Michael Cornish (B.Ec, LLB, GDLP, MPACS, MA) is a public policy professional with specialist skills in economics, law, international relations and conflict management. He currently works as the Policy Lead for the Australian Land Conservation Alliance, the Australian peak body for private land conservation.
Directly prior to- this role he worked as a Policy Adviser to the Group of Eight universities, and before that as the Senior Policy Adviser to the Member for the Australian Federal electorate of Mayo, Ms Rebekha Sharkie.
Michael’s consultancy and project management roles have ranged across organisations that include the OECD, APEC, ASEAN, AusAID/DFAT, CSIRO, and the United Nations, where his areas of work have included development economics, aid-for-trade, inclusive business, environmental policy, international trade, and tertiary education.
Michael is currently sits on the boards of Trees For Life (since 2020) and South Australia’s peak environmental body, the Conservation Council SA (since 2021).
Michael has also had experience in academia as a Lecturer and Visiting Fellow with the Development Policy Centre, of the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and a Lecturer in Economics at the University of Papua New Guinea (School of Business and Public Policy), based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Here he was also the Partnership Coordinator for the Partnership between the Australian National University and the University of Papua New Guinea, working to build the School’s capacity and to improve the quality of teaching, research, and public outreach, especially in economics and public policy.
Michael completed his second Masters degree, a Master of Arts in International Relations (with Honours), at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, for which he received the Mitchell Wolfson, Snr Fellowship (courtesy of the Wolfson Initiative Corporation) and the Robb E. Smith Fellowship.
Michael has a background in international aid project management and research project management, with direct experience in China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea – the latter two in which he has lived. Michael completed his Bachelor degrees at The University of Adelaide – one in Economics and another in Laws – a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice with the Law Society of South Australia, and holds a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies (with Merit) from The University of Sydney.
Michael has been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of South Australia, provided in-house legal counsel in his various roles, and was a member of the South Australian Law Society Human Rights Committee from between 2010 and 2012. In 2011, he was the Australian representative for the United Nations Parliamentary Association which advocates for improvements to global governance.
Michael was the personal research assistant to former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group, Professor the Hon Gareth Evans AC QC at the University of Melbourne.
Michael has also been a lecturer and applied researcher at The University of Adelaide School of Economics and its School of Social Sciences. There he lectured in microeconomics, macroeconomics, statistics, development economics, development studies, peace and conflict studies, and international politics. He has also taught economics at Deakin University, UniSA, and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Michael holds a Practicing Certificate in Mediation, and has written for a range of publications, including the Weekend Australian, the Age, the United Nations University for Peace, and Inside Story.
Michael’s key interests include international politics, economic development, and environmental conservation, but he is interested in all manner of public policy issues.
Michael loves hiking, reading and travelling, and is married to the most beautiful and amazing person in the world, Dayna Fisher. Together they have a wonderful son, Owen.
~ November 2021