Allan Takes Aim Blog

Australia: a risk averse and nannie state

Posted on: 2 May 2013

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Australia: a risk averse and nannie state 

These statements might come as a surprise to people living in other countries and to those Australians who bristle if they think someone is either questioning their own long held perception of Australia as a country of rebels who constantly question authority or, suggest it is becoming a nannie state. Of the two I think the suggestion they would dislike most is suggestion two. And they would bristle at two because it would diminish Australia’s reputation as a country of opportunity that encouraged entrepreneurs prepared to take risks and also valued hard work.

Last Wednesday,1 May, what I drew from the speech at the National Press Club, Canberra, by Alex Malley CEO of the FCPA as he launched the book “Australia’s Competitiveness From Lucky Country to Competitive Country” by Professors Michael Enright and Richard Petty, was that Australia had become as conformist as the countries to which it owed much of its population, a conformity that accelerated during the sixties and seventies.

This conformity came about because the refugees and post 1945 migrants took the view that if they were to succeed in Australia they had to adopt the values and copy the prevalent life style. In effect it was a kind of cloning by example, not science. But when the sixties and seventies came their children started adopting values and lifestyles copied from US television, that many parents found difficult to accept, little realising the same thing was happening in the US, albeit on a bigger scale. And as new communication and information technology arrived society’s old parameters were tossed out and Tsunami like change overwhelmed society.

In their desire for change, thankfully not all baby boomers discarded older values Some realised they were enjoying the benefits created by the society whose values their peers were in a rush to get rid of. I should add that much of what the latter wanted to get rid of was the creation of entrepreneurs who thought Australia was really a land of opportunity.

The fact many baby boomers exhibited a mindset of beggarliness, a mindset that continues today. They thought the Government should keep them in the style they thought they deserved. Their shibboleth: Gimme!  Gimme! Gimme! And as is their wont, politicians interested more in their own future than the future of Australia, gave in to them and in the process laid the foundation for the Nannie State.

Fortunately for Australia, many of the sixties’ entrepreneurs not averse to taking a risk invested in learning the culture, work, business ethics and politics of neighbouring countries also caught up in change.

In the course of the last two decades however, Australia has begun to learn that not only has politics changed internally but also internationally with the parties we know sitting uncomfortably in the changing Australia just as our old fashioned uncles and aunties sat as society changed around them.

Party members also behave like some of our old fashioned aunties and uncles. They sit immovable and stone faced watching the world pass all the time tut-tutting that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It is also inevitable that societies keep imitating previous societies. Unfortunately, as history shows, by not adapting to change societies can become unstable and violent which is another good reason why Australia must change.

At the same time I suggest change is necessary if Australia wants to be one of Asia’s leading countries. What would help this come about is for new parties with different philosophies to current parties become established. As for the current parties they should berth their political boats in a safe harbour so that, day after day, away from the political battlefields their old warriors can while the time away fighting the same political battles.

Now you might think that what I have said has little to do with the CPA.  On one hand no but on another hand it has everything to do with the CPA. In a sense they have become Australia’ new breed of entrepreneur; they have taken the risk of setting up offices in Asia so that they can be on hand to take advantage of the situation by benefitting themselves and Australia as trade and business expand.

What will change also is the nature of Australia’s population. Perhaps Ausasian will become the description of the population as more and more people from China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia et al, marry Australians.

This leads to Education playing a leading role in the change. That said it seems to me that we should be encouraging teachers from all of these countries to come and teach not only in higher education centres but across the wide range of Australian schools.

Although unable to comment on the book and even though it is being provided to every Australian politician, state and federal, and to policymakers opinion and business leaders around the country and internationally it’s the kind of book that a philanthropist should consider purchasing on behalf of high schools and colleges.

Comment welcome.     



7 Responses to "Australia: a risk averse and nannie state"

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