“Exciting things that happen to Economists” with Neville Norman

Any course at university is founded in clearly defined theories and thought processes,
perhaps none more so than Economics. Students have to consume a lot of new concepts,
which leaves many asking what they have to know, rather than asking where this new-found
knowledge can take them. It was a privilege to have Associate Professor Neville Norman
answer the latter question, and commence ESSA’s public lecture series.

Neville opened proceedings with a few humorous anecdotes about the extraordinary
situations his occupation as an economist had provided. The story of his car accident with a
police officer transitioned to a dispute about his destroyed “Super 8mm Films” when he was
in London acting as a formal adviser to the Fraser Government. This was a perfect excuse
for Neville to put-on his refined British accent (which funnily he employed again later in his

Neville’s final recount, and perhaps his most engaging, was of his time as the Chief
Investment Adviser at the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). He elaborated on his
responsibility of the Commission’s portfolio, as well as his experiences in finding appropriate
opportunities to invest in overseas debt and equity markets. His re-enactment of an encounter
with a particularly pretentious London-based fund manager from Cambridge University had
the audience in stitches.

The formalities of the talk were followed by questions from the audience, touching on the
differences between the public and private sector as well as the actual work an economist
is exposed to. Neville was erudite in his responses, and provided insights into his time on the
Australian Advisory Council for General Motors as well as detailing his economic advice
to the Federal Treasurer in regards to the Minerals Resource Rent Tax as well as the Carbon

All in all, Neville’s public lecture was both entertaining and relevant. He illustrated the
weird and wonderful situations a career as an economist may lead you.

A special thank-you must be extended to Neville himself for presenting to ESSA members, as
well as to his lovely wife, who interjected throughout the speech with comic observations.