tat Skip to main content

Recent appointments: Director, Whitlam Institute


Congratulations to our recent appointment, Leanne Smith, as the new Director of The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University.

The Whitlam Institute has announced the appointment of a new Director, international human rights lawyer, former Australian diplomat and senior United Nations official Leanne Smith.

A graduate of the Australian National University, Leanne brings 20 years of experience in policy development, political analysis, international peace and security, human rights fieldwork and international law. Working with the Australian Government, the UN, and various NGOs and human rights organisations, her work has taken her to Afghanistan, the Balkans, South Sudan, East Timor and across Australia.

About the Institute

The Whitlam Institute holds a unique place in the national landscape.
A Prime Ministerial Institute. A centre of ideas and conversation, respected for our public policy research. Custodians of two key aspects of the national estate – the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection and the historic Female Orphan School. Its public policy and public affairs (education & outreach) programs continue to build on the Institute’s foundation, to build contemporary relevance with new audiences.

The Whitlam Institute is guided by the ‘three great aims’ that drove the Whitlam Program of 1972:

  • to promote equality;
  • to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land; and
  • to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.

Established under an Agreement between the University and Mr Whitlam in 2000, the Whitlam Institute is a separately incorporated entity within Western Sydney University. Its Board oversees the Whitlam Trust Fund and advises on the Whitlam Institute Program. The Whitlam Institute sits within the Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Academic).  Its staff are employees of the University.

The four pillars of the Whitlam Institute are: the Whitlam Prime Ministerial Collection; its public policy program; its public affairs (education & outreach) program; and responsibility for the historic Female Orphan School.

About the role

The next Director will apply strategic vision, leadership and guidance to working with government, industry and community stakeholders on developing applied research, and fostering public discussion, debate and understanding. The appointment was made following an executive search

Female Orphan School