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Politics, People and Melbourne’s Cosmopolitan Charm

Picture of Nathan Cuthbertson

Nathan Cuthbertson

Research Analyst & 2021 Mannkal Scholar

They say that there is no rest for the wicked, however the virtuous must rest even less, as I discovered during my last half of my internship at the IPA. Following several new policy proposals by the Albanese government, I found myself thrust into researching the national debate. Following the proposed changes to the safeguard mechanism, changes to the referendum machinery bill, superannuation caps and more. There was more the enough work to keep me occupied. I was tasked with writing media releases, analysing cases, legislation and bills as well as geographically analysing the impact of net zero policies.  

A feature of this, was the Generation Liberty Academy. Held over 4 days, I was lectured in a great variety of content from some of our nation’s brightest thinkers. Topics discussed included free speech, character and resilience, nuclear energy, economic policy, Australia’s place in the Asia-Pacific and Western Civilisation. One highlight from this week was the Hon Tony Abbott AC, who gave a great speech about his experience with leadership and the future direction of our country.  

Through the course of my time in Melbourne, I was able to understand more about the city itself. From visiting a few of the sites around the city and learning about its history, I was able to appreciate the current culture more. It truly is a cosmopolitan city. Melbourne is a city that invites you, makes you feel welcome, but it doesn’t hold your hand. It instead throws you into the deep end of the extensive hospitality scene, the crowdedness of the streets during peak hour and the endless variety of entertainment options. Melbourne is a city hard to feel bored in. I was fortunate enough to enjoy this with my great roommate as well as the staff at the IPA. They made sure to treat us to some of their own favourites.  

Moreover, in comparison to quite Perth, there is certainly a large variety of events held by organisations in Melbourne. I was able to attend the Centre for Independent Studies’ After the Thaw night, in which a panel discussion on the future of the China-Australia relationship was discussed in depth and to a lesser extent the broader China-Western relationship. It was in the opinion of the panel that if the China and Taiwanese relationship broke down into a hostility, Australia would be far too dependent on the trade relationship with China to effectively boycott trade, instead we would continue our trade relationship. The ability for me to casually attend these such discussions made me feel a tinge of envy that my native Perth lacks much discussion like this.  

Looking back on my time at the IPA and in Melbourne I have learnt many new skills to take with me into my future endeavours. Spending the greater part of 2 months living away from home, in a city that I have no connections too tested myself. I had to learn to fend for myself, plan every last detail of my day, organise and take care of chores and groceries. Ultimately, I learned independence. That skill is in short supply of opportunities to grow it. Further, I learnt many new professional skills that I will be able utilise in the next stage of my life.


CIS Event in Melbourne.

For now, having returned a week ago, looking back on my time at the IPA, I was so fortunate to be in that office. To enjoy the chats over lunch, the arguments across the office about who the best Australian treasurer was, the coffee runs in the morning, where the barista thought my name was Nelson (I left it too long to correct), the office felt like a home away from home. I already miss the smiling faces around the office and the gentle clicking of my neighbours’ keyboard as they type away writing reports. I cannot find the words enough to describe my experience there. The research team cares deeply for this country, and they are fighting furiously to protect it. As aforementioned, there is no rest for the wicked, so neither should we. The IPA truly is one of our country’s foremost policy institutions and I think we would all be that much worse off without it.  

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