Vale Professor Ian Marsh

  • Published Date: 16 June 2017

MarshProfessor Ian Marsh was a remarkable contributor to the discipline and practice of politics and public administration in Australia.

Formerly ANZSOG Professor of Government at the Graduate School of Government, University of Sydney (2005-2008), Ian held many academic posts around the country including Senior Fellow at the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU. Most recently, he was Professor at the Australian Innovation Research Centre of University of Tasmania and Adjunct Professor at the UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney. He also served as Director of Research for the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, was formerly an associate professor of the Australian Graduate School of Management and former research director of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Ian was a prolific author. Along with countless book chapters and reports, his many books include: Democratic Decline and Democratic Renewal: Political Change in Britain, Australia and New Zealand (Cambridge University Press, 2012) (with Raymond Miller), Beyond the Two Party System: Political Representation, Economic Competitiveness and Australian Politics and The Neglect of the Long Term in Australian Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Into the Future: The Neglect of the Long Term in Australian Politics (Black Inc, 2005) (with David Yencken), an edited review of democratisation in the Asian region (Democratisation, Governance and Regionalism, Routledge, 2006) and another on globalisation (Globalisation and the People, Routledge, 2006).

For more than three decades, Ian Marsh contributed to the Australian Journal of Public Administration on topics as diverse as pressure groups, strategy, governance, and place-based practices. During that time, he often wrote with some of the most exciting emerging scholars in the field (Lindy Edwards, Dennis Grube, Kate Crowley, Richard Eccleston, Ben Spies-Butcher amongst them). A flavour of his work can be found here:



Ian’s emblematic commitment was to bringing ideas into the policy and political space. He championed engagement and robust debate and was an enthusiastic supporter of causes in advance of his time. As an associate of McKinsey & Co, and a former private secretary to the Minister for Defence, he was attuned to the lifeblood of politics and its need for eloquent and evidence-informed rigor.

Ian was educated at the University of Newcastle and the Kennedy School of Government and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard.

Our condolences and appreciation for all he has done to advance Australian public life are extended to his wife Lorine and family.

Ken Smith, Catherine Althaus, John Wanna, Gary Sturgess, George Argyrous


A message from Dr. Hal Colebatch:

"I tend to see Professor Marsh as being like the small boy in The Emperor's New Clothes: challenging widely-shared assumptions. To a profession which was resolutely focused on parties and parliament and elections, and which tended to  see policy in terms of the working of these institutions, he pointed out that the really big policy shifts in recent years - the recognition of the environment, gender and global warming as matters for concern - had all emerged outside these institutions, despite the political system, rather than within it.  Perhaps it was because he was outside the mainstream - a political scientist in a business school, a small-'L' liberal in a left-leaning profession - he was better at recognising where the story started to creak. So we will miss his contribution to the analysis of our politics, and his personal style, always confident that a smile and a relentlessly reasonable attitude would see him through; it usually did."