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

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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Australia: change when change is required

It’s often said that many young Australians find public debate bitter and lacking in civility. Greg Sheridan’s When We Were Young And Foolish, however, gives some perspective on the political currents of past generations, which make today’s social landscape appear mild by comparison. Although Sheridan looks at the political elites of Australian politics he actually devotes more time to exploring the political landscape where they cut their teeth: the Catholic-Protestant divide, Labor’s split over communism and the venom of student and union politics. These, thankfully, are cleavages no longer dividing Australian life. ‘For more than 150 years,’ Sheridan writes, ‘Catholic […]

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Standing up for conservatism in Queensland

It’s healthy, regardless of political complexion, to read well-written books threading history with current affairs. Mark Bahnisch’s Queensland: Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask performs this task brilliantly. Bahnisch shows that Queensland, known for its conservatism, actually lays claim in 1899 to the first Labour government in the world and, in addition to hosting the world’s first general strike in 1912, pioneered a “path to socialism through intervention in the economy.” It’s through this lens that Queensland’s contrasts take shape: the free trade without big business; shearers, miners and railway workers upon the northern frontiers with doctors, […]

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Strong At Home Means Strong Away: Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill and Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s domestic reforms have strengthened Papua New Guinea both at home and abroad. ‘We live in an age of official apologies for historic crimes,’ writes the American scholar Peter Berger. Saying ‘sorry’—from Barack Obama’s apology for the Christian Crusades to Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations—has clearly become a useful tool for modern leaders attempting to symbolically pacify past tensions. In early 2014, although much less significant, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill also delivered an apology. O’Neill’s ‘sorry’, however, was not for historic crimes but to PNG’s neglected diplomatic service, which he said had […]

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Tony Abbott: Australia’s last good prime minister?

It’s often said that Australia needs to become a republic because of our lagging reputation in Asia. Many believe, for example, that our institutional attachment to the British Monarchy puzzles the masses and implies an old-world attachment that tugs on our standing in the region. Much less discussed, however, is how silly we must look changing leaders as often as our dirty clothes. Until recently the turbulence of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years was behind us. We weren’t suffering from closed-door union deals and the disruptive leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Abbott had stopped illegal boat arrivals to Australia, was fiercely […]

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Churchill 2.0: a man for all times

At first I groaned when, browsing the bookstore shelves, my eyes first caught Boris Johnson’s biography of Winston Churchill. Surely, I thought, the great man needs no more testaments. Millions of words written by Churchill himself, and prolific writers like Martin Gilbert and Roy Jenkins, have entombed his rightful and unmatched place in not just English speaking but global folklore. I also fear that many now see Churchill not as ‘The Last Lion’ – the title of William Manchester’s thick trilogy of biographies – but ‘the exhausted lion’, struggling for relevance in the restless modern Western democracy. Johnson’s mural of […]

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A modern lesson in ‘old school’ leadership: UK Prime Minister David Cameron

The British Prime Minister deserves more credit than electoral success Until the recent UK election it had become common, even among staunch conservatives, to write off the Tory leader David Cameron. The sum of accusations Cameron faced, from disfiguring conservative principles to peddling an overly cosmetic appearance, primed the Tories to predictable electoral defeat. No British party, the experts said, should fantasize of an outright majority. And certainly not the Conservatives. While many were surprised with Cameron’s win the applause has, understandably, shifted rapidly to pressing issues of Greek debt and offshore terror attacks against British nationals. But Cameron’s triumph, […]

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