All cultures have their unique perspective and Australia is no exception.
While humans all share the same gene pool there are many different human meme pools and many different human cultures.
Australia’s unique history and isolation has sometimes been a source of fascination for others around the world. Soviet Russia’s Vladimir Lenin once observed: “What sort of peculiar capitalist country is this in which the workers’ representatives predominate in the upper house….and yet the capitalist system is in no danger?”
Those Australians who have been clever enough and lucky enough to survive 50 years or more (400,000+ hours) of life have learned a thing or two. Here are some examples of their Grey Hat Thinking … from Australians who achieved 50 years old and older:
Professor Elizabeth Blackburn – Nobel Laureate: I got it for curiosity.
Kerry Packer – billionaire: Never complain, never explain.
Australian proverb: The bigger the hat, the smaller the property.
General D.M. Mueller: As a leader you must celebrate life, you must celebrate success and paradoxically, you must celebrate heroic failures.
Baron May of Oxford – President of The Royal Society: The existence of a supernatural being in the form of a god who can dish out punishment in the afterlife may have been an important force in the past that helped to keep societies together as co-operative entities — but not so in the future.
Henry Lawson – poet: I’ve never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment.
Rt Hon Paul Keating – Prime Minister: No choice we can make as a nation lies between our history and our geography. We can hardly change either of them. They are immutable. The only choice we can make as a nation is the choice about our future.
Jack Lang – Labor premier: Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It’ll be the only one trying.
Ann Daniel – Emeritus Professor of Sociology: Be gentle, become creative.
Douglas Mawson – scientist and polar survivor: It’s dead easy to die; it’s the keeping on living that’s hard.
Dame Nellie Melba – opera singer: The first rule in opera is the first rule in life: see to everything yourself.
General Sir John Monash – WW I military strategist: Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs … the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline.
Australian Aboriginal saying: May as well be here we are as where we are.
Paul Hogan – entertainer: Cricket needs brightening up a bit. My solution is to let the players drink at the beginning of the game, not after. It always works in our picnic matches.
Danielle Wood – Author: My grandfather, the remarkable man who inspired my first novel, The Alphabet of Light and Dark, once said to me: “There’s no such thing as biting off more than you can chew–you just take a big bite, and then chew like buggary”.
Sir Gustav Nossal – medical scientist: The thrill of medical research is amazing. Prising out of nature her jealously guarded secrets combines with the humanitarian goal of better health to provide powerful twin motivations. The challenge of competing with the world’s best is fantastic. I shall forever be grateful that The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research has given me the chance of spending forty years in this world. I can think of no better life.
Rt Hon Bob Hawke – Prime Minister: Do you know why I have credibility? Because I don’t exude morality.
Ian Kiernan – organiser of Clean up Australia Day: Ordinary people need to lead and not sit there and think that governments are going to spoon feed them.
Saint Mary McKillop: Never see a need without doing something about it.
Harry (Breaker) Morant – executed soldier and poet: Shoot straight you bastards. Don’t make a mess of it.
Joan Kirner – Labor premier: There is no such thing as being non-political. Just by making a decision to stay out of politics you are making the decision to allow others to shape politics and exert power over you.
Convict saying: The law locks up the man who steals the goose from the common, but leaves the greater criminal loose who steals the common from the goose.
Ned Kelly – bushranger: If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away.
Errol Flynn – Hollywood star: Flynn is not always in.
Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser – Prime Minister: If there were six Mandelas around today, a couple in Europe, one in America and in a couple of other places, there wouldn’t be any wars.
Sandra Cabot – physician and author: Real women don’t have flushes, they have power surges.
Hon Arthur Calwell – politician: It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies.
Oenone Wood – Champion cyclist: As a child my mum told me I could do anything. I believed her.
Australian observation: If the guy next to you is swearing like a wharfie he’s probably a billionaire. Or, just conceivably, a wharfie.
Australian observation: There is nothing more Australian than spending time in somebody else’s country.
Anon: It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others.
Dame Edna Everage: Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.
Rt Hon Sir Robert Menzies – Prime Minister: A man may be a tough, concentrated, successful money-maker and never contribute to his country anything more than a horrible example.
Hon Anna Bligh – Premier of Queensland: As we weep for what we have lost, and as we grieve for family and friends and we confront the challenge that is before us, I want us to remember who we are. We are Queenslanders. We’re the people that they breed tough, north of the border. We’re the ones that they knock down, and we get up again.
Professor David Pennington – Vice Chancellor: The role and style of a leader depends very much on the character and nature of those led.
Tom Dystra – Aboriginal man: We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it.
Emeritus Professor Nancy Millis – microbiologist: We are really in a serious difficulty with the amount of land available. I don’t mean just Australia wide, I mean worldwide. So how we can support another doubling of population, I find just extraordinary.
Rt Hon Gough Whitlam – Prime Minister: I was profoundly embarrassed by it (the White Australia Policy) and did all I could to change it.
Phillip Adams – journalist: The most intense hatreds are not between political parties but within them.
Australian Aboriginal proverb: Those who lose dreaming are lost.
Australian proverb: Its like the axe that’s had two new blades and three new handles but otherwise is just as it was when grandfather bought it.
Professor Geoffrey Blainey – historian: Nationalism is both a vital medicine and a dangerous drug.
Sir Don Bradman – cricket Captain of Australia: When you play test cricket, you don’t give the Englishmen an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind them into the dust.
Janet Holmes Ã Court – CEO: The company was quite hierarchical. I often think it was like a pyramid with Robert (husband Robert Holmes Ã Court) at the top and lots of us paying homage to him. I try to turn the pyramid upside down so that I’m at the bottom and bubbling away and encouraging people and energising them so that they are all empowered so that they can do what they need to do, now that’s the dream.
Rt Hon Julia Gillard – Prime Minister of Australia: The concept of social inclusion in essence means replacing a welfarist approach to helping the underprivileged with one of investing in them and their communities to bring them into the mainstream market economy. It’s a modern and fresh approach that views everyone as a potential wealth creator and invests in their human capital.