John Edwards

Senior Fellow
Areas of expertise

Australian economic policy; monetary policy; international economics; banking

John Edwards
Biography
Publications
News and media

John Edwards is a Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute and an Adjunct Professor with the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University. He is also a board member of the industry superannuation fund Cbus and of Frontier Advisors. He was member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia from 2011 to 2016. In 2015 he was appointed by the Commonwealth as a member of a three person panel to review the Fair Work Act. From 2009 to 2011 he was Director for Economic Planning and Development for the Economic Development Board of the Kingdom of Bahrain. From 1997 to 2009 Dr Edwards was Chief Economist for Australia and New Zealand for the global financial group, HSBC. In 2008 he was given leave of absence from HSBC to accept a secondment to the Australian Treasury as Chief Adviser, Financial Markets. At the same time he was appointed to join chairman David Mortimer AO in a two-member Review of Australian Trade and Investment Policies. From 1991 to 1994 John was principal economic adviser to Treasurer and then Prime Minister, Paul Keating. In that role he had particular responsibility for international trade issues, labour market reform, and monetary policy.

Earlier in his career he was a political and economic journalist in Sydney, Canberra, and Washington. He joined Australian Financial Review in 1970, and his subsequent roles included political correspondent for The Australian, economics editor of The Bulletin magazine and Sydney Morning Herald correspondent in Washington, DC.

After leaving the Prime Minister’s office in 1994 John was an adviser at Macquarie Bank, and then Chief Economist for Société Generale in Australia, before joining HSBC. From 1994 to 1996 he was also appointed by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs as adviser to the Australian member of the APEC Eminent Persons Group and to the two Australian members of the APEC Business Advisory Council.

His articles on economic issues have appeared in the Financial Times, the Australian Financial ReviewThe AustralianNikkei Asian Review and numerous other publications. He has given evidence on economic issues before parliamentary committees, and presented briefings for government officials and ministers.

John has published six books, including most recently a two-volume biography of Australia’s wartime prime minister, John Curtin’s War. The first volume won the 2018 Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature in the history section. His other books include a narrative history of the MX missile program Superweapon (Norton 1982) and an account of Australian economic policy making under the former Treasurer and Prime Minister Keating: The Inside Story (Viking 1996). His published research for the Lowy Institute includes two Lowy Institute Papers, Quiet Boom (2006) and Beyond the Boom (Penguin Specials, 2014). Other papers for the Institute include How to be exceptional: Australia in the slowing global economy (2016) and Economic Conflict between America and China: A truce declared, the talks begin (2018).

John holds PhD and M Phil degrees in economics from George Washington University and a BA from Sydney University. His doctoral dissertation was in the field of monetary economics.

 

Australian election 2022: Big businesses, small productivity gains
Commentary
Australian election 2022: Big businesses, small productivity gains
Originally published in The Canberra Times.
Confessions of a Reserve Bank board member
Commentary
Confessions of a Reserve Bank board member
Originally published in The Canberra Times
Beyond Fortress Australia
Interactives
Beyond Fortress Australia
The reality of living in a pandemic has dawned on Australia. Covid cases at the time of writing are high and still climbing. The virus is here to stay. Equally clear is that ring…
Commentary
Australia's economic centre has shifted from Sydney to Canberra
Originally published in The Canberra Times.
Lowy Institute Papers
Reconstruction: Australia after COVID
A discussion of what is in store economically for Australians after COVID-19, by one of Australia's leading economic voices.
Covid recovery, in Australia and the world
Covid recovery, in Australia and the world
Drawing from his new Lowy Institute Paper, John Edwards looks at the fallout of the pandemic and where things are going.
Commentary
Our toughest job lies ahead
It is five months since the last reported Covid-related death in Australia. But it is how we handle unemployment that will be one of the most critical issues. Originally published…
Covid economic recovery a long-term test for Australian leadership
Covid economic recovery a long-term test for Australian leadership
Australia faces rising unemployment, increased debt and lower living standards, but the challenges are not insuperable.
The Costs of COVID: Australia's Economic Prospects in a Wounded World
Analyses
The Costs of COVID: Australia's Economic Prospects in a Wounded World
Despite a COVID-constrained global economy, rising unemployment and high government debt, meeting the fiscal challenge is within Australia's means
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