Research Professor of Public Policy Alfred Deakin Research Institute Deakin University
Professor Porter has had leadership roles in universities, a think tank in Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, central banking and international institutions as well as in the private sector, specialising in advancing economic reform agendas.
His focus has been on bridging the gaps between advances in economic thinking and government implementation of economic policy and institutional reforms, both in Australia and internationally.
Michael’s current priorities include his involvement with the Australian Water Project (AWP) that he initiated in 2009-10 while National Director, Research and Policy at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). The project is a partnership between Uniwater (Melbourne and Monash Universities, Harvard University and CEDA, and has an editorial committee comprising Professor John Langford of Uniwater at the University of Melbourne, and Professor John Briscoe at Harvard University and Professor Michael Porter, now of Alfred Deakin Research Institute at Deakin University.
Professor Porter’s other priorities include issues related to debt, US, Europe and other national policies and the ongoing Global Financial Crisis; alternative models for improvement of broadband in Australia; and nuclear and uranium policies in the context of the policy debate relating to climate change.
After completing his PhD at Stanford University, his initial work outside universities was as Economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). His initial focus, reflecting earlier research, was to do with international finance, monetary and tax policies, reflecting issues relating to exchange rate and capital market reforms of the day, in particular the floating firstly the German DM and then a range of other currencies. Later issues related to risks associated with the Euro.
Subsequently Professor Porter’s focus shifted to policy issues in Australia, through leading advisory and policy roles at the Reserve Bank of Australia and then the Priorities Review Staff of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPM&C).
After appointments at the ANU and as a Professor at Monash University in 1980 Michael formed a new research centre or “think tank” within Monash University, The Centre of Policy Studies (CoPS) and later, the privately funded Tasman Institute and Tasman Asia Pacific in 1990.
As founding Director of CoPS he recruited outstanding academics and advisers worldwide and led a program of research and advice on general economic reform for Australia, publishing working papers and running seminars on key policy issues for the public and private sectors.
Following the pioneering work on energy reform-trading, unbundling and privatization, he was awarded in 1982 a Commonwealth Research Centre of Excellence Award-$2.6 mill over 6 years, to lead this work-research and strategy development. The reform agendas-such as the Reform of State Owned Enterprises in Victoria, Energy Pricing Issues in Victoria, National Priorities Project, the Markets and Environment Project, New Strategies for Transport in Victoria formed the basis for Project Victoria-and were all influential in many forums in the 1980s.
Professor Porter has also taught at leading universities-Yale (Irving Fisher Professor, 1978-9), Stanford, Monash and ANU. He was a lead consultant to the Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Financial System (Campbell Report) preceded by book he edited on the Australian Financial System published as a special issue of The Economic Record.
Over the period 2008-May 2011 he was National Director, Research and Policy 2008-11 for Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), with particular focus on broadband policy, carbon tax and emissions pricing issues, population and global nuclear options for base load power and the associated opportunities for Australia.
In August 2003, Professor Porter through Tasman Asia Pacific invited H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, then senior Coordinating Minister in the Government of Indonesia, now President, to deliver an address, in October 2003 in Melbourne. This invitation was accepted and was presented under his chairmanship with the title “A Second Wave of Economic Reform for Indonesia”.
In 2004, he was appointed an Adviser to the Indonesia Government Cabinet level Committee on Policy for the Acceleration of Infrastructure Investment (KKPPI). He worked within the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs in Jakarta and key Ministers and staff of KKPPI in relation to the 2005 Indonesian Infrastructure Summit, writing and editing Ministerial key speeches and documents issued. This was funded by AusAID.
Professor Porter then formed and led the Asia Pacific Infrastructure Forum (APIF) that organised a high level three day forum on infrastructure issues in Melbourne, Dec 2004, with sponsorship from the Australian, Victorian governments and the World Bank (PPIAF). This forum brought together key private and public sector leaders in infrastructure reform, regulation and financing from Asia and the Pacific. Follow-up China Infrastructure Forums have been held in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, jointly with the China Development Bank, and support for the Australian and Victorian governments in June/July 2006.