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CONTRAST

May 2016

If you have missed it, we have thrown ourselves into a mammoth, Double Dissolution,  election campaign.

If you watch TV, the USA has a fierce debate raging….. only to pick the candidates for the Presidential election.

 Money is no object for any of this. Plebiscites to follow…..Royal Commissions ..etc.

Meanwhile we see consistent reports that the larger businesses are now  beginning to act following the economic downturn and the mining associated boom darkening.

 These are grim times.

 The buzz word is ‘ Innovation’.

 We are going to need innovative leadership to charter the waters we are entering.

 Meanwhile let’s leave May at that…….everyone deserves a break from the noise!

AW

 

WAKE UP!

April 2016

Queensland Nickel; Arrium.

Symptoms of a much larger problem but, due to management and lack of leadership to find a way, it is now in the hands of the Finance World. Not the banks but those whose job it is to manage for the banks.

What is the percentage of businesses which come through VA and continue, recognisable to that which went before?

We have a Government which stands and talks of the need for ‘savings’. Pointing, quite rightly, to the lunacy of the man now trying to be UN Head , K Rudd (can you believe it)  followed by the quite useless Julia Gillard, who cried wolf too often. Don’t worry they’re both okay today, unlike the workers in the businesses above.

For this month just two examples of how unfortunately now the business intellect ( I term it ‘smarts’) just doesn’t exist.

Take a look at the onerous legislation snuck through on Owner Drivers in the Transport Industry. Designed surely to protect the Giants and again slam the battler. Arise Sir Lindsay!…as Mr Fox prepares for his 80th birthday with everyone who is anyone it seems in the social set being flown to the Med.

Worse, how about the Defence Innovation Centre, announced the day  after the next two Navy vessels were  awarded to a Spanish company. Wasn’t it in Spain that BAE subcontracted and had all those previous problems?  Calling it an Australian bid because they have an Office in South Australia and wherever else to give the impression they are ‘Australian based’.

And what will the Innovation Centre innovate? Let’s hope the next submarines to follow those are awarded to an AUSTRALIAN business.

Instead the South Australian and Victorian marine sectors hold their breath.

Why can’t this Government see whether it’s ships, or any product using steel; they can utilise Australian resources, rather than wear the cost of them closing (Queensland Nickel alone will cost them $70 million in Entitlements which must and should be paid).

Whether it’s boots, design, Entertainment ( we’ve given the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Commonwealth games 2018 to a Pommie company, as if we aren’t  able to put on a show??).

Whatever the product or expenditure, it’s time the Commonwealth and State Governments recognised local content.

Absolute crap, excuse me however to emphasise a point to hide blind FTA’s and the rest; try exporting.

There is going to be a massive loss of jobs, cost to the Economy, all avoidable if we allowed the Treasuries to truly cost in the effect of this open market philosophy espoused in the boardrooms of the big city anthills, who only care about a booking at the newest restaurant, be it lunch or dinner…a very different challenge to  the battlers facing decimation.

And in ‘allowing ‘ those bureaucrats we need to send them back to school to learn REAL costs and the REAL world we are living in.

As the glasses are polished, the caterers uniforms (manufactured overseas) and the French champagne ordered and placed on ice pending the looming Budget, where we will hear the need for austerity with platitudes over spending on what? We need less patronisation and some real leadership.

Six months ago, a proven lawyer with a finance background and wealth to suggest he knew what he was doing, boasted, pre the vote so many still find abhorrent, of his talents.

Malcolm,show me the money ! Show us Jobs. Give us a future. And do what you patently failed to do in your first term as Party leader…lead…

AW

 

The Reality of Mediocrity.

March 2016

It’s already difficult this year to dissect business and leisure  away from the increasingly intrusive world of politics.

Whether it is the farce that the UN has long become, watching, as one shudders to imagine how many lives are lost through slaughter, desperation and despots throughout various parts of the globe, whilst representatives from all Nations sit in New York, talking and talking and talking.

China, Asia’s most recent powerhouse, seems to be distracted from growth, other than militarily.

India waits ready to step into the void, yet with a Cricket T20 World Cup, has bizarrely found its latest distraction.

Threatening both those Asian powerhouses and the rest of the world, is an utter nutcase in North Korea, about whom the UN talk and talk and talk.

A virus in South America,  follows one of the largest ever corporate made environmental disasters in that Continent’s largest nation, Brazil, whose main concern in to have stadia ready for the next Olympics; an exciting yet tainted spectacle.

Then in the UK, the PM fights to stay in Europe whilst a circus clown figure, with not so much as a plum in his mouth but the whole fruit salad, the deliberate buffoon Boris Johnson turns against him. There is little thought for anyone North of Watford. Imagine what would happen if these two walked into a pub pre-match at Anfield, home of Liverpool FC? They couldn’t of course; no one would be able to interpret their reply to what happened to justice for the 96 people slaughtered at a sporting event almost 28 years ago. But let’s debate Europe and immigration, leave generations in camps, as has been the case, seemingly long forgotten in the Middle East.

In the USA, the political discourse is so hypocritically frightening and the incumbent President so historically disappointing, that the anarchists are making their moves. There appears to be  no place for you, unless you have something extreme to say. Little wonder we see the media  from the Nation which is the Leader and Policeman, of the free world being so irresponsible in so many cases. For example, when the resident Baron Murdoch gets away with his corporate rampages. He has remarried, having settled his previous foray into the younger attractive lady and quietly resettled  all those disgraceful senior journalists from his New York empire back into position  in the UK. Now the Establishment in the UK has allowed the decency of the masses to be  trodden upon  once again. In summary life goes on for the born to rule and screw the masses.

Meanwhile beware. The political discourse is leading that great Nation, the USA  towards a battle between the super wealthy, disguised in different coloured political robes, whilst the division across their States increasingly produces comparisons to Germany in the 1930’s, so toxic is the atmosphere. Ironic that the most compassionate country in Europe around the refugee crisis now appears to be ….Germany, or at least their leader.

And here at home? We have Clive Palmer the bullying b/s artist; Tony Windsor, who sold the farm to fight an election……main policy…save the farm..( try and follow).

History will show that despite the on loan high fashion outfits, our  publicity crazed Foreign Minister, whose judgment is so poor ( I’ll touch on it later) and a group of other attention seeking politicians,  are driving us downwards to an even lower level in our political arena. And now in a great country, tired of elections, with a stupidly short three year term cycle, we face an early election under a PM who promised everything but has not delivered and for the second time,  has shown brilliant business minds do not guarantee the same rating as political operatives.

And whilst you digest the above paragraph about Australia, think about our most recent PM who is being  backstabbed and the attention of the most vicious, snide, gender assumptive media and the journalistic debate with his COS who, because she is female, apparently deserves more attention than for example Arthur Sinodinis  for all his very impressive years in the Howard era. This whilst   policy after policy initiated by this Government stalls.

We replaced a Government which couldn’t introduce some crucial reform  policies with one  which is too scared to.

Worry not.  Innovation will save the day!  Are we mad? We just announced funding for a Defence Innovation initiative in South Australia in the same week we gave a known underperforming Spanish shipyard our latest Military order. First item on the new Innovation agenda…….how to win contracts by avoiding equal scrutiny. All made possible because our ever increasing Public Service and ridiculously over governed Nation, makes room for more and more people with decision making capability without the business or commercial background to even have a clue how to truly compare apples for apples.

I’ve warned for some time about the need for regular doses of reality and real Leadership. Post some recent surgery, I’ve had yet more time to observe a few facts.

Firstly ,the already known but accurate one….most Australians and residents of this country are very decent, human beings. They bluntly deserve better. Much better. And beware, as is being seen in the USA, the mass of population is fed up with the broken commitments and is turning on those who cling to power and perks. 

Next, we have in the long period of good times spawned ‘leaders’ whose first ,second and third tactics when challenged is to blame their predecessor whilst failing to grasp opportunity and meet the challenges around them. Hello the sport of rugby!  Hello Canberra!  Hello too many businesses.  Yet, take note at some of the business turnarounds or growth achieved, where initiative as opposed to innovation,some call it the same and the willingness to accept the responsibility which comes with and is inextricably linked to authority ,has been embraced by Leaders. Examples are Blackmore Health Products, Wesfarmers and many more.

Hello Julie Bishop, mentioned previously in this article. Several days ago I watched  disgusting, laughing, joking appearance on a morning TV  show where our FM was interviewed by a recent admission to an Honours List, which are becoming so long they are now beginning to cast a shadow on those who truly their recognition. However the gravy train has reached town and on jump those adept at smiling at the appropriate time at the appropriate person.

The FM sat with the partner of the Head of our Republican movement, a man who hasn’t been wrong since he laced up a rugby boot where occasionally his disproportionate lack of ticker to body mass was oft discussed and the two joked their way through how our FM had cooled down the confronting nature of our relationship with Russia and in particular, the saggy, bare chested maniac, Putin. Save us our beloved Vlad!

She had smoothed over the plan of our previous PM to ‘shirt front’ this ego maniac by adopting a more ‘button hole’ style of democracy. Laughter all round. And the show once again  resembled Sesame Street more than the daily news opener it purports to be. All highly amusing until you recall Tony Abbott made that statement after comforting the relatives of the Australians who had been slain by terrorist thugs supported by Putin’s regime. I wondered if any of them watched and found it a jovial matter when people including Australians were  shot from the sky on a commercial airliner and our PM then, after having to view  and hear about body parts and the carnage, returned angry…..just as any average Aussie might and damn well should.  

Well,  now for cheap points. This Judas of our Federal Cabinet, not satisfied with stabbing the previous  leader whilst followed the mantra  of denial  now  seemingly finds it appropriate to make light with her mate the former glamour magazine   editor, of the comments of a deeply sensitive man to whom she once pledged loyalty.

I hope these two high flying, image mad individuals, sleep at night but are haunted by the utter abhorrence that anyone who thought beyond the vaudeville act  feels towards them and what they appear to stand for; which is primarily themselves.

Relevant ? Yes, because we must first have our own house in order and It’s not. And my strong words about the FM are because she, along with Scott Morrison were at the time of the PM changeover seen I believe as the two biggest stars of the Government. Of course, they shine not so brightly now, covered with blood on their hands.

Leadership is rare. There are some Leaders, even political ones that  do shine brightly, as the standard average around them lowers. We can only hope they stay in the game, as career politicians rarely understand today’s citizen whilst the 99% who don’t enjoy their perks like their travel benefits, high rate super and no expense spared buildings to work and stay in. How much did we spend on a renovation of the Lodge?

And so, as the Christian Easter is upon us soon, we drift in mediocrity and worse, a lazy acceptance of it with the grassroots masses finding it difficult to cut through the malaise which silences them to allow the elite to continue to rule the world.

Leadership, leadership, leadership?

Find it, give it enough room to breathe and you will see it produce prosperity and success. Leaders be brave and true, don’t let fear hold you back!

There are a few metaphorical revolutions brewing.

Make sure the good are victorious. That’s those for the greater good, not their own.

Leadership…have we ever needed it more.

AW

 

Leadership

February 2016

Having just spent an entire month post –surgery, confined to barracks so to speak,  opportunities have increased to observe and analyse the political landscapes, around the Globe. Despite all that has transpired, I am aghast at the hypocrisy and appalling broader standards that are being exhibited.

Details are not for now…..because it’s the impact on we mere mortals that concerns me. And it portrays itself in the shocking violence and displacement we are witnessing. Plus, take a look at the US Presidential Election process which has commenced along Party lines. Staggering.

But is the big end of town better?

One major bank has been forced to smash a ‘culture’ of such gross misconduct that, if they hadn’t seen it all playing out, we can only wonder how we are expected to have faith in them? Businesses ,especially Retail, are seriously trying to claim surprise when caught up by global evolution in trading practices.

Then sport.

Sun, off season…. we just cannot contain the idiots. However we rush to prejudge young men and women, upon whom great attention is placed, with no apparent quality in their management , a standard as opposed to an exception.

It’s all a bit depressing eh?

I hope so because we are in trouble and the hard work and doses of reality required to climb out don’t exist in the world of air kisses and life through a hand held device.

On that point, at 2pm each Parliament sitting day, grab a break and watch how many very well paid MP’s spend their opportunity to be heard by preferring to tap away on their phones or computer tablets…conclusion…..don’t take me seriously as I don’t take this job seriously.  A small matter of looking after Joe Publics interests.

So what will save us?

Leadership!

And leadership to repeat can be at any level, has no gender, race, religious or any other bias.

So Mr Turnbull.

Your crude, rude electioneering against a sitting PM screamed about your marvellous Financial capabilities. So much better than the incumbent, you unnecessarily advised us, publicly.

And it won you what you craved, the power of the top job.

Along with the Energiser Bunny, Scott Morrison, who starts and only finishes when interrupted; the previously untainted Foreign Minister who now cannot look a camera in the ‘eye’ let alone all those with whom she knows she  stained her Little Miss Perfect image; and a few nasty grudge bearing disloyal others.

It’s time you delivered……..Leadership.

Spare us, tours of the Lodge. Rather launch one more of the endless Inquiries into the massive blow out OVER Budget…and ensure that those responsible are shown the door.

Spare us, the FM ensuring as ever the cameras are there when she and her partner jet off to the USA for a ‘private holiday’ was it?

Then is seen in designer gowns with pin ups in NY and pressing the wrinkled flesh of vast wealth at G’day LA, leaving this scribe confused. Who paid for what?

And get the Treasurer to do something about Tax and the costly  bureaucracy; especially with such a qualified PM alongside .

You see we’ve entered an era of uncertainty and now is not the time for self-promotion at the expense of the deserved.

The workers in Townsville and Wangaratta are out of work, without all their Entitlements; millions in refugee camps are  scarred for life through the terror they’ve endured and our aspirational generation is finding it increasingly difficult to avoid the tyranny of evil substances , to which we give a softer term i.e.  ‘recreational drug use’ to further fan the flames of a world seemingly devoid of plain common sense.

So much so, even our highest ranked Cardinal is struck by illness which must be so long term he is afforded video link into a child abuse inquiry.

This has not been a pleasant start to the year. Even the Australian of the year is under friendly fire.

Leaders show yourselves ! Never have you been needed as much.

AW

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

January 2016

In the spirit of the month that allows us in part a fresh start.

The month that contains Australia Day

And the month during which we enjoy positivity bounce following a festive season hopefully enjoyed by all , regardless of denomination …….let’s keep this short and say again..

Happy 2016!

 AW

 

Innovation

December 2015

 Innovation; I’m all for it. I just no longer understand its meaning as the term is used so widely and diversely. I believe we are fast becoming talkers not doers. This is, however, inevitable when you bureaucratise more and more facets of our daily lives.

 But beware!

The old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ never rang truer.

 In this crazy world where we mix religion, politics, sport, business and the rest,  buzz words can make us lazy and lacking in ideas and actions – the  opposite of innovative.

 So often I come back to leadership and being capable of driving real outcomes.

It’s the majority lack of confidence or ability to do this which leads us into an increasing tendency to use sound bites and lose ourselves in a surreal world  , most often found gazing into a phone or TV.

 Are we still the smart country?

Time will tell, I hope as traditional ways and means are falling faster than once imagined.

 Danger lurks in our growing tendency to criticise the forthright, preferring mass debate and dangerous words, however dangerous are the times. 

Leadership?

Outcomes?

 Sometimes derived from innovation. But never always.

 Here’s to happier times in 2016.

 AW

 

 

“WHAT TO SAY.”

November 2015

It was initially decided  during my  attendance at the RWC Final, the last day of last month  which would be followed by the Melbourne Cup, that a sporting theme would dominate November’s Blog.

Then a look ahead alerted us to the new PM’s first overseas trip and a delayed posting was agreed.

In the interim , following ( and this troubles me) the too little reported atrocities in Lebanon, the World has rightly rallied against the murderous thugs, I’d wager for all their  hiding behind a proud religion, quite likely tanked up on drugs. Paris, Lebanon, the atrocities that occur daily via specifically this new fad ISIS or whatever you wish to call these morons. Planes shot from the sky, beheadings on ‘religious’ grounds.

Cut it out!

The latest irony is that a topless shameless selfie female photo taker nine months ago , becomes a paragon of virtue and dies in a cause where the word ‘virgin’ is cherished and considered the ultimate ‘reward’.

The one truism of the endless cycle of violence is hypocrisy ,that is seen to some degree everywhere you may travel, including here.

Readers will immediately be able to point to an example in an area of their activities and point the finger.

Just don’t speak out in fear of offending but, of course, howl when acceptance supports outrageous ramifications.

You cannot justify any form of one sided violence where the injured party has no opportunity to defend.

And so, for this month, despite all I have witnessed in my life, “what to say”.

May your God bless you and the Good.

May the evil rot in hell and understand that’s where they’re headed.

We pray as one , religious beliefs set aside, that sanity will prevail one day and we appreciate all that life offers us, considering there are so many so undeservedly less fortunate, sick and  handicapped.

Sport has really again become, despite the money,  just that. Just sport.

“What to say”

AW

 

 

 A MONTH TO FORGET

October 2015

 Time will tell the full story of the mess that was September when almost every economic and political indicator fell……..right up to the PM.

 I predict that the Challenge will prove to be a sordid affair and  wonder where this farcical three year term, combined with a vicious, in part, media, will lead us. A media right at home in Murdoch’s stable which after all disgraced journalistic ethics over past decades with the Sun and the News of the World in the UK.

This treachery influences  our children and leaves me bewildered and a few individuals who spat loyalty back in the PM Abbott’s face should be viewed accordingly.

Hopefully, lifelong ambition fulfilled, the new PM will remember what a Prime Minister ought to stand for and use his outstanding intellect, along with that of his 41 Ministers and Junior Ministers; forty one..we have a third more than the UK and a third of their population.

Meanwhile we hope, pray and cross our fingers that the Chinese FTA will go through the, let’s face it by now , joke called a Senate. 

Australia is doing it tougher now than at any time in past decades.

Lifestyle faces immediate challenges including the worrying signs of El Niño and all that can bring to this harsh land.

But there’s always a bright spot..a proud son of an immigrant Middle Eastern family could by the time the next Blog is written have completely rescued the game of rugby in this country. To some extent he and his Team have already almost done enough.

I don’t know what Tony Abbott and Michael Cheika have in common other than both are great blokes, true patriots and  have my unwavering loyalty through their respect for kind human beings, driven yet compassionate.

Australia, September 2015 leaves much to be desired…let’s take a look in the mirror and be honest with ourselves..

AW

 

 

AND THEY WONDER WHY?

September 2015

On Sunday after walking my best mate, the dog,  feeling great about life in Gods country, I sat down to have breakfast and watch the Sunday Agenda political programme which can throw up some reasonable debate and insights

I was left feeling bitterly disappointed.

The Host, Peter Van Onsolen, who has the ability to be the maverick of the Fox Political Team, barely hides his political leanings. An interesting man. I once observed, again on an early Sunday walk, as the culprit who left his car engine running whilst waiting for his coffee to have en route to the studio for the same programme. Can we conclude he is not an Emissions Trading believer?

The two Australian journalists, lead by Head Political Editor Paul Kelly, were asking probing questions to the competent and new Labor face Senator Sam Dastyari.

For almost half an hour they debated the Chinese FTA. Not once did Dastyari concede ground, whilst at the same time not once conceding Labor would and could not renegotiate the Chinese FTA. Why three journalists allowed this farce to go on as long as it did I don’t know. I can only remark they all gave the impression of filling in time,playing the game.

It is pathetic.

The FTA is signed. In future, we can  either let our Parliament vote, unrealistically, on the terms of any such Agreement.

Or we need political reform.

I like to think I am a nudge more than a complete political novice. Sunday insulted my intelligence.

I just waited and waited for one to have the kahunas to tell another to shut up going through the motions.

And that, I suggest, is the increasing attitude towards our political system and the growing band of commentators, all holier than thou, yet do they ever  stand for anything enough to court unpopularity ? Add to that the hypocrisy.

One classy lady makes an error of judgement, or loyalty suggests allows herself to take the fallout and a rush of entitlement..sorry non entitlements become news …with Tony Perk, sorry Burke, with his fourteen ‘mistakes’ leading the charge.

It is I say again, pathetic.

And they wonder why they fail what’s their new term ‘the pub test’.

If that was the best we can do, or if Question Time, which I watched in person two weeks ago, is symptomatic of our political arena, then we may well live in God’s country but may your God forgive us for what we have and are doing to it.

AW

 

ASHES TO ASHES……

August 2015

It’s not just cricket which has hit our confidence, but also:

  • Politicians expenses;
  • Royal Commissions;
  • Free Trade Agreements; and
  • Same Sex Marriage.

These issues are a sideshow to the apparent main game of hidden agendas. And it is a game.

This has been a shocking month; enough said, I have delayed this post to seek some positivity.

Observing Question Time and following the broader debate, you’d think that Politics is all we have….forget business, economy and employment generation and maintenance.

I will even attend Parliament shortly to view the activity personally in order to firm my conclusion, against the background of my suspicion, that those in the Big House have never behaved so poorly.

Back to the cricket..and an up and down rugby month; these are at least games, win or lose, albeit in the business of sport.

Plaudits to our magnificent Netballers who brought home the world title for a relative pittance but a commitment and dignity, combined with Australian self-belief that may just remind us who and what we are supposed to stand for.

AW

HAPPY NEW FY!

July 2015

This past month , by both observing and being immersed in the occasional frenzied activity brought on by the end of a Financial Year, I am even more firmly of the opinion of the importance of OUTCOMES

On several occasions  I  observed a scramble to reach targets which would have already been” banked” if management was more specifically, outcome driven.

Outcomes, rather than activity or even achievements, are a much more finite way to measure a Business’s relative success, .

These are subtle differences to some,  but not, however, to me. 

Outcomes allow little or no place to hide. Activity and even achievements, do.

ROI to Shareholders has always been something which I understood and respected its true value.

I have undertaken many an employee address or negotiation stressing the universal benefits of Shareholders being comforted, confidence bolstered by the delivery of finite OUTCOMES.

I have written previously on the need for our Nation to underwrite our future for both the ageing and the new generation.

As we observe a debate around superannuation and pensions , pardon the pun, the penny is dropping.

It would be good to think that we can lead the way in affordable compassion towards our retirees, no matter what their social demographic.

To do this requires so many things.

The best of all to build our society in the greatest Country in the world, is to be OUTCOME driven.

OUTCOMES also deliver reality.

You cannot ultimately hide from the truth (facts) and indeed the” truth is the best lie.”

Wishing you every success for FY 2016..I must go…..I have OUTCOMES to deliver!

AW

 

Short and Sweet.

5th June 2015

Having just returned from a trip to Europe and Asia, the harsh reality I find today is that as a place to visit, even dream to visit, we are second to none  as an all-round lifestyle destination.

In the more serious climes of business and politics, there is however an  increasing  focus here on reporting endless minor issues. I don’t like this growing trend and that other nations  are taken more seriously.

Then there’s our  infrastructure. See how the notoriously grumpy and the rest, Poms, have raised their game. Travel on the three tier Shanghai freeway. Spend two hours in Dubai airport. The only two problems I experienced were exiting and re-entering our own hopelessly inefficient airports.

Little wonder this PM wishes to emphasise the need for Infrastructure.

It all points to one thing.

If we are in the place in which others wish to be, is it not beholden of us to make this a place in which we want to stay and that those lucky enough to join the legal queue can get to call home one day?

Yet as Adam Goodes, former Australian of the year can attest, we are still squabbling over identity.

When you are the best and Australia is the best, ………..what’s the argument?

In a world with such diversity of people and behaviour, never more so than now, would it not be nice to see Australians unite much more in the common interest of our future?

After all, surely we now all agree we have squandered so much wealth that now we need more leaders, innovators and  visionaries and less of the abjectly shallow albeit loud dissenters.

The good times remain but the streets are no longer paved with gold.

AW

 

 

Leadership

2nd   May 2015

In reviewing the  past month I cannot commence anywhere other than the magnificence of the Australian Nation across all of the ANZAC Day ceremonies and events which were capped by two of the finest speeches of recent times, one by Charles Windsor and the other a piece penned  personally by our PM. This man as a human being is worthy of absolute respect.

And now back to reality.

The utter hypocrisy of this world struck me watching late TV news as April drew to a close. Take your pick. The despicable, callous Indonesian conduct in managing the actual execution of their penal system. The country that allowed so much freedom around that low life, Abu Bakhar Bashir, who lead the slaughter of so many Australians in beautiful Bali not so very long ago.

And already there are  signs domestically that  our Politician’s unity is splitting, disgracefully opportunistically. Decency in some clearly cannot reside for very long.

Then there is the  peril that desperate asylum seekers place themselves in, at the hands of human beings masquerading as entrepreneurs. It is interesting how firm leadership here, despite the cowardly bluster from our populous neighbour, quickly brought a halt and sent the water rats scurrying.

Protecting the desperate and innocent by association.

Then the  ongoing Hillsborough ‘Inquiry’ in the Mother country. Twenty six years on, Peers of the Realm smugly enter the latest farce, to concede openly they lied and colluded to twist the truth, absolutely targeting the working class who not for the first time were cut adrift in a sea of perceived irrelevance by the born to rule. All a smother to continue the myth of the Thatcher era…which the incumbent and all the other elite continue to purport was good for the whole population.

Riots again in the USA, whilst their eloquent President delivers another magnificently delivered speech which serves zero purpose in achieving anything. Modern politics indeed! Is this the Super Powers example of leadership?  Talk not action? We now prepare for eighteen months lead up to a Presidential election which increasingly looks like it belongs on Broadway.

The catastrophe of Nepal, the poverty and hopelessness. Thousands of lives lost with the immediate emphasis on Trekkers and buildings. Again, the mass of villagers and villages lost will never become truly known.

And at home the awful effects of the unpredictable climate.

The frightening fall in some commodity prices, it would appear deliberately manipulated in the knowledge it will destroy ,not damage,  the economies of some States and severely impact the Commonwealth budget.

Why this global rant?

LEADERSHIP…it is something a person can be elected into and should never abuse.

LEADERSHIP …it is time we truly recognised the deserved and true Leaders.

LEADERSHIP… when appropriately enacted it achieves so much in business, politics, community and our beloved sports. I think Australians want their LEADERSHIP to lead, be brave, looking after our own first and then do what we can outside our borders.

LEADERSHIP… many are willing to claim it; too few are truly deserved.

As the Budget looms, let’s allow our LEADERSHIP the chance to build on what surely even the most biased observer would observe we saw in our own on the Gallipoli shores.

LEADERSHIP which is found in business…surprise, surprise,  usually in the modern day, current era success stories. Credit to Tesco ,the UK’s largest commercial employer who recently announced that, pivotal to their new business plan to remain successful, is to be simpler  and to innovate not follow. That’s another term for LEADERSHIP in a business moving with the times which bolsters their employees and shareholders.

LEADERSHIP…I am fortunate to reside in a semi-rural property on the fringe of Sydney’s growing metropolis. To observe the response to the recent storm damage is humbling . So often Australians join together to look after own. This is as it should be. We are still cleaning up, but we are empowered by the knowledge that we are Australian and our neighbours and our fellow Australians are with us in person and spirit.

LEADERSHIP should spend more  real time in the whole of Australia. Only then can we have a calmer, more balanced debate on commerciality and its impact on our environment and the welfare of millions of marvellous Australians.

LEADERSHIP…Lehmann, Cheika and others in sport.. straightforward Australians who have and will lead us to further success in an arena so integral to our existence.

Finally, LEADERSHIP doesn’t always do what these Pollsters( I’ve never met one) suggest we do…true Leaders, lead.

When you see LEADERSHIP, I urge you to support it. Give those prepared to lead a chance but don’t let fear hold you back if they fail to lead. We don’t need those who accept the authority not the responsibility.

Australia needs to be responsible, humane ,decisive, honest and LEAD because AUSTRALIA IS still the greatest place on earth. For now.

AW

New  South Wales – The  Model or The  Exception.

3rd April 2015

Casting aside the hyperbole; a strong result re-electing a popular NSW Premier against an Opposition who again returned an extremely low primary vote, sets the scene for the Federal political landscape and the likelihood that the PM, a man never afraid to stick to his beliefs, will use all his political savvy to balance what has gone before and deliver a responsible Budget.

And this Budget is important.

It is by now clear how this Nation has squandered its wealth in the past.

Worse, the media led frenzy, which is too often unbalanced around future prosperity producers, leaves those in power with less and less room to move.

However the Treasurer last week may have signalled smart intent to call for responsible bipartisanship across issues such as Tax reform. This may spread to other portfolios, having worked admirably on matters of Defence and National Security and may be the way to chip away at the foundation on which the Independents and minor parties have built an increasingly irritating irresponsible base.

In NSW and in Queensland  right now, Premiers are seemingly prepared to be judged by doing what they believe is right.

As an economy and a society observes the daily news,  is the same not required throughout our community?

Is it  not outrageous that after a two year enquiry into injecting of elite sportsmen, the known leading perpetrator refuses to disclose the facts?”

And what part of society condones the obvious impact of drug related crime in the community and the increasingly horrific stories. Has anyone stopped to think what this is doing to our psyche?

It’s one thing to win a major sporting World Cup and it’s terrific to celebrate. It’s another to be responsible in our Nation in order to remain the best country in the world in which to live.

It would help if more Leaders led by example. Recently, in a cross table discussion with Gordon Cairns, Chairman Origin Energy, the final question was what most often ultimately brings the best results. Without pausing this admirable man uttered one word, “Leadership”.

I believe our skipper was our highest scorer in the cricket WC final……………Leadership indeed.

AW

 

Autumn Leaves Are Falling

5th March 2015

Autumn leaves are falling.

And that’s not all.

So is our dollar, and various other key economic Indicators.

However this is why we put evolution through Trade Agreements and other mechanisms in place, so that AUSTRALIA can stay on the wave rather than fall off it.

However times are about to challenge some.

We are surely, already, regretting some of the budgetary waste which is, considering our Resources wealth of the past decade/ s, a blight on our economic history.

And possibly goes some way to explaining what is now a seemingly radical lurching by Electorates,with little guarantee.

This concerns me.

It’s an environment where those decision makers become nervous and self interest kicks in.

AUSTRALIA needs to grow up, quit some of the, by now ridiculous, squabbling and accept the mistakes of the past whilst embracing our (still) many assets.

Watching the united front against terror and the country named Indonesia, which ought to be spelt ‘hypocrisy’ and then the same people not argue, preferring to trade insults; it makes one wonder if we have the maturity to stand up and remain a powerhouse at the Global Table.

We can.

Maybe the change of season and cooler temperatures will bring a dose of chilling reality.

The streets are no longer paved with gold, with easy pickings for even the lazy.

And whilst argument rages about the Nation’s number one Public Official,  the PM…….I maintain this man stands up for what he believes in.

You’d think having been given a mandate, he might have been allowed more time to implement the broader agenda, whilst accepting he might be human and make the odd error….Captains Calls as the more ambitious who lurk, prefer to call it.

Across all society ,including business, Australia needs to realise that the climate has changed…especially before winter could make life even harsher .

AW

 

Game on!

February 2015

Australians will require all the hard won confidence from a summer of sporting success to transpire into the business environment as challenges appear everywhere with the workforce finally returning, seriously, to full swing.

A plummeting dollar, lower interest rates, FTA’s,political turmoil and an insane, viciously cruel world faces us.

Of course,some of this could be seen coming ,yet I suspect more have taken a laissez faire approach, rather than a  pre-emptive one. This will now lead to more change and our favourite chestnut, leadership, comes to the fore yet again.

Teamwork behind true leaders will bring success.

At the Asian Cup Soccer Final, my mate was gutted during the pre-extra time break. I commented that maybe the fact that we had no more allowable substitutions, but obvious organisation, would lead to those still on the field standing up. They did, their Leader lifted and the rest is history.

Preparation reveals itself during hard times.

We may already this month start to see who thought their actions through before the turmoil..and who presumed status quo was endless.

Australia needs to be calm,rational and as always brave.

Game on.

AW

 

 

 

Season’s Greetings

December 2014 – January 2015

For the months of December and January, WARTS wishes its loyal clients and followers the happiest of Holiday seasons

Based in Australia we face an enormously busy and challenging 2015,  domestically and internationally.

That applies to our great Nation and to WARTS, where business gets stronger and stronger .

We will be back with detailed and specific commentary in February.

For now let’s take a breath and whilst the two months of December and January have us faced with a lot to still do, we post simply this wish to all for reason, good sense, and good people to prosper.

Peace On Earth.

AW

 

 

Protectionist!

November 2014

Cup Winner and again one of the political topics surrounding competition in the business arena.

First point, there’s no level playing field. However, the continued belligerence of some is stacking the odds further against Australia.It never ceases to amaze me how for example the entry point in industrial EBA’s often involve entitlements and redundancy opportunities! Then again when loopholes remain open and a toothless regulator allows ‘Phoenix’ schemes and the like, you cannot blame the environment of suspicion.

All this detracts from a word used daily during political campaigns, yet scarcely outside them – Productivity. The facts are that compared not only to Asia but a lot of Europe and even the USA, we have fallen into the ‘she’ll be right mate what’s in it for me’ trap. We need to change.

We may well have secured our borders from boats filled with desperate souls. Yet the porous business boundaries will and should not be plugged whilst it is a fact that we are being bettered in simple terms through an increasing acceptance that we believe we have a right to live better, but easier than others.

Even our world class racing industry has again lost its most coveted crown…this time to a German invader.

What is our world coming to!

Perhaps controlling our own destiny is something we need to think more seriously about.

Wake up AUSTRALIA.

The first step to being justifiably protectionist.

Otherwise watch the trophies continue to leave, not be won.

AW

We are Blessed.

6th October 2014

For the all-round sport lover, it never ends. As our footy season ends, we have magnificent racing carnivals, cricket and the surf’s up. Hawks and Rabbits reign victorious and within a month preparation for next season commences whilst the summer sports will be in full swing. Easy to think all is rosy in the garden?

Well, it ain’t.

Once more our brave service personnel are being sent away to fight terror. And the agony for those faced with the decision to send them must be appropriately respected. Terror now lives within us.

I like to debate any issue sensibly. I like to respect people for who they are not what they hitch their ideological train to.

Growing up in Liverpool, UK when the Irish troubles were prevalent, I have been convinced that too many innocents are cast aside by out of touch rulers and simply put, murderous scum, who hide behind a religion to justify their cause…..which is mindless and without justification. No religion decapitates and teaches their children to bask in such behaviour. No decent society has a place within for such people.

Regrettably the freedom allowed by our democracy allows a voice to those who will now turn our obligation to act into a political football. Already some, whom I consider bordering on treasonable, are nudging this towards a political argument and even calling into play the Budget. We do have an obligation to go outside our borders to defend ourselves, let alone do what we believe is right.

Caution, let us not do to others what we would not consider right in our own Land.

I travelled last month to Asia and without a doubt, the worst to leave or arrive at, including regional ones, is Sydney International, our largest airport.

Why have others spent money where it can be seen and enjoyed whilst we have done what? You tell me? Where are these representatives who grab every dramatic opportunity when we are burning our boom cash on ridiculous schemes; some of which cost live and watch, no one will pay for those innocents. They still haven’t 25 years later when they have discovered untruths, incompetence and awful cruelty at a soccer match at Hillsborough, England twenty five years ago…they are still holding an Inquiry…makes you realise perhaps why this country baulks at becoming a Republic with that shocking model to mimic.

I believe that  as ONE Nation, we need  to throw away the prejudices and consign mistakes from the past, however great,  to the vault, to be revisited only when we need reminding to stay on course and we need all residents of this Nation to declare a loyalty to this Nation.

Australia is and can remain, the greatest Nation on the Planet.

Last night at the ARL GF, a massive crowd held faces from so many different backgrounds and origins. A Pom was awarded the individual gong and two teams and their supporters left to celebrate ,in different ways, the relative success of all involved.

Wasn’t this an example of a multicultural society all enjoying being under the one banner. The AUSTRALIAN rugby league?

But the clock is ticking.

A call to arms? Yes. Do you wish to be Australian and build your permanent life in Australia ?Then declare your loyalty to this land. When I was allowed to obtain  permanent residency here, I took citizenship at the first available ceremony  two years later. My children were born in Australia and I am proud to call myself a migrant Australian.

If you cannot commit to Australia, understand we ought not be expected to afford you the same luxuries and social benefits we enjoy. Greater minds than mine can work out how this can be judiciously introduced. But the message I send is this. If you cannot commit to this Nation and you want to bring here the problems of other lands, then leave,  go to those lands but please don’t return.

And in turn, we can stay out of the affairs of others, except where they need and ask for help.

We need to realise our greatest wealth, our best asset is our people. Maybe the average Australian can lead those in power who have let us down and show the cowards who hide amongst us, that this Nation will proudly control its own destiny to the best of its ability.

Of course, we could continue to squander our relative riches lazily and allow grubby nobodies to make news while they opportunistically take advantage of the most horrendous of events.

I grew up in and around violence; I saw it lead to lives lost in the Heysel stadium in Belgium. Then the administration and authority’s disgrace of the slaughter of 96 innocents a few years later at Hillsborough. I have travelled the world, seen injustice, inequality and how all too often cowards and they are cowards and in a few cases lunatics, use this unjustness to their own individual promotion.

This Nation has reached a crossroads full of confusions.

Some of what we see (yet again start with the squabbling and corruption very recently witnessed in our Parliaments) to me signals a dangerous identity crisis.

To start the clarification process, let’s all declare our loyalty and commitment to one Nation…AUSTRALIA.

When the divisions end, so the teamwork can commence properly across all facets of life.

And then we can truly advance AUSTRALIA fair .

 

AW

A World Gone Mad

3rd September 2014

 

With the spread of technology, being  increasingly available to many regions and their peoples, I had expected we might see real progress in what the United Nations is supposed to achieve, given its charter.

 

Far from it. Uncontained diseases spread  in Africa and there is unrestrained violence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Religion is again the excuse.

Or unaddressed poverty.

 

A new sporting seasons kicked off with players from around the world; there was a recent successful gathering of Nations under the Commonwealth banner.

 

The contradictions go on and on.

 

In Canberra , a brave political group, acting largely in unison are embarrassed by the shameful ,moronic behaviour of a few selfish ideologues. Or simple self-interest supported by unqualified followers.

 

Let’s hope these idiots elected by goodness knows who and what they were thinking, live to regret placing at risk Australian lives.

 

Throughout all this we turn up for work, hope for insane lottery wins; following shortly after reports of beheading on the news.

 

The world has gone mad.

True leadership is needed now.

 

We appear to be fortunate that  right now at National level we have a truly principled leader supported by a most admirable Minister for Foreign Affairs, a real hero in strength and commitment.

 

Long may the relevant alternative parties support continue.

 

Maybe we can be a beacon for the rest of the world in firm, fair and compassionate justice.

 

Think of that as you go about your daily business.

 

Maybe one specific business, Coles,  can think about that before dumping 600 people on the scrap heap, doubtless before their retail dominance leads in a few months to massive, admittedly earned, profits.

 

What has happened to compassion?

Is it something we display only after the event?

 

When kids ask what is going on, isn’t it a fact that some things are simply unexplainable?

And don’t think this is limited to the highest levels of society.

 

Let’s clean out this blatant state-wide corruption, society’s gravy trainers and the growing mentality that it is only wrong if you get caught.

 

A Bondi legend swam the English Channel two weeks ago.

He broke the world record.

You wonder what he thought of as he swam all those hours and all that distance?

 

What is clear is he epitomised the true Australian spirit, which strives to succeed whilst benefiting others.

Anyone who saw the report on his effort, could not fail to be moved as this humble larrikin displayed a standard, for this increasingly mad, not funny, crazy world, to follow.

 

Cyril Baldock..an example to all of commitment, hardworking principles, true guts and resultant achievement.

 

AW

TELL IT LIKE IT IS

1st August 2014

 

It drew my attention to see The PWC Global Chairman recently insisting  that today “deep and specific industry consulting knowledge” is required to support a decent audit.

 Hallelujah!

 In my role as a  CEO  in manufacturing and trading , I would find myself blinking annually at some of the questions I was asked.

Then I reminded myself how someone  withonly  a Finance background could be expected to understand the vagaries of my industry .

 

It is absolutely time the bigger players in the financial sector learnt to amalgamate numerators and theorists with practical knowledge.

 This would help clean up our economy. It would also assist in derailing the plots of those seeking  to take advantage of loopholes and well- meaning Government largesse .

 

The business of Audit will  continue but surely it also needs to continue with  the trend of mature, bolt – on, services.

 The audit expectation gap however remains a challenge, as does adherence across the Finance sector and this is not helped by unnecessary regulation. Everywhere you look there’s complication, when life could sometimes be so much simpler.

 

So have your G20 summits and B summits bla, bla, bla…but recognise that the bloke like me, first schooner in hand, watching the news,  feels the pain of what happened to so many innocents over Ukraine. Then becomes angry as neither  diplomacy nor  politics etc. etc…not any such term…but just wholly outdated acceptance of wholly unacceptable barbarism stands in the way of Australia bringing home its deceased.

 

At least we can be comforted by the leadership so evident in the plain speaking and humility displayed by Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop.

Australia again leads the way by example.

 

For a nation of plain speakers, as fair dinkum people we should stick to our values across all walks of life.

Which is why NSW, lead by a magnificent leader, a classic Australian migrant success story,  is playing the Canterbury Crusaders, from a brave, battered City, lead by a magnificent all time player. This  epitomises what is good about our ANZAC tradition.

 Lest we forget.

 

AW

 

SHORT AND SWEET

11 July 2014

 

WARTS has exploded onto new scenes in July and the new Financial Year has brought a swift return for the hardwork and commitment of the Team.The range of our Activities is a testament to what we truly want to do which is to  Offer Value.

WARTS is an Advisory business.We believe in listening,observing and then offering solutions. Outcomes bring the opportunity to identify the next opportunity. Consulting is a necessary tool,but too much analysis can lead to the equivalent of paralysis.

Confidentiality and modesty restrains us from publicly relaying the business activities. However what started as an idea to keep busy, has developed into a thriving very, very busy Operation which is establishing a reputation for customer satisfaction.

We are fortunate also in that with our various current  project, we truly are dealing with an increasing number of thoroughly decent human beings. So whilst there appears to be  a lot to fix, strengthen and build……..it’s evident that to assist in achieving that is most gratifying.

It is more than encouraging to view WARTS end of FY 2014 position, whilst pondering where we might be at the same time next year.

Please feel welcome to join in!

Meanwhile let’s close by thanking those whose faith in and support for WARTS makes this ’boutique battler’ a real success story right now.

AW

 

PAY MORE ATTENTION

3rd  June 2014

The Budget has been delivered.

The Opposition’s  response likewise…… but I missed the policies and  noted the all too easy criticisms.

Leading economic data shows that the mining boom heyday is dwindling. Cash is being sought, more aggressively, elsewhere.

Retailers are whispering through, in some cases, startlingly poor results. State and Commonwealth budget cuts and job losses will continue.

There are positives.

We can lead in Agri, Technology and other areas  and we must mention the laudible Medical Research Fund……but we should also mention the businesses lost to countries already offering incentives in these  spaces  for years.

We are the first soccer team to arrive in Brazil..we might be the first to leave…..I certainly hope not! As stated before , sport often gives Australians so much confidence and there is a sniff of a rugby renaissance and of course, our cricketers turned the world on its head…. so hey!

Seriously, we are in one helluva scrap. We should pay more attention before it’s too land forget the shenanigans in Canberra.The incumbents are on the nose but full of talent. The Opposition is bombastic but only  until someone mentions the six years which they  proverbially ………..against the wall the cascading gains from our boom whilst the rest nearly collapsed.

Hard work lies ahead. Hard, but a fair assessment. Also truth and decency. Australia can remain in the upper economic echelons and even battle above its  relative weight. But the leaders do need to stand up and stand out.  Australia has never settled for “middle of the pack”.

Ensure you do your bit to push us ahead of the crowded bunch, which breeds mediocrity.

Just don’t think it’s ever easy.

Australia………WAKE UP!

AW

DOOM, GLOOM AND THEN THE BUDGET

11th May  2014

Whilst we will digest the promotion of an austere Budget and the counter arguments as to who is to blame, who broke promises ( something Pollies increasingly take too far too and too lightly)  we must accept that this was bound to happen…………having allowed the lunatics to rule the asylum for as long as they did.

Whilst we have grizzled about most policies, we may have lost sight of some startling statistics revealed in a Boston Consulting Group study recently.

We are now ranked equally on our performance with Brazil.

Australia is  the laggard of  the 25 largest world manufacturers.

Four direct drivers of manufacturing competitiveness ,over the last decade, show:

  • Wages up 48%;
  • Dollar up 21%;
  • Energy Costs up 80%; and
  • Productivity down 1%.

This will be the shortest Blog thus far.

For this and what is to follow on May 13th ,  is the culmination of what we have allowed and accepted.

Australia the lucky country?

It may bloody well need to be if we are to recover from a GFC where we were told we were granted immunity.

We were blessed with resources and in those heady days, a thing called a surplus.

Now we have key indicators,confidence and employment down.

If you read this and what has gone before , can you really put your hand on your heart and  claim to be  surprised?

What we must not claim is ignorance.

We must now sort out our own back yard,  the vast land of this great nation, Metropolitan and Regional

Until we do that, we should suspend our dreams of global dominance as we are, to put it  bluntly, increasingly irrelevant when it comes to our performance in too many arenas.

So, look inwards and sure externally and learn from all the  Australian and Global success stories.

Just cut the whinging. Be decisive….including with any elected representatives who believe they can say and do anything to get elected….then all bets are off…..after all the risk of pain  they are too often protected from by their own cushy arrangements.

Australia, lets wake up to ourselves!

AW

”NO TIME FOR FOOLS”

2nd April 2014

April….,Easter….,Anzac Day…., a break from Parliamentary shenanigans which, despite the commitment from all those seeking election six months ago, appear to have reached a new low.

A lot of work will be done in preparation for the delivery of what shapes up as a harsh Budget.

And the focus switches to Overseas matters, with travel on the Agendas of many. And FTA’s and crucial visits to Japan, South Korea and China for the PM himself.

All against the terrible backdrop of the missing Malaysian aeroplane. Credit goes to all Australians thus far involved and to those from several countries who have assisted. It is to be hoped we can find the answer.

Interest rates have held steady and allows business nerve to do likewise.

The outlook is still not bright.

The stalling in Canberra of reforms for which the new Government rightfully claims a mandate, suggests to me that our system is plain dumb.If we elect one House of Reps ;then surely there should be some timing to serve the National  interest rather than this malaise. Worsened by the WA farce.

April is a month where manufacturers, in particular, struggle with 3 x 4 day weeks, with costs having to be apportioned. Yet nothing will , or ever should, stop Australia paying respect on ANZAC Day. It is the spirit of those who went before and those who protect us today, which is needed as the example of the fortitude required in all aspects of this increasingly crazy world where there appears to be no place to hide ,….yet we struggle to try to work out how we can lose an airline jet.

When you read the above, it is difficult to assimilate policy to practicality and that explains to me the unexpected. For example why has a talent, identified in my blogs before, like Paul Howes jumped off the Union ship?

Like many  he faces decisions to make to secure the future whilst wrestling with both the past and present.

April it may be but this is no time for fools.

AW

CHOOKS COME HOME TO ROOST
March 2014

As the footie returns and our cricketers have farewelled summer proudly,  all seems well with the world. But, of course, it is not and we could spend hours debating the myriad of issues which have occurred throughout the past month.

I propose however to deal with one. Australian employment.

Jobs are disappearing at a frightening rate. The only surprise is why anyone would be surprised.

A few years ago, I was  locked in a stalled EBA negotiation after being  hauled before the “Fair Work Commission”.
To describe the process as ridiculous is polite. The Commissioner, until challenged, was offensively one sided. The attitude of uninformed Union officials clearly surprised even some on their side of the table. For the record, the EBA was finally settled with a massive majority vote in favour of the Company’s position.
That insight left an indelible impression upon me . The word “respect” was completely absent.

And “flipping the burger”,  respect is absent when our national airline, which I proudly insist on flying whenever possible, sweepingly announces 5,000 job cuts. The random, unidentified figure, is not only cruel. It frightens the whole employee base.

I have stated before, responsibility for Australia’s growing issues competing in the changing world, don’t belong on the shop floor, or even further up the food chain. The responsibility belongs from the top down. Too often lazy, perk driven management needs to  remind themselves that  ‘example filters downwards’ This does not excuse some of the conduct ingrained in the attitudes of some, out of control, employees.

Returning to the Fair Work case, I shall never forget the Commissioner, a former  trade union official, being  late for the hearing, walking in with the other side’s head, a current trade union leader and opening with comments that  included references to “you people”.

The victims of all this are the majority who fall in between this ego manic game playing. The (more than) average Australian who, by the by, see their future well-being, including superannuation,  propping up the armies of suits who rotate their futures whilst purporting to work hard until the next trendy new lunch venue must be visited.

And at the same time  this unacceptable hypocrisy is represented and repeated in our Nation’s capital.

The PM, given an overwhelming  mandate, is being held up by an Opposition Leader he describes as “ running a protection racket to protect a protection racket”.

Meanwhile we have to watch the unacceptable sight of a Government stalled for the first 30% of its whole term by a Senate, which along the way, holds what they call “Estimates” where a cowardly bully, masquerading as a Politician, offends a heroic leader of our superb service personnel. Our Defence Forces have for decades lead the way by example in this country.

This Senator, with failure after failure, has no right to expect a role in the management of this Nation’s future. Along with those who consider the protection of our Borders as a political football; and by association, those poor people who are conned into risking their lives to line the pockets of corrupt murderers.

And some of the headless chooks who are given leave to comment don’t know the difference between a Government programme and a TV series. One of whom should walk the walk out of her cushy protected existence and break a sweat in the real world.

It is ironic that, during the month of International Women’s Day, with Australia home to so many magnificent individuals increasing their role, rightly so, as leaders in all walks of life, one of the most consistent voices we hear is that of someone who appears as a closeted, ideologically fanatical opportunist.

There are some bright lights on the horizon. Paul Howes signalled that reality has dawned. Refer his recent call for reforms.

What people might like to dig into are the real roles played by this real world operator and his then boss, during the Tasmanian miners horror. I am  referring again to the now leader of the Opposition, “No, No, No, No, Yes, Bill” who  bears an uncanny resemblance to a character in the “The Vicar of Dibley” TV show. Perhaps he could have SHJ cast as Alice from the same show! Anything that brings jobs to Australians! As Cate Blanchett has proven yet again, Australians can lead the world in any industry or activity , we apply ourselves to.

So, whilst I try to make light of a serious situation , it is surely time for us all to accept we are in trouble.

Over governed, underperforming, lacking in work ethic, ……too many of us across all walks of life need to work harder, accept the challenge, respect the competition and most of all, face reality.

Because until we do, things will get worse.
Reality is biting.
Perhaps we need to think radically and be as outspoken as this blog deliberately is in part.

This land; those who farm it, defend it and those who commit themselves to it, deserve success.

We are seeing too many failures.

Example filters downwards. Leaders, now is the time to step forward. Do not let fear hold you back.

Well done Paul Howes. Well said Jeff Kennett, who recently brought to account two infantile journalists who thought it smart to joke about frequent flyer points whilst supposedly discussing the potential loss of thousands of jobs…you can bet mostly by people who don’t enjoy the luxury of frequent flyer programmes .

I remain positive because I believe the real Australian is continuing to evolve and recognise the challenge.
Those who have their own agendas, please move aside and let us get on with taking on the rest of the world.

Until that happens the Chooks will continue to come home to roost, but too many yokes are cracking and as a result productivity is down and redundancy up.

Until next month speaking of chooks…Go The Roosters!

Alan Williamson

 

VALENTINES DAY MASSACRE?

LETS HOPE NOT.

7th February 2014

Don’t expect this to be the season of love all around.

As Parliament returns with the Senate change clock ticking louder,  a leading up and coming Trade Union leader is  appearing to usurp the Labor Opposition leader, himself a former Head of the National Trade Union movement , up against a Government, emboldened by the  apparent success in turning back the boats, using this to flex their collective muscles; notably one of their initial major acts in 2014 being to challenge the assumptions that Australians can expect to continue to  drink from the Government well.

Widely recognised as a stand out performer post-election, the PM’s close mate and ally, the Treasurer, is combining with the tough , unshakeable, PM to commence stamping the imprimatur of the Abbott years.

And from everything we have so far seen and heard in recent times, there could be tough years ahead.

Fractures within the Governing coalition won’t help their image.

It is notable that a major business website so often opens with political commentary. A sign of the impact Government has on our lives. We might object to it, but don’t we through our  expectations invite it?

Employers are not shouting confidence from the rooftops. A dollar down almost 20% has suddenly not produced the bonanza we were supposedly being denied.

And harsh climate occurrences in some vital Agribusiness areas are producing strains on that sector.

All the while the number of new mining and energy projects appear to be diminishing. Indeed reading closely between the lines…any alternative is being sought, some quite frighteningly in first world economies, due to our high wages and excessive on-costs.

Following all this, the post-Christmas  and New Year sales figures for Retailers will deliver sobering news for some, hopefully encouragement for others, as the time to accept the furious pace of change in retailing comes to the fore.

Thankfully we still have a few public figures who, in getting reality and fiction blurred, can make us smile and our sporting stocks are on the rise with the Poms sent packing, with their bums well and truly smacked.

However the seriousness of what all this means for employment, debt and our children’s future should not be a laughing matter.

This blog site has consistently urged all who can to contribute bravely and sensibly to our economic welfare. We remain a lucky country but we may well have ridden our luck in some instances to the point where we now require skill and courage,rather than a ‘she’ll be right mate’ attitude.

A month for romantics maybe…but perhaps just limit it to the 14 th, then return to the many challenges ahead.

Alan Williamson.

 

ARE YOU READY?

7th January, 2014

 

A recent meeting brought home to me the impact that the globalization of the manufacturing economy, together with the E Commerce, is having on Retail sales.

New products must include E Commerce, as a key platform.

For a dinosaur like the author on the personal front, this reconfirms to me the growing importance of competent IT marketing personnel.

All of this adds up to CHANGE.

And as the new year has broken so CHANGE has already reared its head.

Free Trade Agreement negotiations are apace. The slightly weakening dollar leads us to speculate about Export opportunities and a readjustment of our Economies dynamics. Foreign ownership is a curve ball any Government is finding difficult to handle with the balancing act of pure economics against outright political considerations. Let us hope our obsession with too many layers of Government and Statutory Authorities and the subsequent election cycles, do not leave us wallowing whilst others move ahead, adapting to change, whilst allowed more time to do so.

Are we ready?

Ready to face the fact that the new calendar year has commenced and soon the half-year financial results will be clear?

As ever, there will be highs and lows…for the lows the challenge is to accept the need to improve…whilst also accepting that maybe the pace of our world today does not afford us the luxury of the duration previously tolerated to turn things around.

Throughout December I made an effort to increase  commercial interaction person to person, plus socially, to gauge as much as possible the mood  predominantly of  Australian business people.

The vast majority recognize, almost without exception, that in some form there is a need to change.

ARE YOU READY?”

If so, you could well be in for what I wish you; a Happy New Year!

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON

9th December 2013

 

Might not be, if you work in the aviation or automotive sectors.

 

This debate has a way to go yet however I am surprised that the political nuances remain unidentified by so many.

Let’s leave it with the observation that yet again we have proof of an increasing reliance on Government in areas where some might suggest are best served by the free market.

What I prefer to do is cry foul over the ongoing repetition that our main problem is labour cost and productivity.

Costs yes, especially when you add the on costs , perks and in some cases downright nonsensical red tape.

But productivity? No!

For a dozen years I proudly headed a predominantly regional manufacturer in Victoria and the productivity increased every single year.

What failed at times and not exclusive to that business, was its management practices.

Dare I suggest some those commentators should take a look at ‘ the suits’ and what they bring to the bottom line, compared to the ‘blue collars’.

 

Again, I warn as a new year looms.

Face reality head on.

And reality is that there is Commonwealth Government belt tightening.

State Governments do much but can no longer play the minority card; we need every ounce of support we can get.

 

If we are not careful Retailers will reel out of the holidays rather than propel into the New Year.

Manufacturing will suffer a supreme loss of confidence.

The Australian financial sector will become even more careful in comparing us with  to overseas.

 

And the regions will suffer as the Infrastructure PM, a man of his word, manages expectations against a backdrop of this Government being

prepared  to tear up what it sees as the previous Government’s irresponsibility.

 

And so we look for catalysts of change and positivity.

More Leaders need to be found.

A good leader needs to be a team player who brings out the best in the team and not necessarily be the best in the team.

Once again,don’t let fear hold you back.

Enjoy the holidays. This is after all a Paradise on earth…just don’t stay away from the imminent challenges for too long.

There is much work to be done !

 

THE INFRASTRUCTURE PM”

19th  November 2013

 

Let’s hope so.

Returning from my most recent trip to Europe and SE Asia, I am increasingly aware that we, a country claiming to have run up debt in order to ride out the GFC,  have really missed out on the advances made in Infrastructure around other Regions.

It makes you wonder where the money went. More so when you observe the new Government, clearly cagey around expenditure and the commitments of its predecessors.

As ever, history will judge those who went before and those who walk the corridors of power now.

However, surely it is time Australia began to show its full potential and to do so I see a need to cut through layers of bureaucracy in most walks of life.

We appear obsessed with security and red tape yet just about anyone can listen to or look at anything in this space age technology Generation Y has brought on so quickly.

I confess I am almost a techno illiterate so I forge ahead, in my own way and seem to get a lot done each and every day.

And so it is Australia needs to get on with business, face the reality of change and the challenges it adds but also simply get back to work and stop talking about innovation but start innovating; don’t discuss infrastructure; build it. Recognise that whilst we sit back resting on our laurels all too often, we may still do so at home in Paradise but the rest of the world is either catching up, has caught up or has even overtaken us.

Is this not evident in the very DNA of our society; Sport ?

Goodness me, we go into the Ashes as underdogs with Poms already taunting us, as we face a fourth straight series loss.

Maybe our cricketers will start the ball rolling on a new era of ‘ have a dig’ Australian mentality.

No one can doubt this PM will. His selfless record of quiet achievement and public service proves he is worthy to lead.

The world is such a competitive place and at times against a backdrop of frightening acceptance of violent undertones, a former front row forward rugby player could well be ideal to kick start our new ambitions.

Like any leader he requires a team to lead.

Whilst he has one in Parliament House, don’t allow or depend on Politicians and Government to dominate your every move.

It’s time every Australian helped rebuild with confidence, success, decency and honesty.

Paradise needs its holistic infrastructure rebuilt, refurbished and renovated.

Plaudits to those who recognise the need for change where change brings eventual benefit.

As an example refer to Paul Howes, Head of the AWU, commenting  at the weekend on foreign investment. Recognising the carnage his own side of politics has suffered,  he has opened himself to criticism. Bravely, as he looks to promote a brave new era in Australia. In doing so, he signals what so many feel; infighting between ourselves has weakened us across so many facets of our society.

I would suggest that whilst we indeed enjoy a lifestyle like no others, we may need to sharpen our focus to reduce the emphasis on down time from the first Tuesday in November literally through until Australia Day in  late January.

We are in a mess to put it bluntly. Our national airline is under siege, as are our borders and as are many other areas, geographical and ideological.

Every Australian has a role to play; I think this PM would agree.

We have our Leader.

Time now to join the one united team, regardless of any persuasion,

Now, C’mon Aussie C’mon!

 

FORTUNE FAVOURS THE BRAVE

 4th October 2013

 

Manufacturing is boxed as one dimensional.

Yet it can require as much planning and strategy as any facet of a business.

Look now.

Economies, most notably the USA, report an upturn yet unemployment rises. The numbers employed in manufacturing are decreasing, whilst output increases.

Why?

Today’s equipment is more productive and less reliant on manual labour

 

On the flip side others who now regret the rush to relocate offshore find the apples for apples cost increasingly attractive domestically. However, so great has the trade drain been, the logistics of a full supply chain offering now being compiled in one location, it simply does not make sense to reverse the trend and so the increasingly expensive boom economies, the new super powers of manufacturing, retain business against a backdrop of increased pressures domestically.

The lesson to be taken might be for businesses to continue to protect their future by investing and believing in their own domestic capabilities.

Don’t be short sighted, or overly opportunistic

Invest in the future of those whose toil produces much of your fortune.

It is ironic as the world becomes smaller and easier to reach almost anywhere, the signs are that security of supply and demand resides closer to home.

 

And so, in Australia, we have a new Government but the electioneering goes on.

The fun begins with the Racing and Festive Season through until Australia Day.

But we need to be capable of affording the best lifestyle the globe has to offer.

And that requires hard work.

 

Australians, like many nationalities, are unafraid of breaking into a sweat.

But we need Leaders in all areas of society to afford opportunities.

 

Fortune favours the brave.

Aim up!

 

We are entering an era where social media companies are valued higher than multinational giants.

Traditional values are being challenged.

So much is unexpected.

New competition and demands coupled with ever increasing tools for people to ply their trades, traditional to new age.

 

Fortune will favour the brave.

We are fortunate that Australians are, amongst many attributes, brave!

 

And so it must be as we shape our economy and our place in what is a different world with each generation.

 

In business, sport, society and all else, we now seek our leaders to bring us good fortune into the future.

Be brave!

AW

 

HOLD YOUR HORSES

September 9th, 2013

With the election count continuing and the major result known, there will be an expectation of immediate action.

Hold your horses!

The new Cabinet has first to be determined. The election result in Indi is vital as Mirabella is considered deserved of loyalty.

Labor will struggle to convince someone to put a hand up for Leader with such a large deficit in the numbers, in addition to the fiscal one they have left for the incoming Government.

It will also be July before the Senate is more Government-friendly.

Consequently, the aggressor that is the PM elect will not wish to wait. So limited horse trading might have to take place.

However, he is also a true believer and will not sacrifice his principals – after all, he drew a line in the sand after the 2010 election and the Independents ultimately spent three years trying to convince themselves that they made the right decision by choosing Gillard (a decision that their electorates had their own comment on this last weekend).

So it is more likely the world-renowned Victorian racing festival will be the main horse action for 2013. And whilst you can rely on the new PM to pursue his commitments, patience will be required.

The positive side is that the Government bureaucrats will be freed from previous stubborn intransigence for their Ministers and able to follow new and possibly more realistic agendas.

That is not a politically biased line. Reference rather the positioning of the new Opposition already to block, block, block, despite the huge victory which has seen the Australian public turn away not only to the ruling party, but to new ones and other Independents.

What is certain is the community has identified the dream time policies formed through the cobbled enforced unity ticket in 2010 has failed to provide them with confidence in their own future.  Indeed, despite the boom Australia could and should still be enjoying, we now have to rebuild confidence as we rebuild confidence,trust and infrastructure – all the while with the funds that ought to have been allocated appropriately having gone, and further revenues scared off.

And so it is time to reign in expectations, spending, and the chaos which we have witnessed endlessly for certainly the last three (some would argue more) years.

WARTS has enjoyed unqualified success in the last few months attracting new clients to whom I always insist that they understand our integrity must be matched by theirs. We are proud to have hooked up with those we have, and retained those we already serviced.

That integrity includes brutal truths:

  • Australia has lost it’s mojo to trade as fast as it ought to in so many areas;
  • Red tape strangles ambition; providing too many hiding places from which nasty surprises spring up
  • Hidden or overt agendas too often stand in the way of those wishing to continue to base themselves and their employee base in Australia.

I know the PM elect. He is a man of enormous integrity; he will insist on the same from his Government.

Patience is a virtue and we must trust that the huge swing to his Leadership is respected – including by those who voted against him.

Changing entrenched attitudes is a big task. Not too large for this Government, but not to be expected to happen so fast either.

Once more the term Innovation takes on greater relevance Innovation needs to be truly rewarded as it can truly reward those prepared to invest in new and best practices.Time to show we truly are the smart country with ‘critical thinking at the critical time’.

I see this as THE point of difference

There are challenges everywhere Australians look.Fortunately the Digger spirit lives on as one constant no greater Authority can or would try to change. What we need is the spirit of our early pioneers as we craft the new Australia. An Australia which can look upon itself and be viewed once more with pride!

Just don’t expect it to happen overnight

Hold your horses!

 

AW

August 2013

AUGUST IS HERE

August is here.
Spring is around the corner.
Yet, there is still a chill in the air.

 

Not only the weather.

Australia’s negativity and the pain felt in commerce and some sports, is permeating through society.

This can only have an increasing effect on the economy.

It is time to listen when, for instance, the BCA take a forward outlook and the conclusions are not good. Burying analysis of past  performance also won’t work.

And it is work , employment, that fuels the economy. The signs for our Nation are not good.

We have been booming, yet the financial benefits clearly have and continue to be, squandered.

The three year electoral cycle is too short; It drives decision makers to lurch from inertia to impulsiveness.

So what does this mean for business?

It means reality is; seasons change and we must deal with the inevitable

So businesses must face both the challenges head on and act honestly with integrity. Head in the sand won’t work. Short cuts won’t work.

Tough, clinical , principled leaders will produce real results.

As August commences and our dollar falls under 90 cents, we await the next balance of trade data Real analysis might show improvements from the currency adjustment but will real term exports have increased and imports slowed?

Business leaders would do well to lead.

Not follow the political soap opera of the endless guessing game and drama riddled blame game.

Perhaps the only political leadership now is how to reinvent your presentation.

This can work for businesses also and whatever it takes to compete successfully must be identified in this increasingly competitive global market.

We were in China in July and whilst there is talk of slowdown and an increased cost base, the fact is that giant economy has enough stretch to continue to allow growth and enough foresight to continue to spend revenue on infrastructure. Akin to business reinvesting in research and innovative development.

What a tragedy if this great Nations squandering continues all for political ends and we are unable to identify or adopt some of the amazing potential available through Australian innovation.

Time for a Spring clean out!?  A fresh, refocus to restructure and strategize.

Do what’s right for the businesses, employees and all Australians.

WARTS has in a short period, attracted the engagement of several companies of varying sizes, looking for assistance to do precisely what we offer.

Real solutions to real challenges.

Don’t let fear hold you back!

 

July 2013

BUSINESS NOT POLITICS

The events in Australia’s capital will inevitably continue to arouse much discussion.
Notwithstanding the upcoming election.
Observers from within and afar are increasingly uncomplimentary about the fixation on what by now amounts to agenda driven naval gazing which has produced only one consistency.
Each new outcome invites the general negativity and dilutes almost anything seen arising from within Australia to be taken seriously.
This is tragic. Against the backdrop of ongoing sacrifice and service of our Armed Forces and many Aid organisations, Australia and its people deserve the right to be respected.

However as our sporting stars all too often are finding, the game changes fast if you hide behind controlling your own destiny by failing to be responsible for your own actions

And so it is we head into a new Financial year.
A year which we know already will offer up many challenges.
It may therefore be the ideal time to whet the appetite with a new era of considered yet brave risk takers.
As opposed to the political correctness which whilst admirable, has been hijacked and left us with too much confusion.

Business needs to face the world we operate in.
Face the realities,
And rather than adopt the ritual politics instead produce policies and practices which lead to success.

Otherwise we risk living in a fool’s paradise where we take for granted that success automatically leads to more success. Wrong!

I listened recently to a top level footballer comparing his career spanning three clubs
At one he found the success he craved
His simple comparison was at two clubs training times were set and met
At the third the starting time was set. Finish was ” when we got it right”

As the Mining and Resources sector continue to lead us, the enormous challenges now for other Industry sectors is to put in that extra application to forge success for which Australia and Australians are renowned. Yet which in recent years has been able to be challenged by observers who note assumption rather than application.

True, it matters who is elected as the Government and what the laws of the land are.

However, identify and achieve successful goals and those who make their living in the Nations many layers of bureaucracy have a vested interest in associating with success. And regardless of political persuasion are duty bound to support any appropriate success story.
As they will. They must.

For business, it’s time to push politics aside or forge right through the gaps they have created.

Australian entrepreneurs can often be associated with Australia’s finest hours, here and internationally. In business , sport, philanthropy, development etc.

Australian ethos inherently adopts responsible social practices, fair if tough implementation, and unwavering commitment to achieving the desired outcome

A team effort, to building a base where more hard work will bring even greater success and so on.

As the whole world economy wobbles, and contracts and political interference everywhere seems to stand in the way of progress, it is perhaps appropriate to recognise the stoicism of a man who spent 20 years and more imprisoned on an island for his beliefs.
Once released he galvanised as he does today and will long after he has left this life,  those who aspire to lead.

FY 2014 no more what might have been!

 

June 2013

Climate Change – business, that is!

I guess for now, we will see.

For a considerable time the high dollar has been blamed for our inability as a trading nation to export enough. Now, as the dollar drifts lower, the challenge for manufacturers and all service providers wishing to export is to prove that claim to have been correct.

To do so we will need to reveal productivity and ingenuity to match the more creative trading players in what is a Global Market. Additionally new imports will become more expensive and watch this hit home at retail, or watch it hit the retailer afraid to test the recently unchartered waters of marking prices up as opposed to down.

There comes a time when no business can afford to continue to ‘buy’ customers and it is at that point of realisation where incumbent management and policies can be sorely tested. If the team is right, then a business ought to meet the pendulum swings in trade. The positive and negative impact of a lower dollar.

But beware, ‘’old habits die hard’’ and for years already now we have dined out on an inflated dollar. As the currency and the boom sectors of the economy face several current challenges, businesses need to be fast on their feet and thoroughly prepared. By now we all know that the nation faces a high debt with the likelihood of increasingly austere government funding and spending. Businesses will be increasingly challenged to stand on their own feet.

Are you ready?

Are you able?

If you have any doubt about either of those two questions, then act now, before the cold winds of change blow through the door.

 

May 2013

Never Let Fear Hold You Back

It is understandable, given the grim tidings we hear increasingly from Canberra, to expect downturns in activity. These statements can exacerbate an already challenging outlook.

At times like this, it is vital to not simply “belt-tighten”, but to look again at forward forecasts and maintain a sense of optimism. If you believe in your own, hold steady, and if required increase the effort to achieve those forecasts. If, however, your targets appear threatened, “don’t let fear hold you back” – simply develop strategies to minimise the pain during the difficult period so you’re in a position to capitalise on new opportunities with future gains.

A look at failed (or failing) enterprises shows that the head-in-the-sand approach eventually buries businesses. When challenged by external factors, respect the confrontation rather than resenting the competition. Being honest with yourself is the only way forward, and in such scenarios too many seek an excuse, another to blame. If, for example, your competition is outsmarting you, what can you learn from them?

Responsibility filters downwards, as does example. Company heads who identify and accept this fact are those who can rightly claim to be change merchants, taking responsibility for the company’s current position and leading the team to adapt and improve, strengthening the organisation’s core whilst innovating for the future.

So, is your organisation facing tough times? They will get tougher. However, the inherent strength of the Australian economic undercurrent will always allow the brave to prosper.

 

April 2013

Control Your Own Destiny

The dollar, overseas markets, government policies, tax, labour pressures, industry positioning… there’s always a range of issues facing companies. It’s how your organisation chooses to respond that can make all the difference.

  • The dollar can work for you if it is working against you – where you lose or gain in import or export, you will gain in the counterpart
  • Overseas markets identify what they need, rather than what you want to supply – a simple but crucial truth. It is not up to the market to buy your existing goods or services, it is up to you recognise and then produce what meets their needs.
  • Government policies and taxes are inevitabilities – you need to accept them and move on
  • Labour pressures won’t change dramatically – Australian labour is expensive in global terms, but often due to the additional costs which don’t directly benefit the worker. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that high employee costs equate to high wages and that these are enough to deliver high productivity. You need to engage and motivate your workers. Australian teams have achieved so much success far beyond reasonable expectation – rather than being concerned with the high cost base, focus on building your team.
  • Industry positioning – in a global market, you need to regularly assess and identify your strengths and your weaknesses. You also need to respect the same in your competition. In reality, few businesses sit on a monopoly – and even they live in danger of building on the basis of anticipating status quo and falling victim to their own complacency.

The answer is, as always, to focus on controlling your own destiny. How? The best lie is one that looks like the truth, so don’t fool yourself or your stakeholders by pretending you have no control over the business environment.

 

WARTS – WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO MAKE THINGS HAPPEN FOR THE BUSINESS.
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