His political interest started at a young age, it informs his current career and most recently has seen him pen a disruptive book examining the state of Australian political affairs entitled Australian Revolution or “REVO.”
Over the past decade Smith has enjoyed a mixed political career. His role has encompassed public policy advocacy, lobbying, advising politicians, and positions as a corporate and government affairs executive for large and small public companies alike.
His most recent adventure, at the disruptive expert network Statesman Institute where, enabled the opportunity to influence public policy while supporting an ethos where government and industry work better together. The initiative saw him travel across Australia and as far as Peru in South America to attend APEC.
Ultimately, combined with his personal experience, this career offers Smith a unique perspective of politics in Australia.
When only 11, Smith witnessed first-hand the effects of racism spurred on by Pauline Hanson’s Asian Invasion parliamentary speech in 1996 and her anti-Asian rhetoric.
“One of my first political memories was Pauline Hanson’s accidental election,” he notes. “My mother is a beautiful lady, born in the Philippines.”
Mark recalls his mother brought to tears by strangers telling her to “go back to her own country” despite her being an Australian citizen, resident and taxpayer since 1980.”
He grew up in Adelaide in a setting vastly different to the Anglo-Saxon nuclear families of his friends, living with extended family awaiting immigration in the backyard carport turned granny flat.
Mark felt the cultural differences keenly.
“I am embarrassed to admit that I asked my grandfather to wait a block away from school to meet me at the end of the day, preferably around the corner out of sight. I felt awful.”
Mark’s family also had a keen interest in aboriginal affairs, with a family connection to Father Percy Smith and the establishment if St John’s Hostel in Alice Springs and St Francis House in Adelaide as a home for inland children.
“Prominent and successful Aboriginal people, sporting stars, community leaders and social activists, were often visiting our house to meet with my other grandmother on my father’s side,” Mark explains.
These experiences shape Mark’s view of modern Australian politics which he believes lacks diversity and strong leadership. He actively calls and works for political change, noting Australia has the potential to be a confident, united and diverse nation, not one governed by fear.
Mark J Smith is available to comment on:
- Australian politics
- The political landscape
- Changing a “broken system”
- Cultural diversity in Australia
- The immigrant experience
Mobile: 0414 531 007