I’ve often wondered whether we Australians are as parochial as we’re sometimes made out to be, whether our primary loyalty does indeed lie with our state, followed by our country. We’re said to be first and foremost South Aussies or Victorians, Tasmanians or New South Welshmen (and women!), Queenslanders or Western Australians – and let’s not forget our Territorian twins!
If an email I received the other day is any indication, there’s more than a grain of truth in that assertion.
You may recall a blog about two months back when I said the ability of a board to listen to stakeholders is perhaps the fundamental tenet of good governance – and it can be particularly tough, not to mention prickly, in federated member-based organisations where traditionally there’s a balancing act between listening to the regions and having functioning, national entities with effective boards characterised by impartiality and neutrality.
Well, this struck a chord with one of our readers and I thought I’d share some of his thought-provoking – and perhaps a tad partial – views on the subject.
It’s an interesting response which will probably make all South Australian’s feel particularly good about themselves and the rest a little – or seriously – miffed at what they deem a stereotypical portrayal.
Let’s call our emailer Joe.
Joe starts off by complimenting me on my insight before going on to say how funny it is to watch the dynamics play out between the states, across a broad range of federated bodies, and how very similar they are.
“For example,” adds Joe, “often the NSW and Victorian delegates dislike each other and are determined not to let the other be elected to office-bearer positions.”
“Tasmanian delegates,” he continues, “are uninformed, haven’t read the papers and rarely turn up to a national meeting more than once, while those from Western Australia are always going on about the distance and unsuccessfully lobbying for the next conference or meeting to be held in Perth.”
He sees Queensland delegates as “often strange and cynical” and comes to the conclusion that, because of all these shenanigans, South Australian representatives often get more than their fair share of positions because “we are preferred to the delegates from all of the other states.”
Joe ends up by saying his observation is that this scenario plays out in all bodies of a federated nature, from those in the student world and the not-for-profit sector all the way up to the Federal Cabinet.
I hope Malcolm Turnbull is listening!!
In all seriousness, is Joe on the money or just being a little playful and mischievous?
C’mon, tell me what you think, whether you’re from beyond or happily ensconced in South Australia…