Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is a security specialist and policy expert, having worked for Australia’s National Security Adviser and as a lead planner for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit. He is also a former Brisbane City Council election candidate, ministerial adviser, United Nations worker, international youth volunteer, and national water polo champion. [READ MORE]

Latest Posts

Conventions not rules: What the Governor-General-Turnbull-Porter debate can teach us

This article also appears on the Spectator’s Flat White blog. Personality in politics is like salt to a dish – a pinch here or there is not a bad thing.  It brings out the flavours, enlivens the meal and creates a nice healthy edge. But too much, of course, can ruin things beyond repair.  Malcolm Turnbull’s recent confirmation he had tried to sink Peter Dutton’s eligibility for the prime ministership, through the governor-general, shows personality of the wrong kind – one that, laced with other recent actions, points to an unhealthy retribution in our public affairs.  It is entirely fair, at least on face […]

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Episode 34 – Australia’s nearest neighbour – Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has 8 million people, 800-plus languages and over a thousand cultural groupings. Understandably, running the PNG state can be more than difficult, amplified by a swelling resource sector and huge challenges around health, education and security. But not all is an uphill battle. Over the years I’ve been enthusiastic about economic growth in PNG and the opportunities that it can deliver. From the unusual benefits of PNG’s Westminster system to skirmishes on the Indonesian border, and property rights to Bougainville independence, I hope you enjoy this primer on an interesting nation close to home. Show highlights […]

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Episode 33 – Warren Buffett primer – A Dollar for Fifty Cents

Warren Buffett – investment and business titan, man of steady temperament and, as Whig Capital’s Jordan Shopov explains, a ‘learning machine’. As someone who knew only a little about Buffett I learnt a lot from this discussion with Jordan, who has read the most on the ‘Oracle from Omaha’ than perhaps anyone in Australia. We talk about Buffett’s principles for success, the value of role models, circles of competence and how getting a dollar for fifty cents means constant growth and learning. To tap into Jordan’s wealth of knowledge please get in touch with him at www.whigcapital.com. Show highlights Buffett […]

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Julius Chan on Papua New Guinea

Julius Chan, Playing the Game: Life and Politics in Papua New Guinea, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Brisbane, 2016 This article was originally written for the Pacific Institute for Public Policy in 2016 With the United States presidential race heating up, and the ascension of candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, there’s an obvious buzz around frank and straight-talking leaders proposing remedies to their national challenges. And it’s with a similar but slightly more polished candour that Sir Julius Chan – twice Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) – reflects on PNG’s shaky four decades of independence from […]

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Episode 32 – Post-election wrap, musings and observations

Join Jordan Shopov and I for a casual post-election wrap up. From franking credits to betting odds, and inner-city politics to Q-exit, we unpack the Labor leadership, the background noise of the ‘culture wars’, and talk next steps for ScoMo. We even find time briefly to talk Izzy, and hypothesize about a world where millennials possess the same enthusiasm for debt as carbon reduction. Show highlights How harbourside politics did not quite work in mainstream Australia Australia’s egalitarian streak The general appeal of lower taxes How franking credits and property ownership were leading indicators and thus issues for voters Why […]

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What could have been: a monarchist’s primer on the republican debate

With the Labor loss the hovering threat of a republic has subsided. But I thought it important to share some background and personal thoughts on this issue – the debate in the 1990s, the arguments and, ultimately, where I think it is a bad idea.  My points below are based on a discussion I had on my podcast with Whig Capital’s Jordan Shopov.  What do you think? Did this issue have anything to do the election outcome? Please drop in a comment below. This would be the second referendum Australia’s had on the issue. Sean, can you give a brief […]

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Notes on Leadership

I thought it sensible to throw together some brief notes on leadership for two reasons. First, because of the Australian federal election, leadership is clearly in the public spotlight. But second, and for more long-term reasons, leadership is a trait that will never go out of fashion. We will always need more leadership, as many people lament, and more genuine leaders. All shapes and sizes The first thing I learnt about effective leaders is that they come in all shapes and sizes. By the time I hit 30 I had worked for the Australian aid program in Fiji, the UN […]

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12 Self-Leadership Lessons from a US Supreme Court Justice

As very much a non-lawyer, and non-American, I’ve always admired Clarence Thomas – the United States Supreme Court Associate – from afar. Thomas, now 70 years of age, has spent almost three decades in the Supreme Court. His ascension to this position, despite a bitter early-1990s confirmation hearing, reveals very little flamboyance but a strong commitment to humility, discipline and building skills. Indeed, there were many less public times, early in Thomas’s career, where things amounted to make or break. Rising from genuine poverty and segregation he committed to finishing a formal education, and shedding his enchantment with activism before […]

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Episode 31 – A primer on the coming republican debate

In any national election the stakes are high. But if Labor wins they have committed to holding a referendum on an Australian republic.  This issue was put to the Australian people in 1999 but lost.  Yet, as I explain, it is an issue that will always be with us.  For this episode, we flip things around and Whig Capital’s Jordan Shopov interviews me on the republican versus monarchy debate.  Full disclosure – I am a spokesman for the Australian Monarchist League (and a member of the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy).  But I hope I can give this important issue the […]

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