What concerns you most and what can be done about it?
There are those in our community who do not see this as I do. Mankind faces some truly epic challenges, be they societal, environmental or ethical, and we hear too loudly the voices of unreasoned invective and scorn, channelled through many mediums.
In my view, the journey to complex solutions will only be arrived at by the coming together of communities and nations. Given human nature, that will likely only happen if one of two outcomes eventuates. The first, and by far the best, when great leaders put aside purely factional, small town political concerns and look beyond the borders and shores of their electorates, states and nations.
The second, which I fear will come too late, is if our planet and our species are threatened in a truly existential sense.
What insights can you share and advice can you give to business employers and leaders who face difficult issues in the workplace?
My experiences have shown me the enormous value of true diversity of thought, founded on education and respect for the views of others. That’s why I champion diversity amongst team members and building inclusive workplaces. When someone is denied the opportunity to contribute or move forward in their career paths as a result of deeply questionable criteria based on racial heritage, gender, religious belief, sexual orientation or disability, it limits us all.
As the leader of one of Australia's great national institutions I became convinced, through a series of meetings, and as a result of a growing number of periods of reflection, that the Army needed to address matters of diversity, especially gender imbalance, in a more ‘hands on’ way.
As a result of those meetings, with serving soldiers who had been adversely affected by their service and who had been denied the chance to reach their potential, I began to see issues that I hadn’t seen at that point in my life and to hear voices, especially of women, that I hadn't heard as clearly before. You can, of course, be critical that it took me five decades to get to that point, but nonetheless it changed me – as a senior officer, but particularly as a man.
With the guidance of key people, like the then Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, the leadership team of the Army devised what I feel were essential changes to the way we had done business in the past.