Built to last in the internet age

Peter Kirstein – the man who helped Queen Elizabeth hit ‘send’ on her first email in 1976 – has died. His passing, the result of a brain tumour, symbolises not only a life of great leaps forward but also great change. In 1953, when Elizabeth took the throne at just 25, world figures included Churchill, Stalin and Eisenhower. Now it is Bojo, Putin and Trump. In 1949, just eight nations created the Commonwealth. Today membership comprises 53 states and 2.4 billion people. Summarising these sweeping changes, and how our attitudes have changed, the Archbishop of York John Sentamu neatly observes: […]

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Episode 39 – Underrated versus overrated?

On this episode Jordan, Will and I question each other on whether certain things – people, places, books or anything else – are underrated or overrated. The concept is adapted from Conversations With Tyler and, while slightly different, offers an entertaining listen, covering everything from the artist Deadmau5 to Thomas Piketty’s Capital. Please be sure to review! Show highlights Will gets asked about central banks, OECD, climate change, Thomas Piketty’s Capital, LBJ, JFK and New York pizza. Jordan is asked whether real estate, Geelong vs Melbourne, fracking, the barefoot investor, Netflix, Deadmau5, the National Party, and the Founding Fathers are […]

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What would Churchill tell us millennials? 

The end of the month marks 55 years since Winston Churchill’s death. With an estimated 10,000 books on the great man, one clearly needs to be careful in adding yet more layers of legend or biography. But this reservoir is too good not to tap, especially for young people that can learn practical lessons from someone who, at twenty-six, “had done enough to fill several lives”.[1] Far from existing only for his time “at the very gates of destiny”, in the eulogising words of Robert Menzies, millennials can draw from Churchill in everyday terms – from persisting in the face […]

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11 inclusive reasons to celebrate Australia Day

As another Australia Day approaches, it’s worth touching on the things to be thankful for, and worth celebrating, since Australia’s very humbled beginnings. Far from a time of historical lament, I’ve always seen the late 1700s and the pre-federation era as the growing foundations for a continuously democratic, tolerant and prosperous nation. While self-criticism has its place, Australia’s story of growth is something I feel that all Australians can overwhelmingly be proud of, regardless of complexion or heritage. Here are my 11 reasons to celebrate, and be thankful, on Australia Day. 1. Standard of living Today we tend to speak […]

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Eventful, but not unexpected: a royal life in modern times 

This piece is also published on The Spectator’s Flat White blog Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement to step back as “senior royals” has predictably drawn fierce speculation – former palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter has called it “unprecedented” and a “breakdown in the royal family”, while another source notes the Queen is supposedly “upset” and “incandescent with rage.” While speculation brews, however, it’s hard to deny the past 12 months haven’t been a more than eventful at the intersection of royal life and relentless media pressure – Westminster log jam around Brexit, Prince Andrew, Phillip’s car crash and, of […]

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Interview with ABC’s Kelly Higgins-Devine

My take on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to take a step back as ‘senior royals’. The Queen says it’ll “take time to work through” and I couldn’t agree more. Did I get it right? Have a listen and let me know your thoughts.   Want to know more about the monarchy vs republic debate? Here’s a recent post I wrote, which I hope provides some much needed context to this important discussion. Image source: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

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Australian republicans have misread Brexit

A recent opinion piece by Glen Norris (‘Brexit likely to revive republican movement’) underlines how elastic republican claims are becoming. According to Norris, Brexit will now trigger Scottish independence and the unification between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  But closer to home Brexit has supposedly re-animated the republican cause – Britain is “a shadow of its former self”, he notes, while Australia’s future is exclusively in Asia and we are not truly independent until we un-tether ourselves from a shaky and unstable Crown. “Britain’s Brexit debacle has put an end to the only good argument Australian monarchists used […]

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Why all the populism? A fair take on the political currents of 2019

I was slightly stumped when recently asked by a close friend, who’s definitely not a conservative, why so many centre-right governments were winning elections across the Western world. Trump, Boris, ScoMo and even Trudeau’s razor-thin Canadian victory reveal that centre-left politics is, to say the least, failing to connect at the ballot box. But surely, I thought, the reasons for this are obvious? Progressive politics, once the domain of the working class, is losing badly because of a commitment to identity politics, stifling correctness and a detachment from bread and butter issues like jobs, sound borders and economic growth. ‘Get […]

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Episode 38 – Year in review and thoughts for 2020

Wrapping up 2019 and looking ahead to next year, I recorded this episode from Brisbane’s Happy Boy Restaurant. Amid ambient café noise, we touch on what it takes to be a genius, socialism versus capitalism, the ascendance of China, man’s search for meaning, LBJ and, of course, our big reads in 2019 and thoughts for 2020. Show highlights Building specialisation – the Federer approach (try lots of things first) versus the Woods approach (specialise early) Temperament and grit are more important than IQ – Buffett has outperformed Singleton, despite not being as ‘smart’ Our summer reading lists Michael Crichton’s journey […]

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Episode 37 – Fundamental Truths on the Present (Part 2)

In part two Will and I, continuing our ‘enduring’ theme, allude to John Howard – the seminal political figure in Australian politics of the last 20 years – and his capacity to provide stability with change. And, at least by the temporary standards of modern prime ministers, deliver a solid dose of political endurance. We also talk about Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams’ advice on when to give in or keep ‘enduring’, and discuss how generalists can triumph in an age of specialisation. Show highlights John Howard – a social conservative and economic liberal Our favourite and standout bits from Howard’s […]

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