Thursday, September 29

Multiculturalism versus Nationalism

Multiculturalism is alive and well in Australia but a friend recently told me he doesn’t think multiculturalism is appropriate, prefering a nationalistic approach to bring people together under a common culture, quoting the USA as a better example.

I do think there is a fundamental difference between Australia and the USA as the USA to my mind engenders a culture of nationalism born from a deep sense of allegiance to one’s country. That's a feeling that's not so deep rooted in Australian culture.

If you would like to read about Australia's official government policy on Multiculturalism click here

My question is “Is this realistic or appropriate for Australia ?” or are we better to follow the American model and embrace a common nationalistic purpose to represent all ethnic groups ?.

An extract of the opening gambit to goverment policy from the website is as follows: Australia is a culturally and linguistically diverse society and will remain so. The government’s multicultural policy and programs respond to this diversity, seeking to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits to all Australians. Australia’s cultural diversity is a key part of our national identity. According to the 2001 Census, 23% of Australians were born overseas. An additional 20% had at least one parent born overseas. Between us, we speak about 200 languages and practise a wide variety of religions.

The government’s multicultural policy responds to this diversity, seeking to meet the challenges and maximise the benefits, for all Australians. The key statement of the Australian Government’s multicultural policy is Multicultural Australia: United in Diversity (May 2003). It updates the 1999 New Agenda for Multicultural Australia, reaffirms its fundamental principles and sets strategic directions for multicultural policy for 2003-2006 with a specific emphasis on community harmony

I would be interested to hear what people think? Can we have both ? Is there really a distinction?

Tuesday, September 27

Quantum Self

I have just finished reading the Book “The Quantum Self” by Danah Zohar which was written in collaboration with her Psychiatrist husband Dr I N Marshall.

I would recommend the book to anyone with an interest in modern physics and its application to our “consciousness"and human nauture.

Her writing is informative and philosophical but in a conversationalist style so I found myself being swept along with her infectious enthusiasm. She makes frequent references of how she applies her philosophy to her family situation so that you feel as if you’re sitting down listening to a chat at times. Her early building blocks of thought are based upon the well known experiments of “Schrödinger’s Cat” and the duality principle of the wave and particle experiments. Its presented in a disarmingly simple way, far removed from the usual dry scientific writings connected to these experiments.

She makers frequent references to our modern day world being adversely affected by the residue of superseded Newtonian science.

What Danah introduces to us is a more enlightened philosophical view that has as its base a ”quantum leap” into the implications of “quantum mechanics” for our human future embodied within our “consciousness”.

Her conclusion is that the new physics of quantum mechanics will lead us to a unifying theory connected to the brain and our consciousness. I think it not unlike what was envisaged by (click on the blue print )Albert Schweitzer-His Life & Thought in his wonderful insight contined within his "Reverence for Life" thought philosophy. If you want to visit his webpage click here.

Its also makes me think there really are (click on the blue print ) Whispering Spheres

Wednesday, September 21

Triple Bottom Line Responsibility

Following on from my earlier posting on Ethics in Business it’s interesting to note the continued changes in emphasis that's occurring within the corporate world.

Triple bottom lime reporting is the latest buzzword. What’s meant by that is an acknowledgement of the responsibility to three different stakeholders,eg: shareholders and employees, the community and the commitment to sustainability in perpetuity for future generations.

It’s refreshing to think we can identify a work commitment to enterprises that espouse these standards of triple line bottom line reporting. That’s in stark contrast to recent events, as we witness previous CEO’s sentinced to long prison terms following convictions for fraud in a climate of greed where the very idea of sustainability never entered into the corporate culture. Corporates also have responsibilities to their local communities or countries in which they operate. The sort of organisation that needs to make sudden huge reductions in staffing is not only failing their local community, it’s also a sign of very poor management that failed to act to earlier warning signals.

It’s interesting to note recently in Australia local institutions actively discouraged investment in a US property group for ethical reasons. Whey was this? The large US property group, was in a lock out negotiations to reduce the conditions for their security employees to exclude holiday pay benefits. Leave the rate the same but take away the holiday benefits so that that amount the employees earn is a lousy annual salary of $20-$25K a year. That company in the US will be struggling to have others invest in their future property development as it’s on the nose? So hopefully investors will be interested in investing in companies that are fair to their workforce and are serious about a commitment to triple bottom line responsibility.

I have noticed in most Annual Reports these days specific mention to these 3 aspects and particularly on the question of long term sustainability. Interestingly enough, judging by results it’s also good for business. Being proud of your enterprise and liking what you do makes good business sense, just as it applies to investors. And we are all investors either directly or indirectly through super or pension funds.

But on the question of sustainability we need to press down hard on the accelerator for change as in Australia and particularly in the USA emissions are the highest per person in the world.

Click on the link lank to see how AGL is making renewable energy available to its customers to help reduce greenhouse gases.

Thursday, September 15

Fundraiser Thursday September 22

Rachael is playing at a fundraiser benefit gig next Thursday
for a friend who has MS and needs to buy a wheelchair.
Come along and help out if you can.

MS Australia on their website tells us that Multiple Sclerosis is a devastating disease, growing at the alarming rate of 8% pa. It’s affecting 3 times more women than men, with up to 1,000 new diagnoses each year in Australia, often starting with people in their 20’s.
That’s the human cost. The community cost in Australia is nearly $700 million pa.
However there is hope. MS research in Australia is poised to make important breakthroughs, that will directly counter this financial and human cost.
MS Research Australia has been established to resource these breakthroughs, and accelerate progress toward a cure for MS.
It is developing as a strategic research initiative, focusing our world-class strengths in neurobiology, immunology and epidemiology onto MS research, with a nationally, unified, collaborative research approach and best-practice governance.
View MSRA's executive director, Jeremy Wright discuss the foundations of MSRA, raising awareness, and the approach to realising MSRA's aims.'

You can view the video and read all about it on the link.
It also tels us about the cost to the community as Access Economics report—MS costs $2 billion a year in direct financial and other costs. The report confirms that the national financial cost of the disease is over $600 million every year. Nearly half (43 per cent) is the cost of informal care. Lost productivity contributes $160 million. The lost value of healthy lives adds a further $1.3 billion.

Friday, September 9

Office Scene

I commented on the fact that in my previous posting the modern office is so much different because of what’s been invented in the past 40 years.

Personal computers, personal phones, the Internet, voice and e mail, and fax facilities are now taken for granted but they didn’t exist in that form 40 years ago. Communication was largely by letter via the “typing pool” or a personal secretary who took “shorthand”. Hand written notes were much more common and most systems were either manual or partly mechanized using accounting machines to record all of the transactions onto hard copy ledger records.

Other aspects of office life then that have since disappeared include the beloved Tea Ladies, formal morning and afternoon tea breaks, sing on and sign off books, lunchtime interoffice sporting competitions, lunchtime card playing and the Friday afternoon office lunches.

My poem attempts to take you back in time to an office scene of yesteryear. When I was working then I was also studying of an evening, and having left home resided in a not so flash boarding house. It was "tough" going and I often arrived "late" for work in a crumpled mess as the poem attests.

Ode to an old office scene

An office window reflects my bleak and dreary day
Cold and frosty morning comes to visit and to stay
Faint scenes of office staff appear in the distant haze
Ghostly apparitions all take the centre stage

I am thinking of my past as feelings are not dead
As waves of pure nostalgia help to clear a fuzzy head
Enter roars of endless voices, faces from a working past
Fades to just a whisper, time to start I hear at last

The working day begins as if by starter’s gun
You start on time and end on time bit still a time for fun
Mr Smith is our captain, a step as strong as steel
Attendance Book his companion, pen upon his ear

His gaze is dignified, no compassion will he share
For anyone who signs on late or those who are not there
The time of reckoning is near, his pen is in the air
No room to sign for latecomers, they’ll face his dreaded stare

There’s a murmur in the office of a fact that’s not been missed
Poor Lindsay’s train is late again; he’s lost the sign on race
He stagers in, his face is grim, no fashion statement yet
Land ladies forget to iron his trousers and his shirts a crumpled mess

He settles into a work , to check the ledger cards
The system is manual, a checkers life 's not hard
Tea break is upon him, tea lady says gidday
Not afraid to let you know, secrets of the day

Lunchtime is a signal for people great or small
Assemble at the front desk to represent us all
Teams are chosen wisely, football teams a must
Lads return victorious to cheers, slaps and hugs

Card players are a serious lot, there is no idle chatter
Game is called 500 and the rules are all that matter

For wobehold the new recruit who joins the old brigade
Who leads back trumps to lose his partner's game
He hangs his head in sorrow, will it ever be the same
Learn by your experience and hang your head in shame

The afternoon drags slowly on; the outpu's just a trickle
Soon aal ther work is done when we hear the knock off whistle
We stand in line in time to sign, our work is truly ended
Goodbye my friend, nostalgia time, that time is now all ended

Muddled or Clear

The modern office reflects the revolution that’s taken place in the past 40 years with personal computers,the internet,e mail and faxes facilities now taken for granted. But 40 years ago communication was largely by letter via the “typing pool” or a personal secretary who took “shorthand”.

Despite theses advances in the speed and flexability of communications I am not convinced the “quality” has improved.

Charles Kovess Australia's Passion Provocateur asks the question IS THE MESSAGE YOU ARE SENDING TO OTHERS MUDDLED OR CLEAR?"I am including the full extract of his news letter here.

Dear Lindsay

A Passion Point to Ponder 6 September 2005.Welcome to the 8th Passion Point for 2005.

Our goal this year with these Passion Points is to provoke you so that your business, and the rest of your life, becomes filled with more passion, performance, and improved balance of mental,physical, and spiritual elements.


"Excuse me, but I couldn't help hearing your English" said the English voice in a foreign restaurant. Or did he say "Excuse me, but I couldn't help hearing you're English"? An English speaking man or an English man?

What a difference a "your" or "you're" can make. Similar sounding words that convey different meanings and, in this case, the difference between communication--when information is received and
understood--and miscommunication.

Miscommunication is usually unintentional, but can be frustrating as well as humorous. Consider the ad that said "Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it." Or the hotel that,in describing its wonderful views, said "Swim in our lovely pool while you drink it all in." Or the ad for the sale of a bed--"Four-poster bed, 101 years old. Perfect for antique lover." We know what they mean,they just don't say it that way.

In the difference between communication and miscommunication, punctuation plays a significant part. A recent book by UK literary editor, Lynne Truss, "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" became, perhaps
surprisingly, a worldwide best seller. Subtitled "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation", it was partly promoted by a T-shirt message, the front of which proclaimed "A woman, without her man,is nothing." The back of the shirt displayed "A woman: without her, man is nothing." Clear messages reversed through punctuation.

There is a distinct lack of punctuation in the headline "British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands"; its absence muddling the message.
Is your message muddled, or reversed? What is your clear message to the world? Just as punctuation can make a difference to the message, so can we. Do you want to make a difference? You may need to discover your passion and its message, before your are ready to communicate it, but when you do, the challenge is clear--you can communicate or complicate, and, in that, you, and punctuation, make all the difference.


"Words aren't only bombs and bullets--no, they're little gifts containing meanings." Philip R Roth (1933--), American author.

Do you mean what you say, or does the way you say it confuse?
"Language is the archive of history." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American poet, author and philosopher.

Do your strive for greater things, or simply archive them with your message? To your ongoing development of your passionate performance…

Charles Kovess
Australia's Passion Provocateur ©

Copyright- Charles B. Kovess & David J. Wood of Passionate Performance. Republication welcome provided authors are acknowledged & advised at above address. If you want to see Charles on video, or listen to audio, just go the website and follow the links.Click on the link.

For a list of keynote speech topics that Charles would love to deliver in a passionate, entertaining, provocative, and educational way to your teams, clients, or prospects, at breakfast, lunch or dinner, see below.

All 134 published Passion Points to Ponder are on our website. If you wish to review them, please visit the site. If you wish to receive a list of the 134 titles of the Passion Points please let us know.



Tuesday, September 6

From a Bourke Street Window in Melbourne

I often glance out the window in the foyer of our 13th Floor offices.
Its an interesting view of city traffic streaming in from the freeway emerging from the Westgate Bridge, to the docklands development and Spencer Street Station with its giant roof depicting the sales of a boat, to far off hazy views of Port Phillip Bay dotted with container vessels, add to a pulsating kaleidoscope of city skyline refecting endless activity.

Anthony Toomey from the property insurance area of QBE is a talented photographer and he kindly took these recent pictures from the window in the foyer just before you enter the 13th Floor.
Click on the images to see an enlarged version.
Notice the reflections from the giant roof of the Spencer Stret Rialway Station in the 2nd photo.

My poem is about the drive home from Bourke Street to the quiet Eltham suburb in the North East of Melbourne, a suburb moulded in a softer landscape of rolling hills and valley with a meandering lazy Yarra River.

Burke Street Melbourne to Eltham

Burke Street window, reflect city light- rays
City heart races in many strange ways
Time for journey , lets be off and away
Sufficient is the work for today

Rush to lifts, down 13 floors,
Rush to carpark just up 2 more
Rush to car, seatbelts now in place
Zoom out of car park, cities to face

Wait for roller door, sson out in the lane
Wait for walkers and for light change
Wait for tram, then wait for big buss
Wait for bicycle, don’t make any fuss

A city pulsating, its lights and clatter
A city so busy, for peak hour traffic
A city of sirens , sound sirens of panic
A city of beauty, congested with traffic

Time for traffic snarl, my tempers to hide
Time for good news to banish the blues
Time for sweet music, calm my mind
Time to remind my mind to be kind

I drive throught a city, lights all ablaze
Whine of the engine, din and faint haze
I make a fast move, away from the pack
Away from congestion, there's no turning back

A city pulsating, lights and it's clatter
A city so busy, rush hour traffic
A city that sonds its sirens of panic
a city of beauty congested in traffic

At last I am home, it's quiet at last
Drive in the driveway, work now past
Hello to wife, off to my yearning
Off to writing, thoughts now returning

A city pulsating, light and it's clatter
But now in my nest, my mind is at rest
Its light energy, a reflection for me
Its simply the beast, for my poetry