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5 Minutes with Ross Dennis

· Ross Dennis,Staff Profile
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Ross Dennis

Policy Analyst


What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time? 

In my spare time I enjoy cooking. I grew up with parents who were curious about food and flavours and luckily, I have inherited their passion for food. Unfortunately, it took until I was in my mid-20s to learn how to cook. I spent many nights eating bland, flavourless food.   

What is the last book you read? 

The last book I read was 'The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree' by Shokoofeh Azar. Azar is an Iranian Australian writer who combined magical realism and Persian myth making. It was a fantastic read.   

Can you play any instruments? 

I don’t, but I have been known to sing in the kitchen, the street and basically anywhere I can. Although, I should be clear I am very tone deaf.    

Where is your favourite place in the world? 

Istanbul. I went on student exchange to Istanbul in my undergraduate degree and fell in love with the city. The scale of history, both physical and in popular memory in the city alone is mind blowing but it is also the anarchy of city that drew me in. The city is beautiful with gorgeous sunsets across the Bosporus. I have a distinct memory of walking to the hostel I was staying at in Sultanahmet and hearing both the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) and Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) beginning their sunrise call to prayer.   

What is something you learned last week? 

In a quiz the team were doing to ‘get our synapses firing’ I learnt that all monotremes lost their stomachs through evolution.    

If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be and why? 

I would love to meet Aretha Franklin, just to play out the Think dance routine from The Blues Brothers.   

What was your first job? 

My first job was at a small school bookseller near where I grew up in Melbourne’s north. My boss was the brother of a family friend who turned a blind eye to me reading on the job. Although I do remember him telling me that he wasn’t paying for me to learn and to pack boxes faster.   

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  

Every morning I wake up to The Breakfast Spread on PBS. The morning presenter usually plays some up beat disco to get everyone moving in the morning.    

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard? 

Water your plants more. This is usually said whenever someone sees my neglected house plants. 

What attracted you to your role? 

I was attracted to the Policy Analyst role because it presented the perfect opportunity to work in public policy and use both the skills I learnt through my time at university and my interest in politics. I love the degree to which I have done policy deep dives on research projects and that by working in such a small team we all amplify each other’s natural curiosities and own each other’s successes.     


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