Sunday, 30 April 2017

Educate Authenticity

I wish I could do that.
I could never do that.
If only I could.

What is it about us that allows one person to leave their job, pack up their family and go exploring around the world for two years while most of us would never contemplate such an adventure, no matter how much we might like to?

What is it that makes someone comfortable to throw in their exciting executive life to start up a new business in an unrelated sector?

What is it that drives the likes of Elon Musk to risk losing the Billions he made over two start up enterprises and set up the high-risk business of manufacturing and launching space vehicles, not to mention electric cars.

Those who take such so-called risks are often admired, sometimes criticised, have their wisdom questioned and their stories listened to.

What is it about such people?

Surely their upbringing has much to do with it. So many of us are constantly told as children to “not” do this, to “stop” doing that. We are programmed to study hard, get good marks, go to University and have a successful career.

We might back pack through Asia between Year 12 and starting University or after we qualify and before we start a job, but this is like a final fling before the real world engulfs us.

Our parents, and us as parents just about always say to our Children that we don’t care what they do as long as they are happy doing it. However, when this was said to us, and when we say to our children, it is almost always with the overlay of a very traditional, defined perspective of what a happy career looks like – the one that follows “study hard, get good marks, go to University”.

Our teachers, our lecturers, our leaders and ourselves could do well to encourage the normality of open self expression and pursuit of ideas, concepts and creativity. Imagine a community where flipping burgers to save the money to back pack through India was viewed as a legitimate educative thing to do.

Further, imagine the impact of having such a person as part of our education system to teach the creative licence that such an experience provides and therefore encourage others to pursue their ideas. Imagine legitimising the so called “unusual” so that it became mainstream.

We would have adventurers but we would also end up with our professions and trades filled with people who really want to be Lawyers, Plumbers, Doctors, Motor Mechanics, Computer Scientists, Builders, Accountants, Shop Assistants. In reality, we have very many professionals and tradespeople who are doing what they are doing because it was expected of them or they viewed this as their only option.

Imagine the positive impact of our schools and universities being filled with educators who really wanted to be there, who retained their idealism of education, who lacked the cynicism of so many of our over managed, over prescribed educators of today. Imagine giving our educators the freedom to express and to promote the setting of individual goals as legitimate no matter what these are, and us as parents supporting this.

Idealistic – totally. But who can honestly say they pursued a career path they dreamed about and it has delivered?

Finally, who would like to live in a society, in communities, in families where the following phrases are obsolete?

I wish I could do that.
I could never do that.
If only I could.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Reading - How and Why?

What sort of reader are you?

I have become fascinated by how different people approach their reading.

What I mean by this is, some of us will have two or more books we are reading at any one time.

A work colleague has recommended several books for me to read. They are, ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’ by Vishen Lakhiani and ‘The Life Changing Magic of NOT GIVING A F*ck’ by Sarah Knight.

Both books have been interesting, educational, thought provoking and confronting. In many ways, each book has been affirming too.

While both books were thought provoking, it was another reading related conversation with my colleague that has motivated this article.

I suggested a book for her (my work colleague) to read - ‘GUT – The Inside Story of the Bodies Most Underrated Organ’ by Giulia Enders. We had a brief conversation and she said she would add it to the books she is reading at the moment. During this discussion, she revealed that at any one time, she has 5 or more books that are partly read and she selects basically at random to read a little of.

What interested me about this is how different this reading approach is to what I do.

I am what might be called an “obsessive” reader. I start a book and become obsessed with the concept of starting another book before I have finished what I am reading is completely foreign.

In fact, when I start a book, it becomes an almost “life focus” and reading it is prioritised over many other things, eating, work, socialising, writing, and so the list goes on. I am notorious for reading late in to the night, and even going sleepless as I become engrossed in a book, obsessed with a book to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

I love international plane travel. A flight to Los Angeles is a luxury as it gives me about 13 hours of largely uninterrupted reading time. Dubai is even better as this is about 15 hours all up. I once flew from Paris to Dubai and when day light disappeared I realised there was a faulty overhead reading light. The flight crew recognised my dilemma and allowed me to sit on one of the flight crew seats adjacent to the galley, giving me good light to read.

I have to confess, that my reading was interrupted by way of being able to overhear some simply amazing chat between the flight crew. Their chat was most entertaining and some of it was unbelievable.

The idea of having more than one book partly read at any given time is not something I can conceive at all. I find it extraordinary.

How do you decide which book to pick up and read? Do you always select the same book at night and is the Saturday morning book always the same?

Maybe it is a little like selecting music. Like me, I am sure you make a music choice based on your mood at the time, your current emotional state of mind or the emotional state of mind you want to achieve. Music is, whether we realise it or not, a huge emotional influence. (as I write, I am listening to “Uluru” by Tony O’Connor). Becoming aware of the emotions different music can impact is quite powerful, but that is a topic for another day.

Back to reading, how do you choose what to read when you have two or more books partly read at the one time. To me, it would be like deciding which child you love most – well, that might be a bit extreme but hopefully you get the point.

When I decide to start a book, I have to protect myself against my obsessive reading tendency. I have to be mindful that once I start the book, it will overwhelm many other things in my life until it is completed. I have been known to pick up a book at 7pm, read for 8 hours, sleep for 2 hours and read again for 5 hours. (all too often). Given my reading will be prioritised over many other things, I need to discipline myself before starting a book to ensuring I have the space to read it, hence my love of a long-distance flight. (don’t even think of starting a conversation with me on a plane).

But back to the subject. I realise my “obsessive” reading approach may be considered a little extreme. However, how does someone manage having more than one book partly read at any given time?

I am interested in feedback.

What is your reading style? Is it multiple books at once, or one at a time.

Is it obsessive like me, or more “balanced”?

Do you digest your reading in big chunks or take your reading in small bit sized pieces?

Really, I would like to know. Please comment on this post, comment or reply on Twitter or Facebook, direct message me, email or text.

I also almost exclusively read non-fiction. Do you consider yourself a fiction or non-fiction reader, or do you seamlessly switch between the two?

I look forward to your input – and will value it greatly.

Government Absurdity - May Day

1 May in 2017 is May Day public Holiday in Queensland. Some States call it Labour Day.

The occasion remembers the granting on 1 May 1884 of the 8 hour working day, dividing each day equally in to 8 hours of work, rest and play, hence being called May Day.

For me, the occasion is also a reminder of Government absurdity.

The Queensland Government under Premier Anna Bligh wanted a more even spread of public holidays throughout the year believing too many were in the first half of the year. There was some merit to this.

This was achieved by moving the Queen’s Birthday holiday to October. While some traditionalists and a few Monarchists complained, the general acceptance  was the holiday designated “Queens Birthday” has nothing to do with “Her” birthday. Interestingly, this public holiday occurs when it does due to the high probability of reasonable weather in the Northern Hemisphere.

Getting back to Government absurdity.

The Government changed in March 2012 when the Campbell Newman led LNP won in a landslide.

There had been a bitter campaign with much personal abuse and mudslinging, however the size of the victory was such that there was much optimism about the potential reform that would follow.

Getting down to work meant addressing spiralling State Debt and interest liabilities, shortening wait times in Public Hospitals and initiating infrastructure projects, at least you would think that would be the priority.

But no, Premier Newman announced the swapping of the May Day and Queens Birthday Holidays meaning May Day would be celebrated in October.

In my view, this was an act of sheer hatred and unnecessary bastardry. If the Government had an issue with the Queen’s Birthday Holiday not being in June, move it.  In my opinion, prioritising this action deliberately upsetting traditional Labour Supporters and Unionists symbolised pettiness and absurdity. It also set the tone for a Government which would be thrown out less than 3 years later with a reputation for not caring, poor communication and recklessness.

Enjoy May Day Queensland

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Lessons Learned - So Far

Thursday and day 10 of my self-imposed challenge to write something every day for 30 consecutive days.

When announcing this challenge, I did not commit to actually posting the finished product, however I have so far done so and suspect I will continue to do so.

My reason for setting myself this challenge was to the practice the habit of regular writing. It was to feel the difficulty, the pressure that comes with producing something each and every day.

I was also interested to see if it became easier, more instinctive, more intuitive as each day passed.

What I have realised so far is it has become harder, but not in the way I imagined.

I thought I would run out of ideas, run out of topics to write about.

The reality has been quite different, and this is surprisingly much harder.

As each day passes, I have more and more ideas present for an article.

In the first few days it was easier – one idea, one article.

With an ever-increasing number of daily ideas comes a need to prioritise based on what might interest me or what I feel most strongly about.

I find myself starting an article on one topic, abandoning it and moving to another, and then another. The idea for this article materialised today after having started (and abandoned) 4 articles all of quite diverse topics.

I had a lunch meeting today with a colleague (and friend) some 20 years my junior. We discussed a number of things including treating the brain as a muscle. The more it is exercised, the better it becomes and specifically, targeted exercise, targets specific areas of improvement.

Perhaps I am experiencing evidence of this.

In just 10 days, my awareness of potential writing ideas is much sharper than it was, much, much sharper.

The variety of approaches that can be taken to an article covering one topic has grown, the different angles, conclusion and even challenges has grown tenfold. The result is each article taking far longer than the last, and not necessarily with a better quality outcome.

I appreciated the feedback that has been provided, the good and the constructive.

One area where my writing “exercise” has not improved is proof reading. Spelling errors and grammatical short comings continue to flow through to my initial posts.

A huge thank you to Toula Ainalis for her daily diligence and gentle feedback as to what can be “improved”. My objective over the remainder of this challenge is to have at least one article with no corrections. Much appreciated Toula.

My goal for the next 5 days is to better assess my ideas and make a single decision as to the day’s topic and then to stick to it no matter what.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Contest the Ideas

When did Politics around the World cease to be a contest of ideas?

When did Politics in Australia cease to have conviction?

When did our Politicians cease to stand for something?

The Hawke/Keating and Howard/Costello Governments played the Politics hard, very hard but they also developed ideas and executed policy.

I am not going to argue the merits of one or the other, just that they “did stuff”.

The move away from “ideas and policy execution” started with the Governments of Rudd and Gillard and has been continued, you might say perfected, by Abbott and Turnbull.

A few years ago, a friend and member of the Labour Party attended the State Conference for the first and what became last time. She came away both disillusioned and educated.

In simple terms, she explained to me the extreme difficulty the Party has reconciling the huge difference between the ideological extremes the party has to navigate. She explained the space between the right of the party and the hard left, and the pragmatic and the idealists, made achieving and keeping Government very challenging.

On the Liberal side, we are increasingly seeing the same, but opposite. The far right of the party and the moderates or “small L” Liberals are also separated by a great divide of equal magnitude.

In both Parties, the tendency has been to concentrate on “not upsetting” the different groups rather than standing for what is believed and allowing reasoned debate to win the day. The result has been to do nothing of conviction.

How do we get back to a contest of ideas and policy where we have Politicians arguing for our support based on what they believe in.

The Australian Conservatives Party has today achieved some substance with Family First folding in to it.

I would like to see the hard right members of the Liberal party leave and join forces with One Nation and the Australian Conservatives.

I would like to see the hard left or socialist left of the Labour Party join forces with the Greens.

This would leave four Parties of Politicians free to argue their beliefs and to develop ideas and policies based on their beliefs. Let’s call it – their conviction.

I mean, does anyone really believe Malcolm Turnbull supports new coal fired power stations?

Does anyone really believe Bill Shorten doesn’t want to investigate and eliminate alleged illegal behaviour of Union officials?

For example, I would like to see;-
  • Tony Abbott free to argue his case for significant reform of work practices,
  • Malcolm Turnbull support same sex marriage,
  • Bill Shorten promote responsible industrial labour reforms and Richard Natalie arguing to significantly increase migration.
Being able to present their ideas and policy without the need to appease highly diverse party factions would be refreshing and valuable. We, the public would be better informed and have a clear choice to make come Election Day. Instead of being told what we want, we would vote for what we want.

Any chance this will happen?


Just take a look at who is in the big office in the White House as proof that anything can happen.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

You Can Change the World - Launching "The Trickle Up Phenomenon"

ANZAC Day, 2017.

102 years ago, the ANZAC forces stormed the beach at Gallipoli.
We in Australia commemorate this day honouring it with a Public Holiday.
102 years on, we honour the bravery of so many young Men, rowing, running, climbing and fighting. We remember the 800 who lost their lives, and the subsequent loss of 8000 lives on that Peninsula in a far-off land. We honour Women that nursed the wounded.
We reflect on the subsequent losses of life and heroic deeds of the ANZAC and Allies throughout Europe, in conditions far worse than encountered at Gallipoli and in fighting far more brutal, dangerous and costly than anything imagined in Turkey.
We also honour those who have served in every theatre of battle since the Great War, the one that was to end all wars.
In many press articles, radio interviews and TV programs leading up to ANZAC Day, much is made of the deeds of the fighting men. Much is also made of the tactical ineptitude of the Commanders and their need to satisfy their political masters. A little is made of the motivation of the Political leaders to present a story to an electorate that will allow them to be re-elected.
This is an over simplification but it seems to me that Wars start and escalate due to a need to feed leader egos, justified by the support of, or need to destroy, a religious idealism.
I don’t pretend to understand religious differences. I have a broad understanding of Christianity and its basis. I understand the Protestants and Catholics worship the same God and read pretty much the same Bible. However, I have no idea what their differences are and why people have died supporting their side of the argument. Could they have not put aside their egos and had a chat. Surely the end objective is the same.
Germany in the 1930's used the Jewish as a lightning rod to excite the masses, but I don’t really understand what their religious Sin was supposed to be. They were a convenient target to motivate an uprising of popular support by a general public still struggling to recover after the first war and a worldwide financial depression.
We are meant to be an intelligent, pragmatic, creative, informed, educated and intelligent society, so why are we incapable of learning from the past?
Why are we still turning to State mandated violence to satisfy individual egos largely under the banner of religious righteousness?
Why do we so quickly default to killing each other to resolve differences.
North Korea is a problem, but to North Korea, we are the problem. Let’s talk not fight. Let’s remove the egos.
And we can all make a difference. We can all set an example. We can start the momentum and a “trickle up” phenomenon
Chances are we all have friends, past friends, acquaintances, colleagues and associates in our lives, in our world, who we have had a disagreement with, or we feel at some stage to have been “wronged by”. We may even not recall just what it was.
What has allowed these relationship breakdowns to manifest? Chances are it is our ego.
It is easy to do so today and far less confrontational than it was even 10 years ago. We can text and e-mail. We can message on a variety of media, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook just to name a few. Of course, a phone call or letter still works.
If you want motivation, re-visit the story of Eric Lomax and his forgiving of torturer Takashi Nagase. If Eric can forgive, surely, we can. * #

We can all make a difference. We can build what I am calling the "Trickle Up Phenomenon" by taking action within our own environs. We can re-establish relationships and friendships by casting aside the negative, restrictive and ultimately self-harming elements of our egos, initiating the first move and taking action.

We can go out in to our 0wn world and talk about the trickle up concept and encourage others to participate. We can provide an example to our leaders that bi-partisanship is a better way to finding common ground, giving and taking defines strength and seeking commonality rather than conflict is the way of the future.

After all, whatever is going on at the moment is not working

We can change the world by understanding and learning from the past and taking honest action within our own paradigm. We can contribute or we can wait for others to do whatever they decide to do and accept the consequences.

Look around you, look at the world around you.  What have we got to lose?

Let’s end on a negative. What is the worst thing that can happen?


*Eric Lomax is clear that while he forgives, he doesn’t forget

# The story is told in the Book by Eric Lomax, subsequently made in to a film, both titled The Railway Man.



Monday, 24 April 2017

Coffee Relationship

What is your relationship with coffee?

My first sip of coffee was in October 2010, on a Sunday morning in a Café in Rue de Rivoli, Paris.

I had been a lifetime committed tea drinker 'wearing' the fact I had never ever having had as a “badge of honour”.

I was well aware France and in particular Paris, is not known for good coffee. My debut was a “Café Creame” which is French for a Latte.

I decided to have a coffee as a celebration of the end of a wonderful 4 weeks cycling in France and Switzerland.

My second ever coffee was another Café Creame, this time in 2012 after cycling to the summit of Alpe d’Huez, an iconic climb (for a cyclist) in the French Alps.

I would joke that “I only drink coffee in France”.

My son convinced me to try a coffee at one of the best purveyors of coffee in Brisbane and after having several over a few weeks, I switched from Latte’s to Long Black and have never looked back. I do also splurge on the occasional Espresso or Long Macchiato

I quickly became somewhat a coffee snob. I have two suburban preferred outlets and four city venues. I have a preference for single origin options.

I have attended a 'one on one' introduction to being a Barista and discovered what a difference the coarseness of the bean grind and pour times make.

I can look at a Barista at work and critique their technique, purge consistency and the like.

I enjoy discussing different beans and the characteristics applicable to different countries.

My relationship with coffee, defined by the discussions I have and the analysis I enter in to is reminiscent of another relationship I nurtured between the the ages of 30 and 40 – my relationship with Red Wine.

Fortunately, I can take or leave both, although, if pushed, I think I enjoy coffee in my 50’s more than I enjoyed Red Wine in my 30’s.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Tony Abbott to Return as Prime Minister?

I caught up with a friend of 30 plus years yesterday.

We manage a coffee catch up every few weeks and on the occasions we connect on a weekend, it commonly extends for some hours and far too many coffees.

We share common interests including cricket, the industry we both work in, music and politics.

His move towards conservatism commenced with a very small step some 40 years ago when he ceased being a full time musician to join the then SGIO. His time as a professional musician was not without some success. His band recorded several records and achieved modest sales. He was the drummer in the Hoadley Battle of the Bands state winners and national runners up back in 1960something.

About 5 years ago he returned to music and is a member of a weekend warrior covers band.

We both wonder at the inability of modern day fast bowlers to achieve consistent line and length and ponder the benefits or otherwise of such strict coaching of young players often at the expense of natural flair and creativity.

The small step towards conservatism taken all those years ago has continued to gather momentum and this inevitably drives the more colourful content of our conversations.

He is of the view that Tony Abbott is one of our truly great Prime Ministers. I was amused when he said as Prime Minister he fulfilled his three key election promises and when I ask what they were, he could not name them. With some goading, he did recall “stop the boats”.

He cites the 2014 budget as being one of the most innovative of all time and is retrospectively being acknowledged as being so. He admits it was poorly sold but that is the medias fault, not Tony’s.

I put it to him that Malcolm Turnbull has managed to get more of the 2014 budget legislated than Abbott did and he went quiet when I supported my statement with evidence.

He believes in gaining information via what he swears is “balanced media” citing 4BC and Sky as evidence of reliable and balanced sources of information.

A report last week that Malcolm Turnbull stepped in to save Tony Abbott’s seat was addressed by him as being rubbish. He added that this story was leaked by Malcolm Turnbull. I suggested it could not be both rubbish and leaked.

As evidence of his view on the lack of validity of the report he referenced Tony’s 62% two party preferred result in his seat. I abandoned my attempt to discuss the preferential voting system when he admitted he did not know how it worked

However, it was this very story that had me thinking. Purely by accident, I heard analysis about the “saving of Tony Abbott” on the radio by two very different commentators. One was on Radio National where the commentator made the point that the Prime Minister wasn’t motivated by saving his predecessor as much as by saving himself; after all he achieved a one seat victory.

The second commentator was the 4BC breakfast host who was very clear that the entire story was a beat up.

If we consume our ‘balanced media’ from a single source, we are likely to be strongly influenced by that source. Also, we may well be inclined to select the media outlets that best supports what we fundamentally want to believe. This applies equally to the ‘left’ the ‘right’ and the ‘centre’.

We need a strong and diversified media across all medias. We need diversified ownership and diversified cultural influences. Above all, we need a strong, well-funded National Broadcaster.

My major concern is the latter, the National Broadcaster, is likely to be the first casualty. It is somewhat wounded right now, wounds inflicted by the current Prime Minister. However, the leader of the Opposition has been careful not to commit to restoring proper funding in Government.

Maybe Tony Abbott was a great Prime Minister and maybe he is set for a return to the job and maybe I am just listening and watching the wrong media. Perhaps the view so passionately held by my long term friend is representative of popular public opinion.
Is it?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

ANZAC and the AFL

ANZAC day is a special day on the Australian and New Zealand calendar.

Some 20 years ago, Kevin Sheedy, then coach of AFL powerhouse club Essendon collaborated with Collingwood to play each other every ANZAC day. He garnered the support of the RSL and set up what has become a wonderful commemorative event.

Both clubs committed to playing each ANZAC day irrespective of the day of the week and how many days they had since their last game and before their next.

The game day pre-match ANZAC ceremony is moving and has contributed to many young people learning the story of ANZAC and growing to respect the deeds of the past.

The success of the ANZAC day game has been the source of jealously by other clubs. The enthusiasm for other clubs to get a share of the action has in my opinion resulted in the AFL disrespecting the history of ANZAC.

This round of AFL commenced on Thursday 21 April with a game in Adelaide between Port Adelaide and Carlton. There was a pre-game ANZAC ceremony including a minute of silence and the playing by a single bugle of the Last Post.

ANZAC is a full 4 days away. I have mixed emotions as to the appropriateness of conducting such a ceremony of ANZAC remembrance on a day other than 25 April and similar ceremonies will precede all games played in this round of AFL games.

Is it dis-respectful or in a strange way “commercialising” ANZAC?

Alternatively, is conducting the event across all AFL rounds extending the education of the ANZAC story across all ages and the diversity of cultures that come together in support and appreciation of our indigenous football code?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Retail Evolution or Revolution?

I visited Chermside Shopping Centre a weekend or two ago which in itself is not all that extraordinary.

Like many centres around the country, Chermside seems to be in a constant state of re-building and expansion. More stores, larger stores, more food to be sold and new, diverse food outlets.

I walked through the new area and sure, it was fine. JB HiFi had moved to a larger outlet, as had Kathmandu. Nike joins Adidas as specialist stores, the later having moved from the older area of the centre.

However, are there really that many more people, with the necessary disposable income or credit card capacity to justify this continual expansion.

In the subsequent weeks, several retailers announced disappointing sales figures and others announced update, reduced sales expectations for this year.

On-line sales continue to grow meaning many of our retail sales dollars are passing by traditional shopping centres.

And then Amazon announce they are taking on Australia, aggressively, warehousing goods on shore for delivery, quickly and cheaply. Amazon not only have a history of expansion success (see Spain for example), they research and plan meticulously, invest heavily and execute superbly and dare I say quite ruthlessly. The commit for the long term – they do it properly.

In Australia last year, on-line sales reached $20.8 billion, an increase of 14.2% over the previous year (source National Australia Bank Research).

According to Nielsen Omnibus, 56% of all Australians say they will consider purchasing from Amazon, a figure that must cause concern for traditional retailers, and in particular electrical and clothing outlets.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Shoppers are forever attracted to more convenience when shopping.

The self service supermarkets of today, offering the convenience of everything being under the same roof superseded a time where the first stop on the shopping trip was the greengrocer for fruit and vegetables, it was then off to the butcher for meat and finally the milk bar for milk, cream, ice cream and cheese.

Speak to those “experienced” enough to remember; they will talk of a time where the shop keeper knew you by name, everyone, where the greengrocer might say the carrots are not that good today but the parsnips are superb.

At each “shop stop”, there was a chat about the news and views, the goings on up the road and the latest film showing in the picture theatre on the corner. And if in Melbourne, no conversation is complete without debating the weather.

As much as shopping was an important communication and social activity, the sheer convenience of the one stop supermarket resulted in the demise of the local speciality retailer.

We are merely seeing history repeat itself. The convenience of on-line shopping could ultimately replace much of the need for Chermside style shopping centres, and it could be quicker than we expect.

At the start of 2017, American retailers Macy’s and Sears announced the coming closure of 218 stores. Worse still, another Mall based retailer, The Limited, suddenly closed down all 250 stores with 4000 staff losing their jobs.

The impact such closures has on the Shopping Centres they occupy is potentially crippling.

Australians are known for being rapid adopters of technology and change.

Amazon launching in Australia will have an impact, and one that could change our societal culture and behaviours, quickly.



Thursday, 20 April 2017

Grandpa - Talk to Me

I would like to have a conversation with my Grandfather.

But first, let me tell you a little bit about him.

He was a most gentle man. It is impossible to imagine him as a soldier fighting in the first world war, as a signalman and a member of his beloved 28th Battalion.

He was a highly read man. A vast array of books covering diverse subjects, mainly nonfiction sat on his book shelves.

He was a school teacher who became an engineer and co-owner of a successful enterprise.

He was a most loyal family man, not only to his immediate family but extending to his sisters and his nieces.

He was a communicator, articulate and thoughtful but also an efficient user of the language.

He was an author of two books, including the history of the 28th battalion which was re-published in the early 21st century.

He had a sense of humour and could be delightfully self deprecating.

He was a devoted worker for legacy and tendered the individual memorials in Perth’s King Park of his fallen battalion comrades.

He raised funds to build a wing of the South Perth Hospital.

He married my Grandmother, a devout Catholic at a time when marriages of mixed religions were frowned upon.

He spoke fluent French courtesy of his Swiss Mother and his upbringing included time living in New York as a teenager circa 1912.

He joined the Australian Imperial Forces, lying about his age and when his intellect was identified during basic training he was offered Officer training. He refused, as the delay he believed meant the war would have passed and he would have missed out.

My memory of him was always one of a man who walked tall and proud, who looked you in the eye and spoke with the authority of carefully considered facts underpinning his opinion. He was highly intelligent and possessed a broad range of interests.

I would very much like to have a conversation with him now.

I would like to hear his view of world affairs, the so called threat posed by terrorists, the real impact of Brexit, the soon to be French and German elections and the rise of Donald Trump and all that means.

I would like the benefit of his calm considered and above all, experienced opinion which would be delivered based on fact based assumptions and with an understanding of people and their motives.

I would value his political take on what is going on in the world and why.

I would love one more conversation with Grandpa

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Domestic Violence - Education is One Part of the Solution

I am about to write about a subject of which I have no personal experience, no exposure to, or at least no awareness of any exposure via family, friends, colleagues or acquaintances.

However, it stands to reason that at some stage, I must have, but have not been aware of it.

The subject is one growing in awareness, but still one miss understood by many, myself included.

What I do know is this is a soul destroying, life destructing, family deteriorating subject and 110 lives cease to physically exist each year, while countless other lives suffer lifelong trauma.

The subject is Domestic Violence.

In Brisbane on 3rd May at 5.30pm a candle lighting ceremony will take place followed at 6 pm by the start of a 110 kilometre team relay, each kilometre symbolic of a life lost each year to Domestic Violence.

There are associated 3 k and 10 events from 6am on the morning of 4 May, coinciding with the conclusion of the 12 hour 110 k relay.

The event is to raise funds.

As important as raising funds is, I can’t help but feel raising awareness of this horrific act furthering education, and teaching empowerment is of almost equal importance.

I urge as many people as possible to come along to the candle lighting event, or join in the activities on the morning of 4 May.

More importantly though, I urge you to bring along your family, your children no matter what age. I encourage you to use this event as a means for having a conversation with your children about Domestic Violence and begin the empowering process to help equip them for dealing with this in their futures. Chances are many will be exposed to Domestic Violence, if not directly, then via a friend, colleague or associate.

Let us start to build the skills of empowerment so our children can join the movement to first slow the escalation of Domestic Violence events and then reduce and eliminate this horrific social disease.

Imagine bringing along your 6, 8 or 10 year son or daughter and explaining the significance of the 110 kilometres, or 110 candles. Enter the 3 kilometre event as a family exercise and talk about what domestic violence is and the options to address it should they ever be confronted by it.

Move forward to when your child is now 15 years of age and progressing through maturity. We can all remember our teenage years and the reliance we place upon our friends. Imagine your son or daughter becomes aware of bruising on the body of a friend, or conversation reveals violent acts in the home.

The education you provided your child using the Darkness to Daylight event as the conduit to do so, could easily result in them supporting their 15 year old friend to take action, seek support and to not be alone.

Empowering your children through education could literally save a physical life. Literally save their own life.

More details about this event can be found here:

My personal involvement is as a member of a team running the 110 kilometres.

We are also fundraising and if you can’t come down but want to participate, here is our fund raising link (feel free to select my name too - Colin Morley)

One final request, if you are out and about on the night of Wednesday 3 May, can’t sleep and want to do something or you like the idea of participating and supporting a great endeavour in the late of night or small morning hours, come on down to the Southbank Cultural Forecourt, look for the QSuper annexe/tent.

One more thing, feel free to bring me a coffee – Long Black please.



Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Truth Hurts - Lies Destroy

This is a story of deception, of lies.

 It is also a story of financial mystery, of attempted corruption and cover up.

Ultimately, it a story of the potential failure of the long term partnership of husband and wife as retirement dreams melt away.

Imagine the scenario of husband and wife raising children, working hard, schooling and caring for them as only parents can before sending them off in to the world as young adults well equipped for the successes that lay ahead of them.

It is now time to consider themselves, to prioritise themselves and plan their future.

With professional advice, they put in place a 10 year plan of saving and investment with the objective of retiring from active employment as at 1 July this year. They want to travel within Australia, spoil Grand Children, perform some volunteer work, play golf and study a passion.

Regular meetings with their Adviser confirm all is on track, a little better than expected even. The future is looking good indeed.

Move forward to a few weeks ago when “he” arranges a meeting with the Adviser to ensure all is in place financially for their 1 July retirement, their first such meeting in a little over two years.

“She" independently calls the Adviser and requests he not reference the balance of her superannuation account during the meeting, he asks why?

The Adviser is shocked at what follows, has that tight nauseous feeling in his stomach, his heart.

She reveals withdrawing some $200,000 from her superannuation without her husband’s knowledge and doesn’t want him to find out. She says it was to assist a friend and while repayment had been expected already, there s no doubt it will be re-paid. 
The implication reached from this conversation is the withdrawal was a lump sum but investigations show periodical withdrawals of between $5000 and $7000 with the most common amount being $15,000. This pattern suggests the loan story is not quite right.

Where have the funds gone and what have they been used for. Is it a loan or series of loans.

What appears certain is the dream of retiring on 1 July has evaporated and along with it, the glue of trust that underpins all relationships.

The Financial Adviser has informed her he cannot pretend the money exists. 

Financial Advisers are well qualified experienced financial professionals who on the whole do a great job and help clients fund their dreams. They are not marriage councillors or consultants about behavioural matters. Well, not until 2 pm on Thursday when one I know may well have to draw on such skills.

Whatever happens, this relationship will never be the same. It may be over, it may be stronger, just never the same.



Monday, 17 April 2017

W Day

So, I call myself a “writer”.

I am studying a Journalism Degree.

But I hardly ever publish anything or submit anything for publishing.

I write often but rarely complete the article, or what I complete requires more editing. I am too often distracted.

Today I am accepting a self-challenge.  Starting tomorrow, on each of the next 30 days I will write an article and complete to my satisfaction. I may not publish it, and I may.
I have no set agenda as to what I will write about, just a commitment to write about something, honesty and to complete what I produce to a level of satisfaction that I would submit it for publishing.

What I write about will be based on an idea I have, an observation I make or a matter I feel strongly about. It may be sport related, politically motivated, environment influenced or anything at all. It could be travel inspired, health, fitness, finance, investment urbane or diet related. It may be an interview and it might even be fiction. I will not be producing content with a market in mind; I will be creating the habit of writing, of collecting ideas, or researching content.

Tomorrow, I stop calling myself a writer and I will start to become one.