Closing Date

Sunday, 5 June 2022




Parramatta, NSW

Play a leadership role to honour and promote Gough Whitlam’s vision for a more equal, open, tolerant and independent Australia.

  • Inspire all stakeholders with your vision for the future
  • Strategically lead across political and regional boundaries
  • Build on a reputation for excellence to leverage positive change

The organisation

The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University is a dynamic public policy institute that commemorates, and is inspired by, the life and work of the Hon Gough Whitlam AC QC, one of Australia’s most respected Prime Ministers.

It pursues the causes he championed and is guided by the principles upon which Gough Whitlam’s parliamentary career and years of service to the people of Australia were founded.

As an independent think-tank the Whitlam Institute is a centre of ideas and engagement, undertaking research and generating policy for community discussion.  It is also the custodian of the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection which comprises documents and items that capture the essence of Gough Whitlam’s personality, his government, his public life, and his times. The organisation undertakes education programs to inform young Australians about the importance of personal values and leadership, political and civic engagement, and the role of government.

The Whitlam Institute is housed in the historic Female Orphan School (1813) on the Parramatta Campus of Western Sydney University.

The role

Established as one of Australia’s leading think tanks, the coming year is an important one for the Institute as it celebrates the 50th anniversary since Gough Whitlam was elected as Prime Minister.

The organisation is looking for a Director to lead a small, but dedicated team to continue their path in building a world-class think tank with a national reputation for rigorous analysis, informed and credible research, timely contributions to public debate and influence on policy development and implementation.

Reporting to the board, the Director will be the public face of the organisation, responsible for strategic planning and performance around the Whitlam Institute’s organisational goals and research agenda. They will oversee the management of day-to-day operations, people and resources and will manage critical relationships with funders, government, academia, the media, researchers and other key stakeholders.

The role heads the overall governance, financial management and operation of the organisation and will lead a highly intelligent and motivated team and harness input from broader networks. The Director will be the primary spokesperson for the organisation and will work to ensure the legacy of Gough Whitlam, and his values are

Experience, knowledge & skills

To be successful in this role, you will be/have:

  • Senior executive experience, with experience in the for-purpose space an advantage.
  • Deep experience and sophisticated understanding of, and interest in, the Australian political landscape as well as current local and global trends.
  • Well-developed people leadership skills, with demonstrated capacity to engage and empower staff to deliver outcomes on time and budget
  • Understanding of governance – experience in working with a board, with a demonstrated ability to develop and execute on strategy.
  • An exceptional communicator; strong, authentic and confident. Able to engage range of sophisticated stakeholders on complex issues via a variety of forums.
  • Experience in financial oversight and management to ensure short term financial health and long-term sustainability.
  • A track record in stakeholder management including government, academia, media etc.
  • A post-graduate qualifications in a field relevant to public policy research desirable.

To apply

People for Purpose have been appointed to assist the Whitlam Institute with the search for this role.

We invite you to read the Candidate Briefing pack here.  For more information on the Whitlam Institute, please visit their website here.

Once you have absorbed this information and completed your own research, if you have specific questions, please call us on 0468 625 252 or email [email protected]

To apply, as well as your CV, you must submit a cover letter outlining why you are interested in leading the Whitlam Institute and how your skills and experience align to this opportunity.

Applications close 11pm on Sunday 5 June 2022.

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