To be a nationally respected and innovative institute which is influential in the development and debate of public policy at the local, state and national level.


  • Respect and recognition of the shared interests, contributions, and mutual interdependence of all sectors of the community
  • Commitment to innovative thinking, critical debate and intellectual excellence.
  • Honesty, integrity, and ethical participation in debate and means of influence.

Within these principles, the Newcastle Institute will not take a position on any issue, but will value diversity of ideas and engagement in the public policy debate.


The general objective of The Newcastle Institute is to encourage, contribute to, and increase the involvement of its regional audience (based in Newcastle) in the discussion and development of public policy. By doing so, the Institute aims to increase the region’s influence on the public policy agenda, both inside and outside the formal systems of government, political structures, and academia.

To achieve these ends, it will provide:-

  • A platform for presentation of new policies and ideas of local, regional or national significance.
  • A forum for innovative and critical thinking to influence the development and debate of public policy at all levels.
  • A venue for the development of skills to participate in the public policy agenda, particularly by individuals and groups that have not previously engaged with the public policy agenda.


The Institute conducts meetings including invited presentations on a variety of issues, selected with particular interest in issues that are not currently adequately discussed in the mainstream media or public policy debate. Presenters may be local identities, or figures of national significance. These meetings are the focus for stimulating debate and discussion through various media and informally in the community.  The Institute is self-funding.


Membership is open to the general public with commitment to the principles of the Institute. From 2018, Annual Membership is available to all interested members of the public.  The fee for Annual Membership has been set at $50 and, as well as offering discounted rates for attendance at our regular events, membership will also enable access to special areas of our website and also allow members to be part of the process of determining priorities and ideas for the Newcastle Institute.

It’s easy to become a member of the Newcastle Institute.  Just click here to complete your registration.

The Newcastle Institute so far…..

The Institute was established (as ‘The New Institute’) in Newcastle in early 2004 as an independent, not-for-profit, incorporated association, open to the general public, and with a broad aim is to raise the activity, intellectual sophistication and influence of public policy and political discourse in Newcastle.

The Management Committee has included Felicity Biggins, Robyn Considine, Victoria Carroll, Andrew Dibley, Angie Dilorenzo, Micah Jenkins, Ross Kerridge, John Miner, Peter McNair, Roger Pryor, Sheena Martin, Alan Spicer and Krysia Walker.

Patrons of the Institute are Trevor Waring AM, Ross Gittins AM, Dr Bernie Curran, Gaye Hart AM, and Marcus Westbury.

Meetings commenced in May 2004, initially to launch the idea of the Institute.  Speaking meetings commenced in July 2004. Since then there have been multiple public forums on a wide variety of Topics.  (see elsewhere on the website)   Meetings carried a modest admission charge (now only $5).  Attendance has varied (20 –150), but is generally around 70.

Meeting Venues have included Butlers and Customs House Restaurants; The Newcastle Club; Panthers Club Newcastle; Newcastle Regional Museum; Civic Playhouse; Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle Police Museum, Wesley Hall, and Souths Leagues Club.

The meetings generate public media coverage depending on the interest in the topic.  This has included formal news reports, radio interviews (ABC, 2NUR-FM, KO-FM, 2HD), television coverage (NBN), reports and feature articles in ‘op ed’ or magazine sections of the Newcastle Herald, and on ABC ‘Stateline’.

The activities of the Institute have demonstrated that there is broad interest in the concept of a non-aligned, independent and broad-based public policy institute.  There is growing audience and community support.  It has also been demonstrated that there is ample ‘raw material’ for meetings, both as interesting speakers from within the region, and those visiting the area.

The Institute has developed a particular reputation for high-quality candidates forums (fora) prior to Federal, State and local government elections.

The Newcastle Institute is continuing steady further development.  A current focus is developing stronger use of innovative media to facilitate recording and dissemination of the excellent content generated at regular meetings.

While maintaining a position of integrity and independence, the Institute welcomes involvement of new people or free association with other groups and organisations pursuing similar goals.

It’s easy to become a member of the Newcastle Institute.  Just click here to complete your registration.


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