Who do you trust?
You know, there’s good reason why old sayings stick around long enough to become old sayings, and most of the time it’s because they are founded on universal truths.
This past month (alright, the past few years), the old ‘the path to hell is paved with good intentions’ has been having a shining moment. ‘I only wanted the team to have a shot of winning’; ‘I really think if big corporates pay less tax they would raise wages for ordinary working Australians’; ‘Facebook lets me catch up with old school mates, so they must care about me’; 'it's not a rort if we were told it was within the rules'; or ‘I wanted kids everywhere to know you can be a reality TV star and a really, really great President’ … okay, I may have made some of those up.
Who is there to look up to anymore?
The shift in who earns our respect and for what reasons is continuing to unfold. It’s no longer sporting heroes, or the leaders of church and state, it’s the people who are calling for change and doing something about it. It’s the Tracey Spicer’s of the world, bringing rigour and due process to calling out sexual assault in the media and television industry (and if you haven’t booked your table yet, the campaigning journo is the special guest at Give Where You Live Foundation’s BTS Admin Professionals Breakfast in May).
Or it is Naomi Wadler, Emma González and David Hogg and the other extraordinary, articulate and inspiring young people who stand at the front of the March For Our Lives movement who are inspiring others to stand up all over the world and ask their elders to cut the crap.
But seriously, seriously, good governance, good leadership, isn’t that hard (our governance expert explains plenty about it in his articles each month); it just means you have to do things the right way and to really think about the consequences of what you do. But that’s not what we’ve been seeing. It also means not just doing the things that you think people will see the right way and trying to hide what you’re really doing the rest of the time.
Are you following the Banking Royal Commission? It has all the hallmarks of Steve Smith’s mea culpa and roughly the same level of social awareness of what those outside their protected and closed-loop worlds are thinking and feeling.
Whatever it takes? I don't bunny think so!
Just last month, the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) showed Australia had dropped three places to the 16th least corrupt nation, with the fall attributed, hardly surprisingly, to factors such as government’s tightening access to information, political donations scandals, rorting revelations and the creative accounting used by companies and wealthy individuals to dance around the edges of tax law. We are, it seems, becoming dodgier. New Zealand topped the chart as being seen to be the least corrupt country.
The kids have got it right: No More!
Of course, some old sayings have remained old sayings not because of any grain of fundamental truth, but because most of us don’t think enough about what we say. ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too’ is one such chestnut. What, surely we would ask if we were thinking reasonably about it, would be the point of having cake if you can’t eat it? Or ‘guns don’t kill people’.
Or ‘nothing is free’, although that one at least can be aptly applied to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica mess, because, and it’s another one of those things that is so easy not to think about: in the world of business, if you’re getting a product and you’re not paying for it, then you are the product.
That is what Facebook is all about. You are the product. Our wants, desires, thoughts, habits and influences are all saleable to the tunes of billions of dollars.
On the upside, it’s the Easter weekend, and, regardless of your choice of words, your adherent following of, or abhorrence for, the daily news cycle, or, indeed, your taste in television, there is even more chocolate than usual around. Because every cloud has a silver lining … unless you’re diabetic or allergic or avoiding sugar…
*Sigh* again: even universal truths are never really universal. But whatever you do, watch, say, or eat, we hope you are around people who love you and that you and yours stay safe over the break … if you are getting a break … good grief. I’ve got a house to pack, so I’m offsky! Enjoy