Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is from Brisbane, Australia, and most recently served as the Lord Mayor’s Representative for the Gabba Ward in the 2016 Brisbane City Council elections. Previously he worked as a Liaison Specialist for Wilson Security in Papua New Guinea and, prior to that, as a senior policy adviser to the Queensland Minister for Education, Training and Employment. [READ MORE]

Latest Posts

Is Australian conservatism in good hands? Maybe so

BOOK REVIEW: Damien Freeman, Abbott’s Right: The conservative tradition from Menzies to Abbott, Melbourne University Press, 28 August 2017 It is often said that conservatives are stuck in the past. But for over centuries many leading conservative thinkers and practitioners have made clear the necessity of change. ‘A state without the means of some change,’ the eighteenth century conservative Edmund Burke famously wrote, ‘is without the means of its own conservation.’ In 2002, amid the golden jubilee Queen Elizabeth II – perhaps no greater modern Western symbol of cascading tradition – noted that ‘if a jubilee becomes a moment to […]

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Bigger citizens and smaller governments: Warren Mundine’s great Australian autobiography

“The first time I was called an ‘uptown nigger’,” writes Warren Mundine, “was thirty years ago when I wore a suit and tie, and attended university.” As a former Australian Labor Party president and advisor to conservative prime ministers John Howard and Tony Abbott, Mundine is not known for pulling his punches. And it is for two reasons that his candid reflection In Black and White is one of the great Australian autobiographies. First, Mundine does not invite guilt for past decisions regarding black Australia but, in a breath of fresh air, focuses on actually bringing Australians together and finding real, non-government […]

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The Village Operator: 9 lessons learned from working at a local level

Here are my nine basic tips and observations I learned while working as a Community Liaison Specialist on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG). For those who don’t know, Manus is famous for the Regional Processing Centre (RPC), which until recently hosted up to a thousand transferees barred from entering Australia. My role, however, was away from the actual RPC and brought me into contact with the surrounding villages, community groups and businesses.  It challenged me by having to apply my previous roles in policy and decision-making to a complex local operating environment. For those interested in taking a similar plunge […]

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Reflections on reflections: Australian public policy, history and institutions

It has been just over a year since Peter Varghese, outgoing Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), delivered his ‘graduate lecture’ to Australia’s next round of aspiring international civil servants. Titled ‘reflections on a most fortunate public life’, it appealed to me both as a former Canberra graduate at the Prime Minister’s Department, and as a young professional working closely with DFAT during my early years in the South Pacific. As someone with an instinctively conservative tilt, however, I found most appealing Varghese’s emphasis on Australia’s institutions – ‘the bedrock of our society’ – and his […]

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Positive Pacific developments: Papua New Guinea’s housing appetite

Good news can be difficult to find in Papua New Guinea. Since independence from Australia in 1975, reports of crime, corruption and poverty now seemingly tumble out of the South Pacific nation on a daily basis. But a trickle of good news has emerged from a recent housing survey. With 2000 respondents, and considered the most comprehensive ever undertaken in PNG, the survey highlights positive trends for a growing economy – rental demand is high but demand to buy is higher; many Papua New Guineans are keen to put down deposits; the capital Port Moresby and other regional centres are […]

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Papua New Guinea, aid and economic growth

We live in a time where more people have been pulled out of poverty than at any other time in history. This has not been achieved by foreign aid but through free markets and economic growth. Recent commentary has exposed the problems of criticising PNG’s pro-economic growth agenda, and elevating foreign aid as the centrepiece solution to the many domestic hurdles facing our nearest neighbour. These views have emerged out of Australian Senator Fierravanti-Wells’ recent “aid is not charity” comments after PNG’s request for $558 million – our total current aid package to the country – to be paid to […]

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Where are the role models? Right there

When recently undertaking some basic research into Aboriginal Australians at war I was, as usual, surprised at what Australian history threw back. Decades before the good intentions of segregated computer labs, and the advent of ‘black lives matter’, I came upon three examples of black Australians at war that would surprise many young people today. The first was Douglas Grant – a north Queenslander rescued from a tribal fight in the early 1900s by chance from a Scottish immigrant surveyor. Educated in Sydney, and later training as a mechanical draughtsman, Douglas developed an early passion for Shakespeare, writing and drawing. […]

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Is Conor McGregor Tony Abbott?

Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor has returned to the high peaks of stardom and notoriety following his ‘rematch’ win over opponent Nate Diaz. While many don’t usually turn to McGregor as a source of insight on current affairs, it was his recent comment in the lead up to the fight that caught my eye: I am just trying to do my job and fight here. I am paid to fight. I am not yet paid to promote. I have become lost in the game of promotion and forgot about the art of fighting. There comes a time when you need to […]

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The Disciplines of Leadership, Democracy and Revolution in the Developing World

In late 2010, as a young UN staffer in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, I witnessed the tail end of an ultimately fatal high-speed police chase. It was a late Friday afternoon and I was standing across the road from a busy outdoor marketplace, accompanied by men, women and children buzzing home for the weekend. The gentle energy of the Friday afternoon, however, quickly dissolved from the screeching tires of four land cruisers sliding through the market, accompanied by two loud gunshots. I’ll never forget the unplanned choreography of around 700 people, including myself, dropping and splintering apart at the […]

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Changing the Flag will blunt Australia’s future

Australia is at a period where good ideas matter. Changing the flag is not one of them. Labor MP Tim Watts has recently emerged as Australia’s leading anti-flag spokesman. His thoughts echo those of a thin group of flag-changers occasionally emerging to propose amendments to Australia’s pinnacle national symbol. The motivation is both predictable and simple – because Australia has changed we must change the flag. ‘In many ways,’ Watts recently wrote in an SBS opinion piece, ‘our flag reflects the country we once were, not the nation we have become today.’ To look at Australia this way, however, commits […]

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