With several published books to his name and a passion for ancient civilizations, Dr Martin Drum lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, tells The Record, why he admires Julius Caesar how he would fare in the Roman army and why he would cannot do without his hat on a deserted island.
Which politician living or dead do you admire the most and why?
I admire politicians who are not afraid to challenge the status quo. I find Julius Caesar fascinating, he was a very bold man and he challenged the structure of the Roman Empire during his reign. ‘He copped it for his boldness.’ I also admire John Curtin as I am from Fremantle.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to enter into politics?
I would tell them to “follow what matters the most to you.” Everyone one of us have our own strengths and what we are passionate about, it doesn’t necessarily have to be academic, so the advice I would give would be to “bring your own strengths into the political arena.”
Do you think religion should be taken into consideration when laws are being passed?
Beliefs and values are very important when decisions are being made and I think that a broad range of opinions of a broad range of the population needs to be taken into consideration.
In your opinion, what do you think has been one of Australia’s greatest political achievements?
Stability. Our political system is very stable and we have a good way of naturally transferring power within the government, we are also very committed.
What do you think that the Australian government needs to focus on to better our society?
The government needs to focus on education at all levels not simply a university or school level but we have all be given skills that we are good at and the government needs to help us better utilise the skills that we already have.
If you could meet any American president who would it be and why?
JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy). I find him a fascinating individual and it was unfortunate that he was cut down in his prime and he lived an unfulfilled legacy.
What would you say to him?
I would ask him whether the United States of America and the world turned out the way he envisaged it would.
Do you think that the Kennedy Family is romanticised or that JKF genuinely had good policies?
It’s some of both; the Kennedy’s represented a new era similar to Barak Obama and the way that he is perceived. The Kennedy’s were youthful amongst other things, but I also think that JFK was seeking to find ways to progress and better America.
What political philosophy are you? Why?
“Don’t fit a square peg into a round hole” I don’t fit the mould of any political philosophy, I believe that the government should be fair to everyone, there should not be any discrimination.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy sports, I’ve retired from AFL, but my family and I are big Carlton supporters. I also like to brew beer which not very many people know about me and I am a dad.
What is the best thing about lecturing at Notre Dame?
I love teaching and researching and I like being in an environment where everyone is passionate and interested in what they are doing. I also learn from my students and their ideas that they come up with which challenge my own existing ideas and assumptions.
What inspires you to write?
I want to make a contribution. If you have the skills and the opportunities to contribute to the people around you, you should do it; it is an obligation to contribute.
How does faith help you in your day-to-day work?
From a Catholic social teaching point of view, human dignity and the value we have should show dignity and respect towards each other, we should all value and respect each other and the people within our community.
If you could go back in time which Greek philosopher would you want to meet?
Socrates. He wasn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, he liked to debate and question and he would be very interesting to talk to.
What do you admire about the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations?
They were capable of extraordinary achievement. They really stopped to think about the world around them and they were very influential, that their work is still with us even today.
How well do you think you would do in the Roman Army?
Probably not so well now, but I would’ve been okay in my late teens and twenties, but now, even though I exercise I wouldn’t be well suited with the Roman chums.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Completing my doctoral thesis, it was on the aftermath of Caesar’s death; the publication of my book and a number of community projects that I have been a part of.
What has been the worst moment of your career?
Studying and researching was difficult in my late twenties. I was unsure about what I wanted to do as I have always studied; I suddenly felt disillusioned and did other things regarding my career paths and it took me a while to rediscover my passion.
What three things would you have with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?
I would have a good book, probably a biography of Caesar and a hat because I get sunburned easily and I don’t have much hair and thongs; every time I go to Rottnest Island I take my thongs.
What’s your favourite political drama TV show?
Hollow Men. Its superbly done.
What is the relationship between history and politics?
Today’s politics is tomorrow’s history.
What are your hopes for the future?
I don’t know where the future will take me, I try to be open minded and I don’t like to prescribe my future for me but I want to write more and travel through work to Greece and Italy and when I went to Arica I was really inspired by that.