The United States Studies Centre (USSC) is pleased to announce the appointment of two widely recognised policy scholars to lead new initiatives on economic affairs. Hayley Channer, formerly with the Office of the Defence Minister and most recently Senior Policy Fellow with the Perth USAsia Centre, will join the Centre as Director for Economic Security with a focus on the intersection of geopolitics and business. Dr John Kunkel, a trade economist and most recently Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, will join the Centre as Senior Economic Advisor with a focus on trade and investment issues.

USSC CEO Dr Michael Green noted that the dual appointment indicates the significance of this new research area for the Centre and the Australia-US alliance.

“Australia, the United States, and our allies and partners face an increasingly complex mix of trade and investment opportunities buffeted by growing geopolitical risk, technology decoupling, supply chain challenges, and economic coercion. Hayley Channer’s previous experience as a Defence official and research on Indo-Pacific geoeconomic dynamics combined with John Kunkel’s scholarly work and government experience as chief of staff to the treasurer and the prime minister will position the Centre to explore innovative solutions as we seek to understand these new intersections between national security and economic prosperity.”

On the appointment, Channer shared, “The collision of economics and national security is presenting Australia and the US with extremely complex questions, so cooperation will be key. The Economic Security Program will be at the centre of developing solutions to these challenges and I’m looking forward to working with government and business to drive outcomes that are fit for our current environment”.

Kunkel added, “This new era of heightened geopolitical uncertainty places a premium on like-minded partners working together to build economic security and resilience. In a world where the old boundaries between national security and economics have dissolved, the Economic Security Program will offer fresh perspectives on how our free and open societies can remain equipped for the challenges of today and tomorrow”.

The Economic Security Program will launch in December 2022.

Hayley Channer is Director of Economic Security at the United States Studies Centre, where she runs the Economic Security Program. She brings a diversity of experience to the role having worked in government, politics, and the not-for-profit sector. She was formerly with the Perth USAsia Centre and has worked in the Department of Defence and Office of the Defence Minister. Hayley is a Fulbright Scholar and has held Visiting Fellowships with the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) at the Australian National University and East West Centre in Washington DC.

Dr John Kunkel is Senior Economic Advisor with the Economic Security Program at the United States Studies Centre. He has worked as an economist, speech writer, policy analyst and adviser to government and industry executive. Most recently, he was Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He was Deputy CEO and Director of Economics and Taxation for the Minerals Council of Australia and Trade Adviser to the Australian Minister for Trade. He started his career at the Reserve Bank of Australia and was a Fulbright Scholar early in his career. He has a PhD in economics from the Australian National University.

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