What a relief to hear Gerry Harvey (of the Harvey Norman (HN) chain of furniture, whitegoods and technology stores) speak out against the “woke” demands of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and other business associations. These associations are demanding that boards tick the box to reflect diversity (race, gender, age) and turn over on a regular basis so as not to become entrenched, insensitive to the needs of the community, market and shareholders. Businesses, they say, should have a social licence to operate, hence the demand to be “woke”. A psychologist should be on every board!
Gerry Harvey admitted that structurally, we are going through a tough trading period in which his company’s profits were doing OK at 7% increase on year. During the 50 years of operation, Gerry had the same CEO (his wife, with whom he sleeps) and Chairman (himself) and long standing board members who knew the company and the market implicitly. Competitors Good Guys, David Jones and Myers, who had ticked all the right boxes for board diversity and change, were struggling. Go woke, go broke!
Gillette is another global company that thought it was being sensitive by rolling out a TV advertisement deferring to feminism, highlighting “toxic masculinity”. Why ever you would demonise your target market defies good business sense. Silent men left the brand in droves. Gillette’s sales dropped $8 billion worldwide.
Not insignificant is the Israel Folau case. You will recall Israel, a lay Christian preacher, was summarily sacked by Rugby Australia (RA) for quoting on his online media, an excerpt from the Bible which invited sinners (including gays) to repent. According to Raelene Castle, CEO of RA, rugby is an inclusive organization (except, it seems for Christians). Of course, RA was heavily influenced by main sponsor, Qantas, whose CEO is openly gay, an activist in the same sex marriage debate. At risk to RA was Qantas’ sponsorship said to be around $4m.
The “woke” sacking of Folau is likely to cost RA much more than Qantas sponsorship. The silent people, outraged that a person could be sacked for quoting from a book on which this country was founded and on which we are required to swear to tell the truth, rallied to Folau’s support – not because they necessarily believed the biblical quote, but because they could see a basic freedom of this country being destroyed and that they may be next. Neither did they like the transference of malice to Folau’s wife, Maria, a talented netball player for the Silver Ferns. Others have been taken to court or sacked for expressing the traditional view of marriage. In a couple of days the funding page set up by Australian Christian Lobby raised $2.2m from the silent people towards Folau’s legal fees to defend his right to play rugby while retaining his faith.
In the meantime, people have turned away in droves from “the game made in heaven”. Attendances are down, and in a World Cup year the Wallabies prospects, once daunting, now appear grim. People have vowed not to follow rugby until the matter is resolved. Others have shunned Qantas.
If not for “woke” pressure for gender diversity and inclusion, RA could be in a far more propitious position. Not only would they be fielding their best player, they would be spared the cost of defending the indefensible. All they had to say on the quiet was that while they respected Israel’s faith, but it was not that of RA. One’s beliefs and freedom of speech are not for RA, Qantas, or the government to bestow or take away. Go woke, go broke!
Australian Medical Association (AMA)
Now we have the AMA talking the same left/green woke claptrap that seems essential for the leaders of that organization to find a way into a seat in parliament. The latest claim is that “climate change is a health emergency” that, amongst many claims, will cause:
- “high mortality and morbidity from heat stress” – not true as facts show more people die from the cold than warmth;
- “food insecurity resulting from declines in agricultural outputs” – again not true, as facts show agricultural production globally has increased significantly;
- “higher incidence of mental ill-health” – again without any substantiating scientific facts.
Nevertheless ” the AMA is proud to join the international and local chorus of voices urging action to address climate change on health grounds,” Dr Bartone said. Says it all! No wonder membership of the AMA is declining, down from 46% to 23% –no longer representing the silent professionals who harbour long held values not swayed by any woke chorus, local or international.
Adani and Queensland
Relentlessly over nine years we have been assailed by protesters against development of the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, saying that it would increase C02 in the atmosphere and destroy the Great Barrier Reef. Never mind the facts that the Australia’s share of the minuscule amount of C02 in the atmosphere barely rates, that the mine is hundreds of miles from the coast, the reef a further 100-200km off shore and that 300 millions of Indians stand to rise out of poverty using the coal.
The silent people spoke up when Bob Brown led a convoy of vehicles from Tasmania to protest against Adani prior to the 18 May election. At Clermont a noisy counter protest by locals dusted the Adani protesters out of town. It was a joy to see good old fashioned Australians speaking up for projects, work and jobs for their region. Having stalled the project expecting a Labor win nationally, the State Premier had to concede to commencement of the mine. In the meantime, Queensland has accumulated the largest debt in the country (>$80 billion), the highest unemployment (6.2%), the biggest public service (+30,000), largely as a consequence of declining to build necessary infrastructure like dams (Stanthorpe and Rookwood Weir) even with federal funding, buildings and social housing on “woke” green decisions. Even States go broke when they go woke!
Blow me down if we don’t have BHP Chairman Andrew McKenzie drinking the woke Koolaid, talking about getting out of coal on which much of the company’s fortunes have been built. He has probably signed up to Global Shapers, a global organization of heads of companies committed to the climate change catastrophe, fronted by a 16 year old with mental health issues (Greta Thunberg) and failed climate prophet (Al Gore). Spare the silent people!
As Gerry Harvey said, each of these CEOs is one of a very small elite talking nonsense and they are wrong. Conversely they think he is wrong. But like Scott Morrison, Gerry Harvey is dealing with the reality of the silent people by providing needed services. No need to go broke being woke.