Last week the headlines boomed 'NAB Chief Resigns' and the week before 'NAB Looses Millions Through Rogue Share Traders'. So how does a bank combat such negative press? 'Sack' the CEO, pay him out a package of about $ 7.3 million, and consequently add $ 692 million to the bank's value over night. What message does this send about corporate accountability? The means justifies the end. Many years ago one of Gandhi's prophecies was that if we did not watch out we would end up with commerce without ethics. The Christian's Jesus who Gandhi admired said that it was better to give away our excess rather than collect it or strive for unnecessary or ill-gotten gain. As a matter of fact He called for radical self-denial and a thought process that saw others as important as ourselves. And further more He advocated self-sacrifice. How different is that from these corporate aerobics. As ABC talk-back callers rightly cried out with regard to the NAB issue, 'if it was my job, I'd get the sack if I didn't perform and there would be no payout for me - where is the fairness?' Last month I spoke about the importance of sending right messages to our kids, but now, again, we see poor corporate examples modelled, and we see two separate pub brawls involving some of our top sports star/models splashed across the front pages of our tabloids. Given that these kids worship their sports idols, how important is it to have them set good examples? And why wouldn't our kids see through the supposed 'unscripted mistake' of Justin Timberlake at the half-time entertainment break at the American Superbowl? But who's screaming now when the public backlash with litigation in the wind gets too hot? Wake up world and wake up Yarra Valley. How many murders and how many elicit sexual encounters each night on TV can a kid absorb before he/she considers it normative behaviour? How many sports louts behaving badly does it take to say that bad behaviour is OK anyway? This is a tough message and hard to swallow, but I hope we do swallow it before we regret the consequences. If you share our concerns, e-mail a TV station or a corporate business and make your thoughts known. They actually welcome feedback. Let's send the right messages. Let's talk about how we can do that in whatever community forums we take part in. This is an investment that will reap a wholesome profit.
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Co-ordinator Focal Point