprise Tax Plan No.2
26 June 2018

3.55 Million Workers Will Benefit From Enterprise Tax Plan No.2

The Coalition’s proposed Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan No. 2) will reduce corporate taxation from 30% to 25% over 2019-2027 for all businesses.1 This builds on Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Act 2017 which reduced corporate taxation from 28.5% to 27.5% for companies under $25 million turnover in 2017-18, and from 30% to 27.5% for companies under $50
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