Dr Richard Denniss is the Chief Economist and former Executive Director of The Australia Institute, a Canberra based think tank. A prominent Australian author, essayist and policy commentator he was described by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Kenny as “a constant thorn in the side of politicians on both sides due to his habit of skewering dodgy economic justifications for policy". Prior to his current role he held numerous academic positions and was Chief of Staff to then Democrats’s Leader Natasha Stott Despoja and Strategy Adviser to former Greens leader Bob Brown. Despite his public profile the Australian Financial Review placed him on their list of the ten most covertly powerful people in the country. Go figure.