About John

[Note, this was written in 2013… I should update it, but nah, some other time.]

John is the President & Director of the Human Capital Project, an Adjunct Scholar at the Centre for Independent Studies, board member of the Circle Project and the Australian Taxpayers Alliance, postgraduate representative on the UQ Senate and the UQ Union, deputy secretary at the Economic Society of Australia (Qld), Director of the Australian Libertarian Society, and a PhD student at the University of Queensland. He is also a cricket-tragic, a recreational pilot, a traveler, a scuba divemaster, a bad chinese-speaker, a fire-dancer, a wannabe guitarist, a motorbike rider, a poker-play, and a couchsurfer.

He has a B.Econ (hon) from the University of Queensland and has worked as a public servant (Commonwealth Treasury), an economic consultant (Centre for International Economics), a university teacher (University of Queensland, Chea Sim University — Cambodia) and a researcher (Centre for Indpendent Studies).

John has written several books and research papers and his writing has been published in The Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, Economic Policy & Analysis, The Age, The Adelaide Advertiser, Quadrant, IPA Review, Policy Journal, The Korean Herald, Online Opinion, The Spectator (Australia), Binge Thinking, The Drum, and Business Spectator. He has been a speaker at Consilium (Sunshine Coast), the 4th International Conference on Climate Change (Chicago), was the youngest speaker at the inaugural Festival of Dangerous Ideas (Sydney), has taught trade theory in Jakarta and presented on farm subsidies in Washington DC. His main areas of experience include public policy analysis, modeling and forecasting, tax and welfare policy, community and civil society, political economy, labour markets, macro-economics, international trade, and climate change policy.

John grew up on the Sunshine Coast in a regular 2+2 nuclear family, and went to Caloundra Christian College before heading to Brisbane in 1996 to go to university. He has spent time living in Canberra and Sydney, as well as a few years traveling, visiting over 70 countries, mostly around Asia and Europe.

In 2007 John set up the Human Capital Project, which is a non-profit organisation that operates in Cambodia, providing alternative finance to poor students so that they can go to university. The project is funded by friends & family, and currently has ~50 students at two universities. This project also forms the basis for his PhD research.

As an undergraduate at university John became interested in liberal philosophy. The year after leaving university (2000), he launched the Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) as a central portal for information about libertarianism in Australia, and then in 2001 he founded a moderate-libertarian political party called the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He was President from 2001-2004 and Vice-President from 2005-2008. In 2010 John joined the Liberal National Party (LNP) and was endorsed as the candidate for Griffith to take on Kevin Rudd, but was dis-endorsed shortly before the federal election.

In 2011 John served as the postgraduate representative on the Assessment sub-committee of the UQ Academic Board, and was involved in forming the UQ Association of Postgraduate Students (APS), originally appointed as “acting Chair” and then elected as the inaugural Chair at the first AGM. He served one term and did not seek re-election. Later in 2011 John was elected as the postgrad representative to the UQ Union (along with Trent Macdonald) and the 2012-13 postgraduate representative to the UQ Senate.

John has played most sports at some stage — including rugby league, rugby union, soccer, cricket, swimming, golf, target shooting, and tennis. Though he’s not particularly good at any of them. He also plays (badly) the guitar and the didgaridoo. In 2007 John got his recreational pilots licence, in 2008 he became a professional scuba divemaster while in Dahab (Egypt), in 2009 he got his competent crew certificate for sailing, and in 2010 he did a short-course in Chinese while in Haikou (China). He is also a member of the Economic Society of Australia, Samuel Griffith Society, Shooters Union, HR Nicholls Society, the Red Cross, and the Mont Pelerin Society.

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