Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

CIS

Eloise Ambrose – Week Five

Eloise Ambrose, 22 February 2016

Last week began with a CIS event called ‘Think Drinks’ with Kristina Keneally as the guest speaker. Kristina is a former Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales.  She gave a very engaging speech about tips to succeed in life, the importance of first impressions and her experience in Parliament. The event was full of lots of young business people from various business backgrounds all over NSW, providing a great opportunity for networking and interesting discussions.

The following day, Sara and I headed into the city for a radio interview with ‘Counterpoint’ on ABC. Sara was discussing the Prime Ministers ‘Closing the Gap’ speech as well as her current research into Indigenous businesses and programs. The conversation touched on misleading statistics, how when averaged -rates such as education and life expectancy – are conveyed as lower than in reality. I find interviews such as these very beneficial to my internship experience as they provide real insight into key issues.

At the ABC studio

I also found time to do some writing last week. I wrote an ‘IDEAS’ piece for the CIS’s weekly newsletter titled ‘Close the accountability gap in Indigenous Affairs’. In this piece I discussed how government expenditure is being wasted on programs that aren’t researched properly as well as how accountability and private sector thinking would lead to more results and less waste.

A selfie of Sara and I just after her ABC interview #fistsofsuccess

On the weekend I spent some time exploring the Sydney Harbour and completed the cliff top costal walk from Coogee to Bondi. This week is my last week with CIS and I am very sad to be leaving.

Coogee to Bondi

Sunset views of the Harbour Bridge from North Sydney

Coogee Panorama

Eloise Ambrose – Week four

Eloise Ambrose, 15 February 2016

What a whirl the weeks have become, already up to week 4!

This week I worked on a submission to the Parliament of NSW Standing Committee on State Development. The focus of the submission was an ‘inquiry into economic development in Aboriginal communities’.  I wrote ‘Options for sustainability and capacity building of NSW Aboriginal communities into the future, utilising existing community networks and structures’, centering my piece on the importance of investing in human capital.  This piece will be submitted to Parliament this week with the hope that they take on board some CIS’s recommendations for Indigenous economic development.

Following this, I finished my book review for ‘Policy Magazine’ on Stan Grant’s ‘Talking to My Country’. I found his personal account to be quite confronting, but a great read overall. My review will be published at the end of February.

The weekend was spent discovering Bondi Beach and China town. Bondi has this breathtaking swimming pool called the Icebergs Club, which is nestled right in-between Bondi Beach and a few giant sized boulders. Icebergs sit right over the ocean, it looks amazing when the waves crash into the pool.

Bondi Icebergs

After a trip to Bondi with the weather picking up, I ventured into China town for the continuation of Chinese New Year celebrations. The inner city of Sydney has become flooded with beautiful Chinese lanterns, parades and decorations.

A giant pig and I at the Chinese New Year celebrations

I have been having such an enriching experience here in Sydney. I look forward to the next few weeks.

Chinese New Year has taken over Sydney!

Eloise Ambrose – Week Three

Eloise Ambrose, 8 February 2016

This week I continued my work at CIS delving into the ways in which funding is allocated and used for Indigenous programs. A meeting in central Sydney followed this up with Warren Mundine, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council. Along with Sara, we discussed the lack of clarity in these programs and whether the spending is actually leading to significant outcomes and development for Indigenous people.  A more free market approach to Indigenous programs and businesses was discussed, probing into how this could eventuate in the near future. Warren elaborated on how too much interference by the government is in fact preventing the growth of Indigenous businesses in that Aboriginal businesses, like all businesses, will either sink or swim in the long run. Constant propping up, he noted, will not lead to real change. The topical release of the Close the Gap Statement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball on Wednesday the 10th of February is sure to be quite controversial.

Meeting with Warren Mundine, Chairman of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council

After this, Sara and I went to meet up with Sonya Pearce at the University of Technology Business School. Sonya has recently completed a PHD that examines Indigenous women venturing into entrepreneurship and the secrets of their success.  This meeting was structured around Sara’s project on Indigenous businesses and why they are vital for raising Indigenous standards of living. We discussed topics such as how do we increase grass roots innovation and what do Indigenous people need to do when they have no capital or access to markets? Conversing with a range of powerful and thought provoking Indigenous people has granted considerable insight into different avenues of Indigenous affairs.

On the weekend I drove up to the Blue Mountains with some friends. We visited the Jenolan Caves, the Blue Lake, Wentworth Falls and The Three Sisters. The drive was incredible and the views were breath taking.

The Blue Lake at the Jenolan Caves

The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

Eloise Ambrose – Week two

Eloise Ambrose, 1 February 2016

This week began with Australia Day on the Tuesday. Working in the Indigenous department at CIS, Australia Day remains to be a contentious topic.  To some Indigenous people, Australia Day is seen as the dispossession of Indigenous land and a day of mourning over the First Fleet’s arrival in Sydney in 1788. However, to other Indigenous people such as Jacinta Price, we need to stop emphasising our differences, and instead focus on what we have in common as Australians.  Ms Price is an Indigenous activist who recently wrote a Facebook post, which went viral, stating that we should all unite together on Australia Day. I think a message such as this coming from a powerful Indigenous person encourages us, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to come together on Australia and celebrate all that we do have.

Coogee Beach on Australia Day

Another focus of my program is Indigenous businesses. On Wednesday, Sara and I met with Suzanne Grech, the Indigenous Business Manager for West Pac, to discuss the outcomes of Indigenous businesses. Historically, there has been much debate over the fallacy of government funding for infant industries, an assumption being that initial fiscal support will help a firm enter into the market. Thus, once the firm has entered the market, government assistance can come to an end. However, basic economics tells us that government funding which allows a business to break into a well-established market is futile given that in the long run the firm will (generally speaking) not be able to break even without continuous monetary support. As such, we discussed the self-sustainability of Indigenous businesses, as well as how and why firms succeed and fail.

In my free time I visited the Jewish Museum and continued exploring Sydney. I look forward to more interesting and controversial conversations at CIS next week.

Jewish newspapers for over a hundred years

Peter Kurti and I having a chat. Peter is a research fellow for Religion and Civil Society at CIS, he has previously spoken at a Mannkal event in Perth and sends warm wishes.

Eloise Ambrose – Week One

Eloise Ambrose, 25 January 2016

This week began the start of my internship with the Centre for Independent (CIS) Studies in Sydney.  The CIS is a non-partisan, free market think tank that strives to support individual liberty and free enterprise.

Wonderful views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night

I arrived at the Centre on Monday and met with Greg Lindsay, the Executive Director and Founder of CIS, as well as the General Manager, Jenny Lindsay. After having a tour around the office, I met with Sara Hudson. Sara is the Manager of the Indigenous Research Program run by the Centre, with her current work focusing on Indigenous businesses. This also encompasses an evaluation of funding allocations for Indigenous programs. Her outcome will determine and explain how changes in spending can create more sustainable long term benefits for Indigenous people.

Sara Hudson and I reading the latest edition of 'Policy'

Currently I have begun to analyse 2400 programs run by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments as well as Non Government Organisations (NGOs).  I have looked into how the programs are run, as well as how they are funded, who the beneficiaries are and recorded evaluations of the programs. Once this work is complete, I will be completing social cost-benefit analysis on chosen programs to assist Sara in the evaluation stage of her research project.

Quarterly, the Centre releases their magazine ‘POLICY’. I’ve been asked to write a book review on Stan Grant’s new book ‘Talking To My Country’. The book won’t be released until the end of February, however Harper Collins so kindly sent me an advanced copy.  Grant’s book looks very interesting, and I am excited to see how he manages a difficult discussion on race, culture and national identity.

Sunday night I went along with Trish Jha, a research scholar from the Centre, to the Sky News studio as she was a guest on Viewpoint. Trisha, along with Nick Cater from the Menzies Research Centre, discussed Tony Abbot’s decision to recontest again for the federal seat of Warringah at the next election. This was followed by an interesting examination of the tax debate.

Inside the Sky News studio

This week I look forward to exploring Sydney on Australia day, finishing Stan Grant’s book and delving deeper into my research work at the Centre.

Week 4 Blog – Tom Camp

Mannkal, 29 July 2014

As my final week at the CIS draws to a close I am able to reflect on time well spent. I have met a group of inspiring and intelligent people who are achieving great things for themselves and the Centre for Independent Studies. Similarly I have been exposed to a highly professional think tank and been able to engage first hand in how such an organisation works. I have also been able to write a large amount of a research paper looking at the defence of the Australian fiscal stimulus and been able to draw on the expertise of some highly experienced economists in the process.

Beyond that, I have been able to experience living and working in a major city for a month and the trials and joys that come with that experience. I have managed to scoot down the coast to both the snowy village of Thredbo and the home of AFL in Melbourne, not nearly as pleasant sounding when contemplated from across the country in Perth. I have also realised that despite my initial fears, I can survive in another city away from friends and family.

It has been an experience that will change how I view the world in many ways and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me by both Mannkal and the CIS who have been more than helpful throughout the process. Being exposed to something that I simply would not be able to experience in Perth has been invaluable for my education and development and I encourage anyone who is interested to apply.

Week 3 Blog – Tom Camp

Mannkal, 16 July 2014

At the end of my 3rd week I am beginning to feel a lot more comfortable at the CIS, the people have always been helpful and lovely, but it still takes around that long for me to properly settle in. What strikes me about the Centre is that it is full of unique individuals who – although united by a common ideology   - are very different. It is an interesting office in that sense, where the focus is very much on the self, and not so much on the ideas of the office common. In a world where too often everything is compartmentalised and broken into teams, it is a refreshing way to conduct business.

This week saw the release of a major paper and I was amazed at just how much coverage it received on the media. The economist was on all the capital cities radio stations, several TV stations, and countless newspaper articles. It is really interesting to see how much coverage a report can get if it is timed well.

I have also produced a draft of my paper on the GFC and submitted it to the economist supervising my work at the Centre. I am happy that it only took me 3 weeks to get down 8000 fairly decent words, especially with the amount of tangential study I was undertaking, but I know there will be a lot more work to do when I return.

I was lucky enough to have been given Friday and Monday off so I could visit the ski fields in NSW, and my Father and Sister joined me at Thredbo which has been a brilliant opportunity. Whereas 8 hours of driving in WA will get you to Ningaloo or Esperance, it is nice to see some snow at the end of our bus trip.

Week 2 Blog – Tom Camp

Mannkal, 16 July 2014

This week was the final week before the first report by an economist at the CIS was released to the public, and it meant that he was being run through his paces to prepare for the potential for media engagements. I recently underwent a high intensity unit in preparation for an international advocacy competition with my university, and it struck me that a lot of what I had learnt was transferable to what was being taught to my CIS colleague. Speaking skills obviously need to be adjusted to the setting and audience, but what never changes is the need for confidence, repeated practice and the right amount of deference to your questioner.

I have been spending the majority of my time researching the fiscal stimulus of the Australian government in the aftermath of the GFC for a research paper I am writing. I have found myself given a large amount of self-autonomy on the project which has been a positive. It has allowed me to widely research the topic and focus on different areas that I am interested in. Although I must whittle it all down to be in line with what my supervisor at the CIS has suggested I look into, I know that the broader the grasp of the subject matter I can gain, the better my paper will be.

I’ve also been lucky enough to explore Sydney a fair amount, and catch up with my Sister and some of my friends who have expatriated themselves from Perth. I have also made some new friends as well, although their concept of what constitutes football is sadly foreign to we of the AFL states. I’m incredibly thankful to Mannkal for giving me this opportunity and I am doing my utmost to get everything from it I can.

Week 1 Blog – Tom Camp

Mannkal, 16 July 2014

My first week with the Centre for Independent studies has been an incredibly interesting experience. Coming into it, I didn’t really comprehend how think tanks worked, so it has been something of a crash course. I have been placed in the research department where I have been able to witness the finalisation of two reports, one relating to religious freedom, and another relating to parental leave. The first author is an experienced head who has done this many times, whereas the second in publishing his first report. This has given me an appreciation of the controlled buzz that surround such publications relating to media releases and publicising a report in order to help it influence the national debate around an issue and what a difference in experience would mean.

I have also been asked to help to do some rudimentary analysis of ABS data. Although it required me to call on some knowledge from an Econometrics unit I had long since sent to the back of my brains archives, it was a timely reminder of just how important analysis is in the study of economics. More importantly, it emphasised just how useful it can be and is a good reminder of the practicality of a lot of what we learn at university.

Coming into the internship I was also told that I would be able to research a university paper that I am writing about the Australian fiscal stimulus package. This has allowed me to discuss my paper with an economist who already has written about the stimulus and who is an invaluable resource to draw from in my research on the issue. This internship certainly promises to be an excellent opportunity and great learning experience.

CIS

admin, 6 July 2014