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

Aussie winds, republican sales  

This Friday 6 November marks the 21st anniversary of the 1999 republic referendum. Two decades on, republican lobbyists are on the rebound, arguing that ‘it’s time’ and devising fresh attempts to ‘ditch the monarchy’. Since 1999, they claim, four million new voters on the electoral roll are not only budding republicans but eager to exchange an Australian president for an ‘out of touch’ Governor-General. Indeed, on face value, the currents may appear to be turning as republicans ‘gear up’ for another round. A different kind of evolution But what, really, has changed since 1999? Here are some brief observations. The centennial urgency of the […]

Continue reading

Part II Dead and alive: The greatest mentors I’ve never met

Last week I put together some books that have had a ‘mentoring’ effect on me. Here’s a very brief list of shorter pieces, and a podcast, that also contain elements of wisdom from which I’ve benefited. David Kemp’s A Leader and a Philosophy I came across this piece, published back in 1973, while doing some research for a writing project. At a time when many outside of formal party politics puzzle over the importance of ‘rallying the base’, and trimming this against electoral appeal, Kemp builds a coherent picture for a modern political leader, the need for a philosophy, and […]

Continue reading

Our reform moment?

Many Australians rightly look back on the Hawke-Keating-Howard-Costello era of the 1980s and 1990s as Australia’s golden era of reform. From the floating of the dollar to balanced budgets, and from low tariffs to wage bargaining, reform used to be the result of mixing good leadership with all-out necessity. Modern legacies But ‘reform’ in modern times has been a muddled journey, leaving many Australians increasingly dismayed at politics. Rudd, post-GFC, promised revolutions that only collapsed people’s trust in government. The Gillard government’s legacy, amid much internal Labor squabbling, has been reduced to a misogyny speech on the floor of federal […]

Continue reading

Dead and alive: The greatest mentors I’ve never met

One of the best things about reading – and reading widely – is that you can effectively be mentored by people you’ve never met. As I wrote in my book, I had a slow start out of high school. It took me multiple attempts to get into university and, from there, to build the right skills and experience to be able to get a decent job and be helpful in the workplace. Learning from books is the key lesson in all of this, and the journey to building knowledge, removing ignorance, steady improvement and appreciating failure. From a long list […]

Continue reading

Working hard for little? Here’s how to stay the course

I can recall entering ‘no man’s land’ – that grey zone, in the words of one self-help guru, where you “you’re not really happy about your life, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it.” It was right after running for political office and leaving every ounce of energy I had ‘on the field’. I remember rocking up to work, in the days following defeat, exhausted and struggling to keep up as the papers mounted, work challenges ensued and pressure grew. My buzz had largely gone. And I was now having to work hard with little energy and […]

Continue reading

What I learnt on my personal MBA

For some, taking on a certified MBA offers decent self-investment – the networks, the skills and the credentials do, on average, provide a boost to earning and career climb. For others, however, it can be hard, literally, to justify the cost – 12 years to break even, according to info from The Personal MBA author Josh Kaufman. I finally decided, after leaving Kaufman’s book on the shelf for almost a decade, that it was time to flick it open and get stuck in. Here are some of the main points I learned on my personal MBA. Customers As someone who […]

Continue reading

Different mentors at different times

“A raft is a good thing to have when you’re crossing a river,” notes American psychologist and author Meg Jay. “But when you get to the other side, put it down… Every problem was once a solution.” While not a perfect metaphor for mentoring, there’s something in this point about having the right help at the right time. My journey One of my first mentors – who matched with me as part of a formal mentoring programme at my then-place of work – offered great help when I was starting out in the commonwealth public service. He told me not to jump around from […]

Continue reading

Do the small things add up? Short advice on staying the course

If a Boeing jet takes off and flies across the US, even an inch off course, it’ll end up miles off where it’s meant to be. “If the nose of the plane is pointed only 1 percent off course,” notes Success Magazine’s Darren Hardy, “almost an invisible adjustment when the plane’s sitting on the tarmac in Los Angeles – it will ultimately end up about 15 miles off course.” It’s a neat metaphor on something minor, adding up to something big, over time. I had picked up Hardy’s The Compound Effect because, I suspect like many of us, I was […]

Continue reading

Republics are struggling. Yet Australia is still at risk of becoming one.

An Australian republic – in any form – offers no match for the stability, quality of life and economic opportunity that generations of Australians have experienced and now expect. Since 1901, we have been part of only a handful of nations – one in ten – that have been continuously democratic. Our Governors-General have sat above the noise of our Westminster politics – providing a sparing but powerful level of oversight and stability. In a century, reserve powers have only been used once by the Governor-General – in November 1975. Our institutional connection to the Commonwealth fosters good relations with […]

Continue reading

Republican lobbyists obsessed with power, not facts

The late former Governor-General Paul Hasluck, when reflecting on the 1975 dismissal of Gough Whitlam, said that the issue wasn’t one of power but whether the circumstances justified the decision. “The point at issue in the public controversy,” said Hasluck, “is not whether the Governor-General had the power but whether he was justified by the facts as he saw and interpreted them, and if he were justified by the facts whether he was wise to use the power.” The modern republican lobbyist has become obsessed with power, specifically the powers of an Australian President, and not with improving Australian democracy. […]

Continue reading