• Politics and Policy

    Strengthening Australian democracy

    Carolyn Holbrook |  July 22, 2024

    The growing threats and challenges to Australia’s democracy are well outlined in a new government report, and now is the time for some action

  • Business

    Silver surfers

    Open Forum |  July 22, 2024

    A new study calls for Australia to take advantage of the untapped market of silver tourism, paving the way to not only grow the economy but also offer an ever-increasing ageing population the opportunity to maintain quality of life.

  • America

    Biden leaves the stage

    Philip Klinkner |  July 22, 2024

    Given mounting concern about his prospects of re-election, Joe Biden has withdrawn his candidacy and urged Democrats to back Vice-President Kamala Harris instead.

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    When interests collide…

    Douglascomms     |      May 14, 2008

    Who comes first, the customer or the shareholder?

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    Define a “Working Family”?

    alison gordon     |      May 14, 2008

    Is the introduction of means testing for welfare payments such as the baby bonus really going to bring us all closer together – or just reinforce a class divide and "us vs. them" mentality? 

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    Combating the skills shortage means rebuilding from within

    Megan Motto     |      May 14, 2008

    Megan Motto

    We need to shift our organisational paradigm to measure our peers and ourselves based on results, not hours spent in the office.

    We have to stop deluding ourselves. We have to let go of this baseless notion that the current skills shortage is somehow cyclical, and that someday soon we'll wake up to an economy where sourcing skilled staff is again a challenge but not an impossibility.

    The problem is now critical. For the third year running a survey of our membership at the Association of Consulting Engineers Australia indicated that up to two thirds of projects are having to be delayed or put off indefinitely due to insufficient personnel to do the job.

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    Phil Burgess and what’s wrong with our political culture

    editor     |      May 14, 2008

    Nicholas GruenBy Nicholas Gruen

    It's not just bad politics to turn up somewhere in a powerful position and tell the locals that they don't quite measure up to standards back home.

    I haven't paid much attention to Telstra's participation in the public policy debate. It usually manages to get itself seen in a fairly poor light at least if one is not paying much attention as I haven't been. Even so, I've just read this speech by Phil Burgess, and I'm impressed. I'm impressed with it because its argument is interesting, and quite persuasive – except for one thing. He outlines some differences between Australian and American political culture. He does so in a very informed and perceptive way (at least for someone who's only been here a while – and I presume he had some decent research assistance, and indeed wonder whether, as such leaders often do he's passing off research assistance as his own wide reading. But I may be being ungenerous.)

    In any event, Phil thinks that Australian debate is not vigorous enough. That people defer too much to what the government and senior government figures think…

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    Paranoid about customer satisfaction? So you should be

    editor     |      May 13, 2008

    By Neil Stollznow

    Responding to customer complaints and attempting to win them back generates a surprising level of customer loyality and enables you to create a significant point of difference in an otherwise indifferent market place.

    Here's a scary thought: some of your customers don't like you, and no I don't just mean they are a little bit annoyed.

    Why do they stay with you?  Some are so jaded that they don't believe they'll get anything better from anyone else, others find the transfer costs (i.e. their time) too onerous and the rest are locked into a contract – a little like consumer gaol.

    Now, none of this is a problem so long as you're not working under the misconception that they're with you because they like your product or service, and that they're going to stay after their "contract" expires.

    Here's an even scarier thought: some of your ex-customers don't like you, left without telling you, and are actively undoing all the good work your marketing department have been doing for so long.

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    IBM Global CEO Study: CEOs Battle to Keep Up With the Pace of Change

    matt english     |      May 11, 2008

    The globally integrated economy requires fresh thinking and innovative approaches to managing change.

    In today's globally integrated economy, CEOs are bombarded by change — can they handle it? According to IBM's 2008 Global CEO Study of 1,130 CEOs, which was conducted face-to-face in 40 countries, CEOs are battling to keep up with the pace of change.

    CEOs reported a surprising level of optimism about change as an opportunity to build new competitive advantage. In fact, 83 percent of surveyed CEOs expect substantial change in the future, an increase of 28 percent in just two years.

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    Dealing with the big shift

    editor     |      May 9, 2008

    Rebekka TuquriBy Rebekka Tuqiri

    It's easy to forget those first few weeks of parenthood.

    It's easy to forget the total sense of powerlessness and loss of control the arrival of a tiny, helpless, demanding little creature precipitates in the formerly ordered, neat, punctual lives of new parents.

    And it's funny, because part of the reason this first few weeks is so challenging is that it's soon forgotten, and rarely experienced by those who aren't actually physically going through it.

    Until we have our own tiny infants thrust upon us it's rare for most women, and almost unheard of for most men to have even held a new-born.  Yet, suddenly, sleep-deprived, dripping with breast milk, dishevelled and confused, we're expected to understand the needs of a screaming infant.

    And then we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror, and the total disconnect between the societal images of the successful, attractive, well groomed parents, and the reality of the bloodshot eyes and birds nest hair is just too overwhelming.

    A big part of the problem is the expectations we set up for ourselves. If we lived in communities where we had more of an opportunity to come into contact with little ones and the parents of little ones it might be a bit different.

    Not that I'm suggesting you go to live in a hut with your pregnant relatives and extended family. There are better and far more practical ways to solve the challenge.

    It's more about balance. It's about being forewarned so that people can understand what to expect and not to expect in the first six weeks, from themselves, and the baby, and their relationship, and just about everyone else.

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    Realising the Adaptable Workforce

    editor     |      May 8, 2008

    Justyn SturrockBy Justyn Sturrock

    The latest report from IBM highlights how ‘cracking the code for Talent' can help companies take their workforce performance to the next level.

    Today, more than ever, organisations worldwide are focusing their time and attention on maximising the value of their workforces.

    As organisations become more globally integrated, and as traditional geographic and competitive boundaries disappear, the need to identify, develop and connect talent has never been more critical.

    Every two years IBM conducts a global CEO Study where we go out and talk to over 1,000 CEOs, and each time we do this, the people agenda is always top of mind.

    In 2004, when we asked CEOs what their greatest concern was for their organisation, three primary themes emerged: growth, responsiveness and agility.

    And CEOs were almost unanimous in their belief that the greatest hurdle to addressing these themes was the capability within their organisations.

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    Online Question Time for the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, Member for Aston

    editor     |      May 6, 2008

    The first elected representative to take Question Time online is the Hon. Chris Pearce MP, who was elected to represent the Melbourne seat of Aston in the 2001 Federal election. 

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    The source of Australian innovation

    proberts     |      May 5, 2008

    Innovation comes from entrepreneurs – and rarely from science.

    There is a pervasive Australian myth that goes something like this: innovations come from brilliant scientists who pass on their discoveries to grateful businessmen and women and, eventually, the consumer. This linear progression does occur, but is a rarity compared to the real source of Australian innovation – the entrepreneur.

    The world's stock of science and technology is increasing at a rapid rate and, in fact, there is already enough of it around to fuel a number of industrial revolutions. What is in short supply are the people who can assemble technologies and ideas into a coherent business plan, raise the finance and assemble the team that can turn all these inputs into something consumers value – in short, into an innovative product or service.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottTony Abbott reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.

    At the recent 2020 summit, delegates' frustration with the dog's breakfast of divided responsibilities in health was sidetracked into proposals for a national preventive health agency funded by a tax on junk food and a new health equality commission. Keeping people healthy and giving everyone the best possible health outcomes are worthy goals, but are unlikely to be achieved by creating new bureaucracies. Avoiding discussion of today's actual problems by focusing, instead, on vague aspirations for the distant future seems to be the new government's style. Let's find something that sounds visionary, but that doesn't threaten current power structures or imply blame for current problems. That way, we can all be seen to work together.

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    Health Care Agreements: Paper for Open Forum

    editor     |      May 4, 2008

    Tony AbbottThe Hon. Tony Abbott MP reflects on his time as federal health minister and says the upcoming health care agreements could achieve most of the benefits of a federal government's  takeover of public hospitals.