Why did the State of New South Wales have such a mediocrity inflicted upon it as premier after Mike Baird’s exit from politics in January 2017?
Why did Australia get such an ersatz conservative as prime minister in 2018 after the disastrous premiership and ignominious exit of Malcolm Turnbull? He who heads a “cabal of chancers and second raters”, as one political pundit has termed the Morrison Government.
Paul Collits has worked in regional economic development for 25 years, in universities, State parliament, local and State government and in consulting, in Australia and New Zealand. He is currently an economic development advisor with Napier City NZ and has been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
Prior to this he was an Economic Development Advisor with Gosford City Council and Associate Professor and Director of Research for the Economic Development and Enterprise Collaboration at the University of Southern Queensland’s Fraser Coast campus. This was a partnership among a number of regional stakeholders and the University developed to undertake leading edge research in regional economics, policy and strategy. Before joining USQ (in March 2011), he was a Senior Research Fellow in Regional Development at RMIT University’s Hamilton (Victoria) campus, having joined RMIT in 2007. For most of the previous 12 years he was a regional policy adviser to the New South Wales Government, working mostly in the Department of State and Regional Development. He completed BA (Hons) and MA degrees in political science at ANU in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Following a brief academic career in the 1980s, he worked in politics, government and industry till the early 1990s. In 2002 he completed a PhD at the University of New England in geography and planning. His thesis examined regional policy change in Australia since the 1960s and the decline of decentralisation as a policy objective. Paul has presented and written extensively on such topics as the role of government in regional development, small town decline and survival, community economic development, regional governance, economic development practice, the creative class and rural youth out-migration. Paul has also been involved extensively in university teaching, having taught courses for eight years on economic development and spatial policy in the planning program at the University of New South Wales. He was an adjunct Senior Lecturer there from 1999 to 2003. He contributed a chapter on regional planning in the Planning Australia text book edited by Susan Thompson (Cambridge University Press), which won an excellence award from the Planning Institute of Australia for planning scholarship, research or teaching. He has ongoing research interests related to the effectiveness of local economic development efforts, the drivers of regional economic performance, the connections between theory, policy and practice in regional development, rural out-migration, people attraction strategies and innovation and networks. He has a particular interest in international approaches to regional development and has developed an international collaborative research and community learning project examining rural community decline and survival in “heartland” regions in Australia and the United States. At RMIT he developed graduate programs for Economic Development Australia and other economic development professionals, and developed the curriculum for the Department of Agriculture funded “Next Gen” Young Rural Leaders’ program in the Southern Grampians region. At RMIT he also managed and contributed to the delivery of a broad range of research consultancy projects, with recent clients including Southern Grampians Shire, the Victorian Parliamentary Rural and Regional Committee, and Regional Development Victoria. Paul is a Past President of the Australian and New Zealand section of the Regional Science Association International. He is a co-editor of the Australasian Journal of Regional Studies and editor of Connor Court Quarterly. He has contributed regularly to Online Opinion, was a columnist for the Fraser Coast Chronicle from 2012 to 2013, and writes for magazines including Quadrant and Policy. He has broader interests in history, Australian and American politics and conservative and libertarian philosophy. Most recently, he was co-editor with Tim Wilson and Carlo Carli of Turning Left or Right: Values in Modern Politics (Connor Court Publishing 2013).