The Drum, Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Drum 3 Sept 2019

Host: Ellen Fanning
Panel: Parnell McGuinness, Peter Hartcher, Rabia Siddique, Adam Carrel
Guests: John Quiggin and Brian Toohey

The panel discusses a parliamentary inquiry set to examine the potential for nuclear power in Australia, foreign investors’ influence on Australian politics, governments and secrecy, and how old is too old to be a boss?

Full episode here – ABC’s The Drum, Tuesday 3 September 2019

The angry activists and their own goals

Original article published 3 September 2019 in the Australian Financial Review

No great public cause is truly lost until a tin-earned activist group has got behind it.

In the mind of the campaigner, the cause can never be unrighteous. The ambivalence of the majority is indifferent to the zeal of the individual activist, who can only see in black and white. This is the first and worst crime of cause marketing and activist campaigns, which pursue profile over impact and risk harming their causes.


School children at a climate change protest near the office of Tony Abbott in Manly. Kate Geraghty

The Exhausted Majority is the largest group defined in Hidden Tribes, a 2018 study of American political polarisation. It is the conflict-weary tribe that best lines up with Scott Morrison’s Silent Majority. They are “so frustrated with the bitter polarisation of our politics that many have checked out completely, ceding the floor to more strident voices”.

This is less important in Australian elections than in their US counterparts, as every eligible Australian is obliged to cast a vote. But for causes and crusaders, and indeed the businesses and brands that seek to leverage them, there has never been a more important time to understand cause fatigue.

Continue reading

Thunberg’s voyage against hypocrispy

Original article published 20 August 2019 in the Australian Financial Review

Greta’s choice to endure discomfort conveys a timely message: those who recommend renunciation must lead by example.

Bobbing somewhere in the middle of the tempestuous ocean, closest to Portugal but far from land, is a 16 year old girl.She looks young for her age, austere and fragile, determined yet vulnerable. Greta Thunberg, founder of the School Strikes for Climate and Fridays for Future is so well cast as the child-saint-martyr, that some have begun to suspect she is a highly produced act.

Continue reading