Commendations of supporters of Pearls & Irritations

  1. Ken Henry

Pearls & Irritations should be a priority resource for anyone with an interest in public affairs who would prefer to hear the voice of experience.  On any day, the reader will find something really thought-provoking and insightful that contributes to an understanding of why things are as they are and what needs to change.

Ken Henry was former Secretary of Treasury.


  1. Ian Dunlop

The mainstream media has become extremely focused on short-term politics which emasculates debate around fundamental aspects of critical issues such as climate change and energy policy. Pearls & Irritations has, for many years, been a rare antidote to this concerning decline in mainstream journalistic quality by allowing flexible and in-depth commentary on key issues facing the country.  It is needed today more than ever.

Ian Dunlop, former Chair, Australian Coal Association and CEO Australian Institute of Company Directors.  Member of the Club of Rome.


  1. Michael Keating

Pearls & Irritations is the best blog I know to find articles that keep me up to date with the findings of policy-relevant research and expert independent evidence-based assessment and comment on a wide variety of critical policy issues.

Michael Keating was formerly Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Finance.


  1. Stephen FitzGerald

Pearls and Irritations provides quite the best daily analysis of issues in world affairs and Australia’s foreign relations of any media in Australia – traditional or online. I find it valuable because its contributors bring a depth of knowledge and experience of their subject from decades of working directly on these issues in expert and professional capacities, in government, academia and the media. And because it covers issues and evidence-based perspectives that often go untouched by the general media. I recommend it regularly to friends and colleagues in other countries as the best-informed and intelligent commentary on Australia in world affairs this country has to offer.

Stephen FitzGerald was a former Australian Ambassador to China.


  1. Bob Debus

Pearls & Irritations is unique. Its contributors and readers are a growing community of people with an exceptionally wide-ranging and open-minded commitment to effective, progressive and rational public policy.  Most contributors have been actively engaged professionally in the fields about which they write and do so in consequence with conviction and practical understanding. Their minds are open at the front but not at the back, and their trenchant opinions are of immediate relevance in contemporary Australian society.

Bob Debus was Attorney General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Emergency Services in the Carr government in NSW.


  1. Bob Carr

Pearls & Irritations is unique, indispensable, provocative and refreshing. It really does make a difference. That is because of the people who read it and their influence on ideas. It needs support at a critical time and when Australia needs to hear its tone of voice in our conversations more than ever.

Bob Car was former NSW Premier and Commonwealth Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.


  1. Stephen Duckett

I am both a daily reader of, and a contributor to John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations. As a reader, Pearls & Irritations provides me with informed commentary on contemporary policy issues, written for a non-specialist across a range of fields including the environment, religious affairs and the economy.  As a contributor, Pearls & Irritations is valuable because it provides an independent platform which allows policy analysts and commentators to reach a wide, informed audience of policy influencers and decision-makers.

Stephen Duckett is Director, Health Programs, Grattan Institute.  He was formerly Secretary of the Department of Human Services and Health.


  1. Susan Ryan

Anyone who wants to keep up with policy developments, both failures and successes, cannot rely on mainstream media.  Pearls & Irritations publishes daily a uniquely wide-range of contributions from some of Australia’s most distinguished policy experts.  Independent, informed, relevant, P & I, edited by John Menadue, makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Australia.

Susan Ryan served in the Hawke Cabinet as Minister for Education, and was Age Discrimination Commissioner 2011-2016.


  1. David Williamson

For years now, Kristin and I have been the grateful recipients of John and Susie Menadue’s daily online bulletin of informed and expert opinion, Pearls & Irritations.  In a media dominated increasingly by one strident ideological viewpoint, that of neo-liberalism, it’s not just refreshing but vital for the functions of a real democracy that alternative visions of the future are articulated by some of Australia’s keenest minds.  Long may P & I continue to add its perceptive voice to our national debate.

David Williamson is Australia’s pre-eminent playwright.


  1. Quentin Dempster

Pearls & Irritations has become an exploratory platform for thinkers and analysts out to both share their insights and knowledge and test themselves against an informed peer group.  In that way, John Menadue’s website adds real value across all aspects of Australia’s governance and policy development.  It has become an antidote to mainstream media’s propensity for populism, prejudice and exploitable ignorance.

Quentin Dempster is a former senior journalist from the ABC and former Chairman of the Walkley Foundation.  He is a contributing editor at the New Daily.


  1. Geoff Raby

Pearls & Irritations has become indispensable reading for those with a serious interest in public policy and commentary. In a time of ‘fake news’ and an Australian media dominated by a narrow range of views, P & I publishes critical, incisive and well-informed opinions, and is without peer in Australian media.

Geoff Raby was formerly Australian Ambassador to China and a senior diplomat.



  1. Ross Gittins

I read the daily Pearls and Irritations email without fail and usually find various pieces I want to read. Its speciality is comments on current policy debates from former senior public servants, who write with insight and much more candour than they did in former times.

Ross Gittins is the Economics Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald.


  1. Jenny Hocking

I am a long-time reader, contributor and supporter of Pearls & Irritations. Australia’s media is highly concentrated, and becoming more so, P&I is not only a vital source of independent news and comment, it provides longer-form, deeply researched articles, from a range of specialists in their field – there is simply no other outlet for such detailed, well-written and well-researched regular journalism on topics which would otherwise be ignored, certainly in such detail, by the mainstream media. I find this absolutely invaluable at a time when news and comment are too often inaccurate, biased or even false. P&I’s network of authors is remarkable and John Menadue’s editorial skills and capacity to harness their expertise with regular contributions are central to the success of P&I and its reputation.

Jenny Hocking is an Emeritus Professor with the Faculty of Arts, Monash University


  1. Henry Reynolds

As a daily reader of Pearls and Irritations and an occasional contributor, I am keenly aware of how important it is both to me personally and to the community at large. The range of topics and the array of talent is irreplaceable. No-where else can one find such authoritative commentary presented in a  succinct and accessible style.

Henry Reynolds is an eminent Australian historian.

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