John Hewson is an economic and financial expert with experience in academia, business, government and the financial system.
He has worked as an economist for the Australian Treasury, the Reserve Bank, the IMF and as an advisor to two successive federal treasurers and the prime minister. He is currently a professor at the Crawford School ANU.
Hewson's academic career included 11 years as the Professor of Economics and four years as the head of the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales and, more recently, two years as Dean of Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University. Before entering politics in 1987, his business career was as a company director and business consultant – and included roles as foundation executive director, Macquarie Bank Limited and as a trustee of the IBM Superannuation Fund.
Hewson’s political career included seven years as a ministerial advisor and a further eight years as the Federal Member for Wentworth in the Federal Parliament. He was Shadow Finance Minister, Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, then leader of the Liberal Party and Federal Coalition in Opposition for four years.
Since leaving politics in early 1995, Hewson has run his own private investment banking business, including as director/advisor of a wide range of companies and was, until December 2004, a member of the advisory council of ABN AMRO (having previously been chairman of the bank). He's also chairman of Osteoporosis Australia and KidsXpress, and a director of several other companies. He writes opinion columns for a number of newspapers and online news services, and is a weekly panelist on the Sky News Agenda program, as well as a regular commentator on a wide range of radio and television programs.
Hewson's work has involved a considerable focus on climate change and sustainability – ranging from his 1993 'Fightback' policy promising a 20% cut in emissions by 2000 (off a 1990 base), through his role as member and chairman of the National Business Leader's Forum on Sustainable Development, and now as Chair Asset Owners' Disclosure Project.
Hewson has also recognised and acted on the business opportunities of a genuine response to the challenge of climate change – starting businesses in garbage recycling, energy efficient lightbulbs, bio-diesel plants, green data centres, converting sugar cane into electricity and ethanol, producing ultra pure graphite for lithium-ion batteries and heat storage, coal refining, base load solar, and many others. He was also a member of the South Australian Government’s Expert Panel on the Transition to a Low Carbon Economy, and Patron of the Solar Council.