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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Episode 36 – Fundamental Truths on the Present (Part 1)

What endures? Clearly things that have been around for a while will tend to go on persisting, from Broadway musicals to timeless virtues. Economist Will Witheridge and I talk about how important principles are, why they appeal and why they’re making a comeback, from author Ryan Holiday’s commitment to stoicism to Jordan Peterson’s philosophy of self-help. This show is split in two so please tune in next week for Part II. Show highlights The universalism of Catcher in the Rye – losing innocence and maturing in the world Good packaging (i.e. good writing or a creative format) helps to make […]

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A Liberal Party in the 21st Century

LEARNING FROM VICTORY A Liberal Party in the 21st Century Principles, politics and the big issues of our time   “Unless we have ideas to offer we cannot develop a real sense of conviction, a real instinct of political faith, and this election will be just one more election on top of those which have gone. Just one more election will never do.”  Robert Menzies, Founder of the Australian Liberal Party, 1894-1978     The battle for ideas A sensible political party should be as contemplative in victory as in defeat. The 2019 expectation-defying coalition victory offers optimism for a party that […]

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Improving your performance under pressure

Ceri Evans, Perform Under Pressure, HarperCollins, Auckland, 2019   With the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup underway all eyes are, as expected, on the New Zealand All Blacks – winner of the previous two tournaments and, according to some, the most successful sporting team of all time.  It’s with these expectations that I turned to their team shrink – Dr Ceri Evans – for some thoughts and perspective on performance and self-improvement. Evans, a psychiatrist and former New Zealand soccer captain, has just released Perform Under Pressure, which draws on his guidance to teams and individuals across a range of disciplines.  The first point that emerges is what is meant by ‘performance’ – an accessible activity not […]

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Episode 35 – Index Funds, JFK and Hitch

On this episode we take things around the world, covering everything from Brexit and the late Christopher Hitchens to index funds and the common sense of JFK. Sorry it’s been a while in between drinks. Show highlights Finding time to read while being a good (new) Dad How fees dominate the financial advice industry (managing your own super deprives the financial advice sector of an estimated $14 to $20 billion annually in fees) Thinking differently about banks – how their true customers are the people that lend to them, not so much mortgage holders Remembering Christopher Hitchens – a consistent […]

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Celebrating Australia’s National Flag

This article also appears on the Spectator’s Flat White blog. Each year, Australia’s National Flag Day is celebrated on 3 September. The date commemorates when the Flag was first flown in 1901 at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne – Australia’s then de facto capital. At the time Edmund Barton was Australia’s Prime Minister. We’ve had 29 leaders since Barton, and our population has grown from 3 to 24.6 million, which is testament to successfully assimilating and integrating generations of new migrants from all corners. We’ve established a new capital city in Canberra. And many Australians have sacrificed so much in […]

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A stock-take on modern times: Whitlam, expectations, trust and Kevin07

This was my submission to the Spectator’s 2018 Thawley Essay Prize. The theme was ‘the next great hashtag’. I wasn’t successful this time but, perhaps like most, I feel an element of trust needs to be restored to government. Restoring prestige to government For all the discussion about distrust in government, or how polarised politics is becoming, it’s worth noting that Australian politics has never been an easy game. Governing is, regardless of the team you’re on, naturally difficult in our modern Westminster system – a realising experience the more one is exposed to government process, a sea of existing […]

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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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