The Economic Society was established in 1925, with seven branches across Australia and New Zealand and a Central Council. It focussed on economic matters of public concern, and attracted wide community support. New Zealand branches withdrew from the Economic Society in 1973. D.B. Copland, University of Melbourne Professor of Commerce at the time, played a key role in the formation of the society. Professor Copland sought to establish good relations with the business community, and was noted for his interest in the application of economic theory to practical problems. At the time the Society formed, it opposed declarations of policy and instead focussed on open discussion and the encouragement of economic debate on affairs of the time. This stance continues today, with the Society being a forum for professional discussion rather than an advocacy group.