Monday, March 18, 2019

Boarding houses:

There is a solution to housing stress but it requires a cultural and strategic rethink back to the days when ‘boarding houses’ were common for men and women.  They were not seen as places harbouring social pariahs, dropkicks and, to use a disgusting American expression, ‘trailer trash’.
My father was an engineer with multiple degrees and indeed world patents to his name yet he lived in a boarding house, at Kings Cross no less, whilst in his 20’s in the 20’s.  Then, there were no negative social mores associated with boarding houses.  Rather they were ‘homes’ for people who needed good accommodation with a lifestyle.  They were not last refuges for the dross.
To solve at least some of the issues we have, there needs to be a cultural shift away from owning your own Mc Mansion on lonely street to a community based lifestyle.  This is not for everyone but for those who thrive on the ‘Café’ lifestyle it could indeed be a great way of life.

GENDER Quotas:

I can’t imagine anything more demeaning to women than being treated as so intellectually stupid as to need quotas to gain employment.  The whole concept smacks of bottom up thinking by people with little thought or capacity to understand strategic reality from the top down. You can’t fix cultural issues by nibbling away at single concepts with pontificating crap from loud people with a brain mouth disconnect.
Let’s start at the top by recognising the fantastic differences between the genders.  Running project teams all over the globe I always tried to populate those teams with ½ men and ½ women but NOT based on quotas but based on the job and expertise required to do that job.  The genders think differently and act differently with each bringing their own gender based expertise and bias towards a common solution. Women are women and men are men with each celebrating their gender and biases.  This is a good thing and to be lauded.

Campaign funding:

The labour party are in the enviable position of having both ABC radio and television continually supporting ‘labour’ through hundreds of hours of obvious bias.  This through innuendo, words, pictures and indeed even through somewhat blatant jaw dropping comments.  Just watch the nightly news when so called political reporters offer opinion after opinion without fear of retribution or even accuracy.  This is the ABC’s choice but I believe it must be made clear that the ABC is working for the Labour party and the full cost of those hundreds of hours need to be charged to the labour party.   
The ABC is supposed to be independent funded by ALL Australians to reflect proper unbiased ‘reporting’ and proper ‘discussions’ supported by real ‘well educated and life experienced journalists’ [not reporters] also without bias. 
Perhaps an independent analysis of the last say 6 months would identify bias toward any party and, to be fair, any time spent for one party over any other to be charged at commercial rates.
Everyone has opinions and beliefs which shape their delivery and that’s fine as long as the listener / viewer understands the bias.  I have always been a big fan of bringing back the ‘soapbox’ where people can express ANY view without fear except for perhaps a few rotten tomatoes. Gender sedition – fine!  Celebrate racial differences – ‘fine’!  The next Martian attack – fine!!  Global cooling – fine!  Quotas which treat women as less – fine!  People are smart and can decide for themselves and weed out the crap – even with euphemistic tomatoes. 

“I’ll let you go”:

Ego driven dismissive crap used by powerless people trying to give the impression they are in control. It’s insulting and demeaning.  Don’t use it.  Don’t fall into the dross trap of self importance without substance.

Thursday, March 7, 2019


This is a story about the culture within a big 4 bank having an all pervasive internal ethos of – ‘right’. 
Thousands of employees believed they were right in everything they did because their chief executive told them so and defended their actions even though they often bent the law.  Indeed, this bank believed it was above the law because it was big and controlled money and they knew that money was everyone’s lifeblood.  It was superior and knew it was superior because everyone was always nice to them.
'You need our money' preached the bank and people queued up to borrow their dream.  After all, this was its job, to enable dreams.  Or so it said.
Their real job was to buy and sell money at a profit - perfectly commendable and natural for any big public company.  Indeed, most of us sell our time for a profit as do all the employees of the big public company / bank.
Unfortunately, some of the employees of the bank were sick the day ethics were handed out and they did things to advance their own career at the expense of reason and often ignored lawful requirements.  After all, it wasn’t their money or dreams and they knew they were right because their senior managers supported them and even encouraged them to act in bad faith.  Why be a nice guy when you can make lots of money by selling the dream then ripping the dream away – for a profit?
One day, one of the more ethically challenged employees decided, without cross checking, that a client had failed to pay a mortgage payment of circa $2,400 on his home months before.  If the employee had checked he would have realised that it was the bank that had made the blunder but fact checking was not in his mindset so he knee jerked into pious action in the absolute knowledge he could do nothing wrong - because he was a part of the bank and was always – right.
He rang the client with the opening statement, ‘We are going to sell your home in 30 days’.  Needless to say the client was somewhat taken aback, confused and indeed scared because the bank had aggressively threatened his dream without cause or reason or even humanity.
Still, this client had a life’s ethos in that it wasn’t the problem that was important it was how you dealt with it.  He knew he was outgunned by the bank that was constantly increasing its feverous attack and sought support from the Ombudsman.  This stopped the drivel and the insane fervour by the bank because the Ombudsman sported a protective umbrella shielding the client whilst they investigated as an independent authority.
That independent authority found the bank was wrong on all counts and awarded damages, compensation et alia to the much relieved client.  However, the issue now was that the client had lost a lot of money, time and opportunities as a direct result of actions by the bank but the Ombudsman was powerless to award anywhere near the quantum of loss.
The client was confused.  Would he accept the determination and accept losses whilst the bank rolled onto their next victim or would or even could he take it further.
At this point he discovered that the employee who had acted illegally threatening to sell his home had been promoted within the bank.   They were content within themselves that they were right and above the law as they had just promoted the dissident with not one syllable of apology to the client for their unlawful acts causing a great deal of stress and loss.
The client was determined to address the issue and pointed out to the bank they were found to have acted unlawfully by the Ombudsman and should compensate him for sustained losses.
The bank always seeing themselves as – right – refused.
So the client took them to VCAT where a higher level of jurisdiction could right some of the wrongs.
Now, the bank was incensed that a lowly client had the temerity to take them on even though they knew the client was the innocent and the somewhat aggrieved party.  After all, they were always right and strutted and pontificated that fact at every chance.  'How dare he!'
As a power play and not so subtle threat to the lone unrepresented client they engaged multiple lawyers, barristers and employees to defend their position in court.  Cost was irrelevant because it was shareholders money and they knew they were always right.
However, this client had done some homework and blocked every legal ‘trick’ the bank threw at him.  The client was not driven by career or personal gain but by mitigating personal loss.  Big difference and somewhat focus inducing.  At that time the bank was respected as a leader with enormous market power which did intimidate the client somewhat and that reality eventually forced a compromise.  How long could he hold out against dozens of lawyers and million dollar bank employees who were always right?   
After 5 years he settled because of a huge power imbalance and the self promoted invulnerability of the bank
That settlement saw the bank lose quite a few thousand dollars to the client but with a full cost to the bank of over a million dollars.  All for a alleged debt of $2,400.  But that’s alright because it’s only shareholders money. 
The client had mitigated some small part of his losses and the bank pontificated on as the all powerful trying to gag any public response by the client.  But now, enter the Royal Commission where Christian Porter – Attorney General said, “The royal commission has noted is that its standing powers enable it, in effect, to override the existence of any non-disclosure agreements.“  The same logically applies to settlements especially where and when there is a huge imbalance of market power forcing outcomes.
The big public company / bank now had nowhere to hide and its culture was for the first time on show for all to see, and it was found wanting.  It turned out that the bank was not superior, not right and that the chief executive had failed to act in good faith by presiding over a ‘toxic’ culture enabling many and various unlawful acts by various ethically challenged employees.  Indeed, in our client’s case the chief executive knew and sanctioned the events leading to a million dollar plus loss of shareholders money.
That revelation cost the jobs of the Chair and chief executive but still left our client in a loss situation.  A loss situation caused by and through a toxic culture supporting unlawful dysfunction.  Note that fault lies with the office as well as the incumbent executive. You can’t just change the executive and expect that all is now well.  The bank must take responsibility as an entity.
So, now our client has a determination by the Royal Commission which says the bank is indeed responsible for their ‘toxic culture’ causing dysfunction and client losses.  The bank is no longer invulnerable with pontificating executives self elevated above the law and past settlements can be revisited especially where bullying or coercion through size dominance was a factor in the signing.
Our client is now able to pursue losses caused by the bank and will.
The bank must decide if it will do the right thing and take responsibility for its actions or just continue on with an air of invincibility throwing and wasting even more shareholders funds at can’t win legal bills.
The story continues.