The 2016 Australian Federal Election: 2 Days On

The 2016 Australian Federal election has produced a cliff-hanger result.

There are many winners and losers, but ultimately it seems the Australian people are the biggest losers.

Media elements are clearly the winners, given such a tight result keeps people glued to their screens or scrambling to buy copies of print media to catch up on the latest.

What is clear however, is that the prevailing party political system is broken, obsolete and fails to keep up with contemporary Australians needs and vision for the future.

This short video sums this up further…


Sworn In One Day, Sworn At The Next. Politics Australian Style.

Sworn in one day, sworn at the next, politics Australian style


Sworn in one day, sworn at the next, this is politics Australian style.

The fate of modern Australian political parties and the politics they are engaged in is not one to be envied.

No sooner does a given party win office, and get sworn in
to power, than the very people who voted them in begin pulling them apart.

Not helped one should add, by a voracious and unforgiving media whose sole aim is to uncover the facts, and to ‘create awareness’ (for themselves).

No matter what the ruling party and their respective beaurocrats do, these insatiable elements within the media seek to tear them down. All in the interests of disclosure, and the right of the public to know, of course.

And to know now, if not yesterday.

The generation we live in are now so totally tuned to and accustomed to instant gratification that anything, absolutely anything they want… well, they want it now. Right now!

There is little to no concept of patience or tolerance. Or whether it can be aid for.

It matters little whether their government (and by extension taxpayers) can afford it, or if it’s prudent to do so, voters just want their own piece of the pie, their own cause supported and funded, and it better be right now!

Or we will vote you out. It’s the law of the jungle, or is that the law of politics.

No secret then why social media panders to this short-sightedness and lack of patience; why whole sections of social media now offer instant access to views, opinions and events. Enter Instagram, Vine, Twitter and a plethora or like media.

Anything, absolutely anything can happen around the world and people will know about it, be viewing it, and commenting on it instantly, before the event has even fully ended. Consider the landing of the jet on the Hudson River; people were placing images online before the plane had even sloshed to a halt.

Little wonder then that a Government has to perform miracles, pull rabbits out of the proverbial hat each and every day, or is that minute, just to keep an ever impatient and hungry electorate onside, applauding and supporting with their votes.

Today, the old cliché what’s in it for me has assumed a whole new measure of meaning as the very same voters who threw bouquets and kisses at their favourite politician one day, throw eggs and abuse the next day.

Little wonder that it’s almost impossible for a Government in power to be effective and make the tough decisions that need to be made in the long-term interests of the community.

We in Australia suffer from a severe dose of short-termism, and a lack of Statesmen.

Little wonder that politicians of all penchants and pursuasions suffer from the ‘sworn in one day and sworn at the next’ syndrome.


Sydney 2014: Freedom Is Never Free

world-map-vector_Myhz2xDd copyMost people aspire to freedom.

That ability and capability to think, speak and travel, to work and worship wherever and whenever they choose is a cherished asset for many in the world today.

To be, and to feel safe whilst going about our daily lives is often taken for granted.

For freedom is a given, especially for those who have never experienced life without it; thus many of our current generation, especially the younger, have never experienced a lack of freedom; in a sense not dissimilar to the many living in our generation who have never experienced the financial hardship and deprivations of the Great Depression.

It is a story from the past, a myth even…

Equally, and unfortunately, it is this same freedom that eludes many across our world; whether by virtue of their birthplace, race, gender or as is often the case due to the imposition of the tyrannical or despotic objectives of others.

Those acquainted with and living in freedom frequently ascribe too little value to it; as it is often something only fully understood, and thus fully valued once lost or taken away.

Yet, freedom, once taken away it can be extremely difficult to regain, if not impossible.

It goes without saying that our forebears paid for, and often fought for the very freedoms we enjoy today. They strove to secure and then maintain, to protect the very freedoms we collectively take for granted.

We should not for one moment dismiss or belittle the price these men and women paid, the cost they bore, and the deprivations and hardships they endured in their day, to secure our freedom today.

Freedoms paid for with their resources, time, committment and in many instances their blood. They paid that we might live freely; and so often they paid it forward, never realising the very benefits they sought in their own lifetime.

They gave, and often they died to gain and to protect the liberties we assume, often as our birthright today.

They understood inherently the risks and costs of failing to act, and failing to pay it forward, though they often were never to experience the fruit of their sacrifices.

Then, as is often the case now, the cost of securing and maintaining our freedom was born disproportionately by a few, for the benefit of many.

Sydney, 2014 bore testimony to this as a few gave their lives to demonstrate and declare our claim to freedom.

May we never forget them and their sacrifice.

Only Those Who Can Manage Change Can Manage Their Future

world-map-vector_Myhz2xDd copy

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. Author unsure, but attributed to Mary Kay Ash

Awareness of Change is Essential.

How do you feel when all those things that you had got accustomed to, that you were conversant with, and skilled in… change? The software that got upgraded again; the regulations that just got changed; or the mobile phone that is now obsolete and can’t be serviced.

One of life’s great challenges is that of continual change. We seem hardly settled into a comfortable routine, where we can relax and not have to think too hard about our daily lives, when it all changes (again).

If only it were like the seasons that are at least semi-predictable, then we could schedule changes to our life. But in reality change happens sporadically, unpredictably and incessantly; just when we thought it was all settled.

Being aware that change is happening around us is essential to reduce risk, to best position ourselves, and critically, to be prepared for opportunity.

Acceptance of Change is Non-Negotiable

Being aware of change is a pre-requisite to surviving it, but actually accepting the fact that it is happening is another. Acknowledging the fact that our world is not the same as yesterday and most definitely will not be the same tomorrow is key to ensuring we have control over the shifting sands that surround us.

It will serve no good purpose to live in denial, to ignore change, to be delusional about its impact on our lives or to fight it at every opportunity.

All of us know people who live in the past and seem unable or unwilling to adjust to new things, processes and ways of life. Yet without acceptance of change our future will be bleak at least.

Accepting the fact of change is essential.

Agreeing to Change is Pivotal

Recognising that change is happening, and accepting the fact, are the foundational to a strong future but we must go further that these: we must agree with change and not be reluctant or belligerent in our responses to it.

We can choose to be either a victim of change, or an agent of change in our circumstances and environment; it’s our choice.

The stakes are too high to be one of those who resist change; who fight it and seek to remain in the good old days!

Change can be our friend if we choose to make it so, but we should never forget that it’s our choice, and we must have our head in the right space (not in the sand) in order to optimise our performance and outcomes.

Taking Action is Vital

The best of intentions will take us nowhere without action.

The best education, preparation, resources and networks, whilst all are important are of little use until, and unless we take action to change the way things are; and sometimes it requires drastic, radical action!

Change will not happen, our future will remain out of control, and our latent potential unrealised until we harness our ambitions and put them to work!

Taking action will necessitate adapting ourselves to a whole new way of doing things, and maybe, doing life.

This will require all of the steps mentioned already, but also entail a willingness, no, an enthusiasm to do things differently, to not be shackled by the limitations we have faced and endured thus far.

New technologies, systems, practises and possibly new relationships will become our mantra.

Along with these must come the ability and willingness to jettison the old ways we have become accustomed to and comfortable with.

This may be tough, and involve discomfort along the way, but the goals are there for all of us if we commit to changing how we do things and taking action.

Adapting to Change is a Constant

Finally, when we have made progress and seem to be on top of the wave, there comes an imperative to tune our antennae for the slightest scent of complacency, or smugness; to be on guard!

Be alert for more change, more challenges as they arise, but even more importantly, greater opportunities coming our way.

If we can successfully and effectively manage change, we can manage the future and all it throws at us, including opportunities beyond our dreams.

Delivering a WOW Presentation: Developing the Speaker Within You

Delivering a WoW Presentation.

Whenever someone refers to or recounts the highlights of a WOW address to us we instantly imagine one of those hugely successful addresses where the speaker held their audience spell-bound, followed by enthusiastic applause and accolades.

But there is another type of WOW address, one that may strike terror into the heart of the inexperienced or unprepared speaker: this is the With Out Warning address.

As with many of the vagaries of life, it can happen at any time, indeed With Out Warning.

Despite the best planning, periodically we are approached by an event host, or perhaps our CEO or Chairman, to advise that a speaker has dropped out at the last moment due to illness or other extenuating circumstances, and could we stand in for them? In such situations we could have anywhere from a few days, right down to a few minutes notice to stand and speak.

This has happened to me when, literally at midnight, I was advised of the inability of a conference keynote to deliver the first presentation of the day, the next day, and, I was requested to fill the gap.

This is the essence of the With Out Warning, or WOW address.

There is little time to prepare, no margin for error, and the expectations of the event organizers are high.

So what do we do in these trying circumstances? How do we respond initially, and how do we execute this task effectively?

There is a process to follow that will deliver results, both for the event organizer and for us as a speaker.

  • The first question to ask the person approaching us is How long do we speak for?
    Nail this down clearly.
    It could be anywhere from 2 to 35 minutes.
  • Then agree on a subject for our address.
    We must think on our feet here as this will shape the success or failure of this address, and very possibly the event.
    This is where we have our (frequently only) chance to select and agree a subject that we are conversant with, and can competently deliver on.
  • Jot down some time segments, or blocks.
    Usually around four will work well.
    If we are speaking for two minutes: four by thirty second blocks.
    If speaking for twenty minutes: four by five minute blocks, and so forth.
    This will not only help us to organize our thoughts, but, critically, to deliver on time.
  • Now, think clearly, focus, and mentally process what are the components of the address?
    Usually we will have at least some time to do this, but if we really have to, it can be done in two minutes.
  • Into each one of the time blocks note down the key point for that speaking period.
    Don’t waste time on this: if we know our subject the ideas will flow almost instantly.
    Remember, only one subject for the address, and ideally only one point for each time period.
  • If necessary, include a couple of memory prompts for material relevant to each of the listed points.
  • Check to ensure that the content we have listed flows naturally, is connected and logically flows from point to point.
    Reschedule the list if necessary to achieve this natural flow.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Stand and deliver.

The WOW address draws heavily upon our ability to focus, to demonstrate clear thinking and to seamlessly harness and integrate text, tone and body language.

Most successful speakers have a relatively small suite of signature addresses that they use routinely, and can deliver off the cuff. Over time these particular addresses become finely honed and perfected, and are very, very polished.

It does us no harm to likewise concentrate on a select few addresses and really work on them to ensure they are both flawless and highly effective.

Once these are identified and developed it is very helpful to carry them with us permanently on our smart phone or tablet so that if called upon with little, or no notice, we can step up to the lectern confidently on an impromptu basis.

In any case, it is profitable to have several well constructed addresses readily available for such occasions as these.

Remember, a haulmark of a competent speaker is that they can respond to these situations without fuss, seemingly without effort and deliver as if they had been preparing for weeks.

Do this, and most certainly our reputation will precede us.

Author Neil Findlay

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Cancer Risk Link to Night Time Light Exposure

World Light MapCIRCADIAN® ZircLight Developing Healthy Light at Night

by CIRCADIAN on Monday, August 04, 2014

CIRCADIAN® announced today that it has acquired controlling stake in ZircLight™ Inc., which holds the core intellectual property rights to LED lighting systems, eyewear and computer screen devices designed to alleviate the negative effects of artificial lighting in our nighttime environments.

The technological developments of CIRCADIAN ZircLight build upon a growing body of research showing that exposure to light at night causes a disruption of brain neuroendocrine systems, including melatonin and cortisol rhythms.

This research suggests that the myriad of health issues related to shift workers may be due to the nighttime light exposure during night shifts.

Health Effects of Light Exposure at Night

Mounting medical evidence led the World Health Organization to conclude in December 2007 that light exposure in night shift work is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Two years later in 2009, BBC News reported that the Danish government has begun paying compensation to women who have developed breast cancer after long spells working nights.

It was long thought that the harmful effects of shift work were caused by sleep deprivation. However, we now know that much of the adverse effect is actually related to circadian timing disruption caused by nocturnal light exposure.

The hormonal dysregulation found with nighttime light exposure is associated with fatigue, loss of alertness, vigilance errors and reduced performance in night shift employees.

Night shift light exposure also disrupts genetic disease markers and substantial evidence is building for increased health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, and breast, prostate and colon cancers in night shift workers regularly exposed to light at night.

There is therefore a substantial dark side to the use of electric light at night.

Discovering the Culprit: Blue Wavelength Light

Recent research shows that the harmful effects of light at night are largely mediated by certain blue wavelengths which are detected by newly-discovered visual pathway that is especially sensitive to blue light.

Blue light during the day is critical to synchronizing our circadian rhythms, but we are not designed to see blue light at night.

Many of the adverse effects of chronic light exposure at night appear to be mediated by abnormal nighttime stimulation of this time-keeping pathway by the blue light wavelengths in the light spectrum.

When this pathway is disrupted by exposure to white light or only blue light at night, it initiates a chain reaction that results in decreased energy, mood, performance and vigilance and increased risk of errors, accidents, injuries, absenteeism and workplace turnover.

Over the long- term, continuous light exposure at night may result in sustained hormonal dysregulation leading to significant health consequences including sleep disorders, diabetes, heart disease, depression and even certain types of cancer (e.g., breast, prostate and colon cancers).


CIRCADIAN® ZircLight™ is developing spectrum-specific circadian-modulated ZircLight LED lighting, filtered eyewear and display screens to provide a highly effective solution to nocturnal workplace lighting that directly based on the mechanisms underlying the light-induced dysfunction.

Working with partners who are leaders in LED lighting and light sensors and controls, we are bringing a healthy revolution to how light is used at night.

Extensive peer-reviewed published work in animals and humans by Dr. Robert Casper and his team at the University of Toronto, protected by issued worldwide patents owned by CIRCADIAN ZircLight, showed that filtering out specific wavelengths of blue light prevents many of the adverse health, safety and performance effects of night shift work.

CIRCADIAN Press Release

Learn more about CIRCADIAN’s acquisition of ZircLight™ by reading CIRCADIAN’s latest press release. Want to learn more about the science behind ZircLight™? Click here to learn more about ZircLight technology.

Disclosure: I am a Director of Circadian Australia

Making The World a Better Place: Learn How You Can Too

Children of Madagascar

An interview with Chicago based Melissa Heisler from The Empowerment Show aired June 9th 2014

Link to full interview: Neil Findlay is Making the World a Better Place – Learn How You Can Too

Neil Findlay says he is just, “An ordinary person out there doing some stuff.” But he is so much more than that. Both Neil and his wife have dedicated some of their working years and now their “retirement” to helping children around the world.  They are both an inspiration for what we can all accomplish.

One of the groups Neil assists is Project Madagascar. The primary goal of Project Madagascar is to educate street children, starting at age 5, to help them out of the cycle of poverty. The children in this part of Madagascar have literally nothing and especially no hope, unless we can help. Project Madagascar organizes trips where you can learn about this interesting culture while helping those without.

Neil does not only help those in developing countries but also those who need his home country of Australian. Unfortunately there is a very large drug and alcohol abuse issue in Australia, especially with teens. Related to this is also depression, fatigue, violence and suicide. Like many of the underground issues in developed countries like the United States, these are they types of issues that don’t get media coverage.

There are many in the world in situations which are or feel hopeless. The question is, are you being called to help? Perhaps it is time to think about who you are? What do you value? Who are you outside of your job? Is it time to think bigger? Is it time to find out ways to make a difference in the world, and start making the world a better place?

Learn how you can help with Project Madagascar, Red Frogs, and Metro Church Toowoomba. Learn more about Neil: website and The Mentor’s Diary.

What are things you can do locally and beyond to make a difference in someone’s life?


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Budget 2014 Shock! Gravy Train Concessions Withdrawn

That Australia, the nation, was living and spending beyond its means is not in dispute; well actually it is disputed by some who were happily and blissfully riding the gravy train.

The real problem, buried as it is in the clamour and noise of rights, populist opposition parties and other interest groups, lies in the fact that the gravy train had extraordinarily high capital and operational costs. Utterly unsustainable costs.

It was a lovely ride, but it cost too much.

Now, for riders on the gravy train this fact is totally irrelevant; after all, riding the train is our right!

But for those who increasingly have to stump up to pay for all these free and concessional tickets the load was becoming unbearable; and that, ultimately, means all of us.

Clearly ticket prices had to rise and sales of concessional tickets put on hold, at least temporarily or soon even the jobs of gravy train employees might be in question.

This means that even first class ticket issues, you know, those used by politicians and others accustomed to traveling in a manner consistent with their high station in life had to be curtailed, and even withdrawn in some cases. The injustice of it all!

Second class gravy train tickets, those widely used by business and industry must also be severely restricted as these too are being sold below cost. The harsh, nay bitter reality of a user-pays economy.

And unfortunately, economy class tickets, those concessional offerings that have become a way of life for many on their life journey need to be restricted.

Everyone knows that people can become very attracted to, and attached to the niceties of things like concessional gravy train tickets, and removing or restricting access to these will be accompanied by howls of protest from users (and those who make a living out of advising and counselling users.)

To wit: career students whose life mission is to become ever more highly educated, whilst contributing ever less to the community at large; those whose job is to stay out of a job for as long as possible; and those whose life mission is to adroitly manage their affairs so as to attract the absolute maximum benefit from the public purse will be particularly outraged.

Incensed even.

We can expect elements within the current opposition parties to be vociferous in their condemnation of this outrage… ‘the inequity and unfairness of it all,’ largely due to their demonstrated skills in handing out free and concessional gravy train tickets to all who would vote for them.

It is even possible that the gravy train as we know it may cease to run altogether, and be confined to the annuls of history as a relic of that glorious bygone era when the Government was responsible for everything and gave everything that its dependants wanted.

Yet a functional, cost-effective replacement will need to be found to ensure the orderly and equitable continuance of life in such a great nation as ours.

The challenge for today’s Australian Government is to source and commission a replacement train that will take the Australian people where we need to go, safely and on time, and at a cost we can afford.

Oh, and of course, to navigate a pathway through the minefields of political and social opposition, aided and abetted by those who have awoken to discover their lifetime tickets on the original gravy train have become valueless, and are determined to retain, or regain them at all costs.

Not at their cost of course.


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When The Music Stops: The Dilemma Facing Australian Governments

In the classic party game musical chairs, the music seems to play on forever with everyone lost in the revelry and atmosphere of the moment; then, suddenly, the music stops and everyone is left scrambling for a chair to claim as their own.

Of course in the game, like life itself, there are never quite enough chairs to go around and some miss out, having then to leave the game disappointed and sometimes feeling left out.

This is the dilemma Australian State & Federal Governments are confronted with in 2014. The economic and budgetary music has been playing for decades, seemingly without stopping; so much so that many participants (code: recipients) have never experienced life without the music (Government funding) and believe it will (or should) go on forever.

And now! Suddenly, and apparently without reason the music, the life-long  flow of cash shows signs of being under pressure, and may even stop.

Heaven forbid! Stop? We deserve this! It’s our right!

This problem, this addiction to public funding, never-ending rises in living standards, and associated funding for worthy (and some unworthy) causes has been going on for generations and many cannot even comprehend why ‘the government’ can’t continue funding, well, them or their cause.

And of course, populist oppositions decry any attempt at cutting spending as ‘mean, heartless and morally wrong; indicative of the incumbents complete lack of empathy for the needy and deserving; of course, were we in power now we’d look after you, and keep your funding flowing.’

The challenge then for Governments, regardless of their philosophy, is to marry actual spending with actual income.

This principle is difficult to understand for most, a factor not overlooked by wily politicians adept at selling their ‘benefits’ to a needy voting public whilst conveniently deflecting pesky questions about how it all works.

The solution then is not so easy to determine or implement, at least at face value, yet when viewed against the prism of decades of political promises and counter promises it becomes clearer.

Today’s Governments don’t actually face budgetary problems per sé, for their real problem is not economic or fiscal, but political: how do we implement vital, urgent budgetary repairs and get re-elected?

How do we stop the music, whilst still ensuring that everyone gets a chair, or at least gets to sit in someone’s lap.

Real reductions in spending are not just important, they are critical to stem the life-threatening risks to our economy. This means that many existing funding streams will need to be trimmed or terminated; in some cases for needs that are worthy, that are important to our communities, that are of great benefit to Australians at large.

For many of today’s generation of Australians this will be something entirely new and something they have never experienced; we have become accustomed to perennially increasing living standards.

But now, in 2014, the music has stopped and everyone is scrambling for a chair. We cannot afford many of the niceties and some of the standards of living we have become accustomed to; including in some cases worthy things that we expect as a right.

We simply cannot pay for them.

Governments task in 2014 is to buy and distribute as many chairs as they can afford, as equitably as they can, so when the music stops as many people as possible get to sit; in the knowledge that some may still miss out.

They face the politically risky challenge of doing what has to be done, whilst convincing the electorate at large that it must be done for their own good.

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.” Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America

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The Value of Life in 2014: It’s All Relative. Reading Between The Lines

Today’s media are obsessed with the trial of Oscar Pitorius and circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp.

There are currently few news bulletins failing to update this case.

That this was anything but a tragic and heinous crime is beyond doubt, and the sense of utter loss experienced by Reeva’s family and friends without question.

Yet the supreme preoccupation with this matter by media interests indicates that society in general, and the media particularly, have a distorted perspective of the value of life.

Were Ms Steenkamp anyone other that a young, glamorous model, media and community interest would have been minimal; the media caravan would have moved on quickly and the dogs would have stopped barking, if in fact they started at all.

The unseemly interest accrued to this matter denies the fact that there are estimated to be around 1000 people per day dying from gunshot wounds world-wide*.
Well in excess of 300, 000 per annum.

Yet we are fixated with just one; were the other 999 of no consequence; did they not have families that grieved also; and did they not lose their future also?

Undoubtedly they did.

But in our world, it is all relative; to who you are; where you are; and what your public profile is.

The value of life should be a sacrosanct thing, not valued on a sliding scale dependant of your perceived value.

Perhaps we could do with a reality check on just what is real and what is relative.

* Source


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