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Things You Learn Along The Way

I changed a lot over sixty years, but I never lost the dissenter tradition that I learned in my first fifteen years in the Methodist manse.

I worked for Rupert Murdoch and saw how seductive power is. Later, as head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra, I had the bizarre experience of working for Gough Whitlam in the morning of 11 November 1975 and, in the afternoon, for Malcolm Fraser after John Kerr dismissed the Whitlam Government. The anger of what happened on that fateful day is still with me.

Working with Malcolm Fraser, however, proved liberating. I realised that while being an outsider was uncomfortable, it was manageable.

It was as Australian Ambassador in Japan in the late 1970s that I learned most about Australia and myself. As head of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (1981–83), I had the most satisfying job of my life, being involved in nation-building and playing my part in ending White Australia. As CEO at Qantas (1986–89), I experienced the difficulties of dealing with a board and a government with agendas that weren't the same as mine—and the pressure to conform. All institutions, like people, are in need of radical daily reform. Without dissenters, institutions die. In that respect I became more radical as I grew older. I now believe that the one thing above all else I've learned is that we need relationships and community if our lives are to be complete.
Things You Learn Along The Way
ISBN: 1863550739
$ 29.95

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