My mini biography
The Australian election is coming up on the 2nd of July 2016, and I’m standing as the Liberal Democrats candidate for the division of Brisbane, which is (unsurprisingly) in the middle of Brisbane.
Realistically, our goal is to get people elected to the Senate, and minor party candidates (such as myself) have very little chance of winning in the lower house… but we are able to raise issues, raise awareness, and help to pressure the major parties to pay attention to libertarian arguments. Most of my political commentary has been on my facebook page instead of this much-neglected website, but for those who are curious, below is a brief summary of my life…
For the last few years, I have been living part-time in Brisbane and part-time in Cambodia. My time in Brisbane has been spent finishing my PhD in economics, lecturing at The University of Queensland (UQ), volunteering as an Executive Director for the Economic Society of Australia – Queensland and Deputy Director of The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, and serving as the postgraduate representative to the UQ Senate, UQ Union, and inaugural Chair of the UQU Association of Postgraduate Students – APS.
My life in Cambodia revolves around the Human Capital Project, which is a non-profit that I started in 2007 to provide alternative funding so that poor students can attend university. Last year I also launched PRIME – Professional Research Institute for Management & Economics in Phnom Penh, providing economics research and education, and pushing for a Cambodia Australia Free Trade Agreement.
I have worked previously for the Australian Treasury, and as a consultant at the Centre for International Economics, where I did jobs for the World Bank, ASEAN, and many other clients. I have also worked as a researcher for The Centre for Independent Studies, and in addition to UQ I have lectured at Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear – SCUK (Prey Veng, Cambodia), Zaman University (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and UBIS University of Business and International Studies (campus in Dubai, UAE). My articles have been published in most major Australian newspapers and policy magazines, respected economic journals both in Australia and America, and I co-authored two books on international trade. In 2009 I was the youngest speaker at the inaugural Festival of Dangerous Ideas, and I have also spoken at events in Chicago, Washington DC, Hong Kong, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, and around Australia, covering topics such as education, tax policy, regulation, and civil society.
My political involvement goes back to 2000, when I founded the Australian Libertarian Society (ALS), and started bringing together Australia’s dispersed libertarian community. The ALS now hosts the Friedman Conference, which is the largest pro-liberty event in Asia, and held in Sydney every year. In 2001 I founded the Liberal Democrats while living in Canberra. I ran as the party leader in the 2001 ACT election and 2004 ACT election, and Queensland Senate candidate in the 2007 federal election.
Outside of economics and politics, I am also a professional scuba diver, recreational pilot, Couchsurfing ambassador, Justice of the Peace, fire-dancer, and avid traveller who has been to over 80 countries so far. I speak very poor Mandarin and Khmer, though not enough to have a proper conversation… was briefly a grunt in the Australian Army Reserve… have played soccer for a team that is now in the Cambodian top division… and I once did a cross-country run literally across the country of Liechtenstein.