Heather Murphy

Senior Analyst

Heather Murphy

At the Lab, our Senior Analyst is a foreign policy expert with a background in international development, aid and the Pacific. The team at the Lab love her keen analytical instincts, breadth of experience, creative policy ideas and ‘just do it’ kind of attitude. Secretly, Heather always thought she’d be a celebrity gossip columnist. As it turns out, figuring out how Australia can best help Indo-Pacific countries grow and develop is more rewarding. When she’s not working at the Lab, you’ll find Heather on a walk somewhere close to water or deepening her knowledge of obscure Italian amari.

Heather has over a decade of hands-on experience in the field of international relations. In a previous life, she was a Senior Analyst at the Office of National Intelligence, focusing on critical infrastructure in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, the political economy of Papua New Guinea and state building in Bougainville. Prior to that she was a development practitioner and diplomat, working for the World Bank, AusAID and DFAT in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Thailand. In government, a number of her roles focused on the effectiveness and performance of Australia’s aid program.

Over the years, Heather has honed her communications and research skills with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Hons) from the University of Technology, Sydney, and as a journalist working in community media and trade publications. She brings a sharp multi-disciplinary focus to the Lab’s work, grounded in a deep understanding of Australian government policymaking.

Areas of Expertise

  • International development policy and strategy
  • Development effectiveness and capability
  • Geopolitics
  • Australian foreign policy in the Pacific
  • Papua New Guinea (including Bougainville)
  • Critical infrastructure and strategic economic sectors

Recent Commentary

International Development Policy: First Impressions
August 2023
Development Intelligence Lab
International Development Policy: First Impressions