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My Internship Adventure: Exploring Melbourne’s Culture and Politics with IPA

Picture of Charles Huggins

Charles Huggins

2022 Mannkal Alumnus

It was with excitement and apprehension that I flew off to Melbourne. Despite having visited overseas and interstate, I had never lived anywhere else other than sunny Perth. The flight was smooth, and the sky bus provided an easy way to get into central Melbourne. My first impressions of Melbourne were this was a big metropolis buzzing with activity and culture. I was amazed at all the interesting architecture and stunning skyscrapers. I was pleasantly surprised by the apartment – it was situated in a quiet suburban street but still a stone’s throw away from the bustling activity in nearby Richmond.  

An unexpected late start to our internship gave us some time to explore Melbourne which allowed us to see the big-ticket items such as Flinders Street Station, Fed Square and Flinders Lane. While they were very interesting, I was most looking forward to seeing the amazing sporting facilities most notably the “Colosseum of sport”, the MCG. The MCG was spectacular being able to go to a stadium with so much history and seeing where most of Australia’s sporting highlights happened was truly remarkable.  

On Wednesday we started our 7-week internship with the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). I was very excited to be interning at the IPA. Being active in the Australian political scene over the last three years I became very aware of their work and was keen to get involved. I immediately felt a strong camaraderie amongst the workforce – they were all very professional and set on achieving outcomes. I was very pleased to have been assigned to the research arm of the IPA where I would be assisting research fellows in producing reports. In this role I have researched a wide range of topics from looking into different government departments as well as researching the New Zealand legal system. It was interesting seeing how dynamic the research team is in responding to news headlines and getting media releases and reports done quickly and efficiently. The open plan layout of the research office I have enjoyed as it allows free dialogue between different members of the staff and stimulates lots of ideas and productive discussions. 

Me in the IPA office

The IPA has a strong social culture. The break room is where most of the research team would gather for lunch and have interesting discussions ranging across many topics. There would also be the daily ‘shark quiz’ in the AGE newspaper which was always a highlight. Friday afternoons there is a social club which is in the board room and has been a great way to meet other people in the office and socialise in a casual setting.  

It has also been great to be able to catch up with some of the amazing Mannkal staff while we have been in Melbourne. Kate met up with us for coffee and being a proud Melbourne local gave us some interesting insights as well ideas on some cool things to do. It was also great to meet up with Nicola at Melbourne Libertarian drinks at the famous Fed Square which was very enjoyable.  

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Melbourne and the IPA and am looking forward to my final couple of weeks.  

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