Honorary degree: Mr Ross Gittins AM

12 December 2018

Ross Gittins received a Doctor of Letters from ANU at a Conferring of Awards ceremony on Wednesday 12 December.

Here is the citation that was read out moments before. 


Chancellor, it is my privilege to present to you for a degree of the University, Mr Ross Gittins.

Mr Gittins has made an extraordinary contribution to journalism and the national debate on economics and political economy over the last four decades.

He is one of the nation's leading economics journalists, who looks beyond the headlines to provide the Australian public with deep and thoughtful columns on economics, business, government and society.

As well as writing several thousand columns for Fairfax Media, he has authored seven books and given numerous talks and seminars.

Mr Gittins has covered all the major economic issues affecting citizens and government policy, including the distinction between public sector and foreign debt, how to interpret the Consumer Price Index, and the effect of fiscal and monetary policy on unemployment.

However, Mr Gittins does much more than report economics - he deciphers, illuminates and translates the complex and often confusing language and conceptual bases of the craft of economics.

Readers of his columns gain a clear understanding of complex topics such as what franking credits are and what they mean for governments and pensioners, and the difference between an emissions trading scheme and a carbon tax.

His skill at explaining complex issues, and his tenacity in getting to the core of economic matters, has added considerably to the quality of economic and public policy debate in Australia.

Mr Gittins has had significant links with this university over most of his career.

The late Professor Fred Gruen would send Mr Gittins papers from the Centre for Economic Policy Research that he considered might be suitable for an economics column.

As well, Mr Gittins has frequently attended economics conferences at ANU.

The importance of his contribution to Australian public policy was recognised by his appointment in 2016 as a Distinguished Adjunct Fellow in the ANU Research School of Economics.

This position involves Mr Gittins visiting the School every year for about a week, in which he meets with ANU economists and discusses their research. This results in informed newspaper columns that feature this University's work.

The most recent visit was in February this year when Mr Gittins spent individual time with 20 ANU economists and gave a well-attended talk on how economists can have their ideas and research discussed in the wider community.

Chancellor, it is with pleasure that I present to you Mr Ross Gittins, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa for his exceptional contribution to journalism and economics in Australia.