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Who is ASPI?
- ASPI is an independent, non-partisan policy institute. It has been set up by the government to provide fresh ideas on Australia's defence and strategic policy choices.
- ASPI is charged with the task of informing the public on strategic and defence issues, generating new ideas for government, and fostering strategic expertise in Australia
- It aims to help Australians understand the critical strategic choices which our country will face over the coming years, and will help government make better-informed decisions.
History of ASPI
- The Howard Government was keen to promote contestability in policy advice. While
it already existed in many sectors, Ministers were concerned that alternative policy
advice was less easily found for defence and security issues.
- The Government agreed to establish a small government owned but independent and
non-partisan organisation to make independent inputs into defence policy development.
- In 2000 Ministers agreed that ASPI would be established as:
- A company limited by guarantee under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies
Act 1997 (CAC Act), wholly owned by the Commonwealth;
- It would be funded for between $2.1 and $3.0 million for the first seven years of
operation from within the budget of the Department of Defence;
- It would be governed by a board of distinguished Australians;
- It would be non-partisan with two of the board members being the personal nominees
of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition;
- The Secretaries of the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade would
serve on the board ex-officio.
- In mid 2001 Ministers appointed the first ASPI board (the Council).
- The Prime Minister also advised that the remuneration for Directors and the CEO
would be determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.
- These steps were completed and ASPI was incorporated as a company on 22 August 2001.
- The Council met for the first time on 29 August 2001. They considered a number
of issues relating to the establishment of the Institute, how it would operate and,
based on an earlier executive search, agreed to appoint Hugh White as CEO (the Director).
- In considering how the Institute might operate, Ministers envisaged that:
- The Institute would maintain a very small permanent staff, and would rely primarily
on short-term contracts, secondments and similar arrangements for research work;
The CEO (Director) would be responsible for much of the day to day running of the
Institute, and would need to be a figure of significant standing;
- The Institute
would not publish views in its own name, but provide a forum for the publication
of the views of the authors of its publications;
- That in addition to a program
of research and publication, and the provision of specific work commissioned by
Government, the Institute would sponsor and organise a range of activities including
lectures, seminars discussions and other events to encourage public discussion and
the development of strategic policy perspectives; and
- The Institute would build
a program of visits by prominent international strategic thinkers.
- While the Commonwealth provides the majority of our funding, since 2004 the Institute
has endeavoured to develop new funding streams to enable ASPI to sustain and develop
its program of work. Sources of additional funding include:
- Income earned for commissioned research projects;
- sponsorship of major events;
and by accepting limited advertising in the Australian Defence Almanac;
fees at public events; and
- a membership scheme.