About the Policymaker

Ideas that shape the future of Australian public policy

The Policymaker is a digital publication of the James Martin Institute for Public Policy. We are a platform for policymakers and the public to access opinion articles on innovative and constructive ideas and proposals. The Policymaker is solution-driven. We take an independent and non-partisan stance.

Articles in The Policymaker are written in the distinctive voice of their author(s). The findings and recommendations of any JMI publication are solely those of its author(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute, its Board, funders, or other partners.

Editorial team

Vafa Ghazavi


Dr Vafa Ghazavi is the Executive Director for Research and Policy at the James Martin Institute for Public Policy and Editor of The Policymaker.

Vafa is a public policy strategist and political philosopher. He has worked in the policy planning branch of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, among other roles, and previously served as a diplomat in Afghanistan and to the United Nations in Vienna. Vafa also worked as an adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

He has been a visiting researcher on ethics with the AI lab, DeepMind, and taught political theory at the University of Oxford. In addition to his academic work, Vafa has written for publications including the Boston Review, The Guardian, Public Seminar, The Philosopher, The Interpreter, the Oxford Review of Books, and The Times Literary Supplement.

He is currently a Carr Center Fellow at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

Vafa is a graduate of the University of Sydney, where he won the university medal, and Harvard University, where he completed a master’s in public administration as a Fulbright Scholar. He completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he studied as a John Monash Scholar.


Hugh Piper

Deputy Editor

Hugh Piper is Research & Policy Manager at the James Martin Institute for Public Policy and Deputy Editor of The Policymaker.

Hugh brings experience working across foreign and national security policy, strategic communications, and digital property markets. Before joining the Institute, Hugh held various roles at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including as a strategic policy adviser and ministerial speechwriter.

Hugh previously worked in various research and policy roles, including developing strategy for digital campaigns to counter violent extremism and leading on policy and law reform for two successful start-ups in the rental property sector.

A Sydney local, Hugh is a graduate of the University of Sydney, holding a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours, focussing on Australian constitutional law, and a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours, focussing on the history of U.S. foreign policy.

He is dedicated to effective policy analysis, research, and communications across a broad range of complex policy issues.


Andreas Kaufmann

Digital Editor

Andreas Kaufmann is a Senior Manager, Communications and Engagement, at the James Martin Institute for Public Policy and Digital Editor of The Policymaker.

Andreas is a creative communications expert and an engagement strategist. In addition to communicating research findings and policy outcomes clearly and compellingly, Andreas is also passionate about building strategic partnerships with different stakeholders. He is a creative visionary for communications, design and social media, with a global perspective. Andreas joins from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), based in Geneva, where he was Marketing Campaign Officer for the ICRC-led Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation, a multi-agency partnership with UNWFP, UNHCR, Doctors without Borders and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. In this role, Andreas led the development and implementation of communication strategies with a strong focus on community engagement and leveraging institutional partnerships. Previously Andreas was a Law and Policy Outreach Associate at the ICRC, where he coordinated external communications for ICRC research and debate cycles and promoted their publications and events through creative campaigns and external engagement. Before joining the ICRC, he worked for a security policy think tank and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. He has a Bachelors in International Relations from the University of Geneva and a Masters in Political Science from the University of Zurich.

Lara Bate

Associate Digital Editor

Lara Bate is a Digital Communications and Events Associate at the James Martin Institute for Public Policy and Associate Digital Editor of The Policymaker.

Lara is driven to promote and explore the intersection of digital and policy spaces to enhance policy accessibility to a broader range of stakeholders. With a background in cross-platform media management and content creation, as well as recent overseas experience in international investment spaces her professional background complements her passion for impactful policymaking. Working to collaborate across disciplines & sectors, Lara looks forward to harnessing the dynamic nature of such rapidly changing spaces to positively transform the role of communications.

Lara is currently completing her Bachelor of Advanced Studies/Bachelor of Arts majoring in Politics & International Relations and English Literature at the University of Sydney.