25/01/2005 - 21:00

Give us something worth voting for

25/01/2005 - 21:00

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I struggle to come to terms with the way political parties deal with the election process and I am not looking forward to the next few weeks.

I struggle to come to terms with the way political parties deal with the election process and I am not looking forward to the next few weeks.

Before the election announcement was even made, I was staggered to see the State Government’s decision to cover the Northbridge segment of the railway.

How cynical was that?

Holding off a major decision for four years, ruling it out during that time and generally beating about the bush in between is an appalling way to handle this important infrastructure issue.

The right way to handle this was to have packaged it with the rail proposal from the beginning – allowing us to see the vision and observe the true cost.

To many of us, dealing with the Northbridge rail area was a bigger issue than bringing on rapid transit rail access to Mandurah 20 years too early.

Instead, we get it late in the piece, like an afterthought from an owner-builder whose consulting architect has given up being horrified by what has happened to their original vision.

Ironically, I guess, I should be pleased with the decision.

Not only have we been expressing a need for this issue to be addressed for some time, but we also had a considerable focus on one of its key proponents last week.

I am speaking of Professor Martyn Webb and I refer to his comments published in last week’s WA Business News that the Gallop Government had missed a major opportunity in failing to sink the railway line.

It was nice for the Labor Government to respond to that call.

However, the announced decision is hardly the sinking the good professor was calling for and, while at least a step in the right direction, I don’t think it is something that should be beholden to an election result – especially if it goes the way of other such promises.

Wouldn’t it be nice if political parties outlined their policies and visions up front, implemented them and stood by their record of achievement.

I’d vote for that approach.

Featuring pioneers of business in WA

Our Women in Business feature is the result of more than a year of deliberation before we bit the bullet and went ahead with the project.

The discussion centred on whether it was helpful to highlight women as a specific group within business.

That argument is old but continues to get played out across the globe.

For instance, when a top female golfer took on the men it generated controversy. Annika Sorenstam’s decision to compete with the men divided the golfing world.

Some thought it was a great leveller, to compare directly how a top woman would fare when tested in the men’s competition. Others thought it was messing with the fine balance and commercial success of professional golf.

So it is with some trepidation that we embarked on this project.

I think the result is a fantastic feature that reveals the truth of the situation – WA has some outstanding female executives who have had to be pioneers, often reluctantly, in order to get to the top.

The way to the top for each of these pioneers has been different and there is no clear cut set of choices that make following them an easy road.

Finally, they are pioneers and the statistics reflect that. Women at the top of the business hierarchy remain rare and there seems to be general agreement this is a situation that is changing, albeit slowly.

The feature provides a fascinating insight into the lives of some of top executives and decision-makers – and that should be excuse enough to run this.

While our list is not comprehensive, it does show where women have made inroads into corporate WA.

My final comment must be a thank you for those who agreed to participate. For obvious reasons most of these people shun the limelight – which is a further irony, given that most cite a lack of self-promotion skills as one of the big drawbacks for women in corporate life.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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