My time as CIS Scholar in Residence is ending. I return to the status of mere mortal, but with some remarkable memories of the CIS team in action and of the unique Aussie mix of hospitality, humility, good cheer, and moral seriousness.
A few things stand out in my memory. The morning ‘news whip’ in which the staff unpick the key policy developments and news of the day – sent in an email round-up by 7.30am – discussing the issues, the potential answers, and what CIS research could benefit the public and media conversation. The best part is that it’s all done while standing, which obviously discourages time-wasting and tedious pontification. Of those vices there was none.
I also had a great chance to learn more about Australia’s parliamentary processes, the budget, the legal system, Australian federalism, and the country’s intricate, impenetrable, perplexing labour laws, which seem deliberately designed to make it harder for people to find work.
I shall also not forget the humbling experience of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Martin Place. No chest thumping. No celebration of war. But dignity and respectful memory. It was, I believe, a reflection of the Australian character.
On a personal level, it was great to share space and time with a team of dedicated, intelligent, and (almost always) sober liberty friends who care about what they do. Having a chance to meet a few of the Aussie entrepreneurs who have created so much shared prosperity in this country was inspiring. And participating in and speaking before CIS programs for smart and engaged younger people in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne gave me great hope for the future of liberty in Australia and even in the other, non-Australian, bits of the world.
Thank you, CIS. Now I’m off to the Emergency Economic Summit for Greece! (See what we’re doing at www.EESG.gr)