I am a fifth generation Tasmanian, but fled my home state as soon as I graduated from university. I started my academic career in England and have held academic posts in Australia, Canada and Hong Kong. Like the autumn leaf in the Chinese proverb, I too fell to my roots: in Tasmania, where I live with my wife, Catherine Tang. I wanted to take up writing full time – non-academic this time – but I had some unfinished academic business to do with my model for teaching, constructive alignment. Catherine had been a staff developer in Hong Kong in two tertiary institutions, so we teamed up as consultants on university teaching and as co-authors on the book Teaching for Quality Learning at University. We are increasingly turning to non-academic work: she with several genres of craftwork, me with writing, both fiction and nonfiction. I have written 5 novels, a collection of short stories, a socio-political history of Tasmania, and my academic memoirs, not to mention essays .
I am increasingly concerned with the impact neoliberalism is having on our society and on the environment. Society needs a political system that is based on three concerns: economics, social needs and a sustainable environment. Neoliberalism focuses almost exclusively on one: economic growth, which not only ignores the other two but degrades them. Rampant individualism boils down to greed, cutting corners to make more money in the immediate term is seen as more important than social need and public service, an economy based on continuing annual growth using non-renewable resources, particularly fossil fuels. It’s not only ignoring the law of conservation of matter, it’s destroying the environment and creating the grounds for catastrophic climate change. And we have just elected a government that is dedicated to more ever more of the same.