About Pearls and Irritations

Pearls and Irritations is an Australian platform for the exchange of ideas from a progressive, liberal perspective, with an emphasis on peace and justice.

We publish informed analysis and commentary on issues that matter to Australians, with a focus on politics, public policy, foreign policy and world affairs, defence and security, the economy, media, the arts and religion.

Who we are

John Menadue is the publisher, founder and Editor in Chief of Pearls and Irritations. He was formerly Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ambassador to Japan, Secretary of Immigration and CEO of Qantas.

More about John Menadue here.

Aran Martin is the editor of Pearls and Irritations. He is an international relations expert with a focus on international security, conflict prevention and peacebuilding and intercultural dialogue. His diverse career includes more than a decade in editorial management of international, double-blind, peer reviewed academic journals.

More about Aran Martin here.

Our writers are some of Australia’s most experienced analysts, who bring a depth of experience as past Australian leaders, ambassadors, public servants and journalists. They are not paid for their contributions and their considered commentary is independent.

More on our authors here.

How Pearls and Irritations started

John Menadue started Pearls and Irritations as a blog in 2013 as a platform for good policy discussion, which was missing from the media.

He also wanted to highlight the importance of political action and help restore public confidence in the political system.

Finally, he saw a need to counter the obsession that the Australian media has with news coming out of the US and UK, to the neglect of coverage and interest in our own region.

How Pearls and Irritations is funded

Pearls and Irritations is funded only by reader donations.

You can help by contributing here. We greatly appreciate your support. Pearls and Irritations is free to read and does not accept advertising.

How to submit an article to Pearls and Irritations

Our preferred article length is 800 words.

To submit an article to Pearls and irritations, please go to the style guide page.  We prefer articles to be submitted as a word document.

Due to the large number of submissions we receive, we cannot always respond to unsuccessful submissions.

Articles will be edited by our team for style, clarity and accuracy.

If you have not contributed before, please provide a headshot of 250×250 pixels and a short (100 word) biography.

Ethics, Standards and Corrections

Pearls and Irritations editors, staff and contributors abide by the MEAA journalists’ code of ethics, which is available here.

Conflicts of Interest

Pearls and Irritations will avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest wherever and whenever possible.

Where our contributors have, or could be perceived to have, a conflict of interest, we will disclose this in their articles.

We do not accept advertising, sponsorships, payment or gifts – either honoraria or expenses – in return for article publication.


To alert us to a factual error or make a complaint, please use the contact us form.

Substantive changes made to an article after publication will be noted on the article page explaining the change.

Translations Disclaimer

For the convenience of non-english speaking audiences, Pearls and Irritations has enabled content on our website to be translated through a machine translation service. However, machine translation is not perfect. It should not be relied upon to create quotes or to reproduce Pearls and Irritations content. If any questions or discrepancies arise related to the accuracy of the translation, please refer to the English version.

Engaging with China

As a platform for the exchange of ideas from a progressive, liberal perspective, with an emphasis on peace and justice, Pearls and Irritations holds a specific editorial focus on promoting peaceful dialogue and engagement with China.

Pearls and Irritations therefore takes steps to encourage two-way dialogue between Australia and China through our work. We achieve this by:

  • Providing a platform for the Australian Chinese community to be heard in debates on China and the Australia-China relationship.
  • Publishing high quality analysis on China’s domestic and international affairs, including directly countering inaccurate or biased reporting on China in other outlets.
  • Engaging with a wider Australian audience to ensure government, civil society, business and the general public are better informed on issues relating to China and the Australia-China relationship.
  • Engaging with Chinese audiences in China and abroad, to increase awareness of the diversity of viewpoints on China within Australia, and the understanding of Australian politics by Chinese audiences.

Alongside our work with authors, we encourage Chinese audiences to access our English language content by offering machine translation services on our website and by encouraging more limited professional translations of our content through social media and partner outlets.

To submit an article, please visit our style guide.

For permission to translate and republish our content, please contact editor@johnmenadue.com.

Monthly contributions to Pearls and Irritations

Your monthly contribution will fund quality independent
comment and analysis in Pearls and Irritations

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