30/03/2004 - 22:00

Thorpe shows true worth

30/03/2004 - 22:00


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NO matter what anyone says about young people today or the litigious nature of our society, every now and then something turns all that sour stuff on its head.

NO matter what anyone says about young people today or the litigious nature of our society, every now and then something turns all that sour stuff on its head.

This week, it has been the drama surrounding Ian Thorpe, and his handling of the situation.

When I heard the news about his disqualification from the 400 metres freestyle, his pet event, I thought it was yet another case of officialdom gone mad.

How can the bureaucrats make such an absurd decision, I thought? I still think that, but I also deeply respect the way the Thorpedo swam through this crisis, almost relaxed and comfortable in his new role as a victim of circumstance.

To have the poise and grace to accept the umpire’s decision with little more than an “oops” is quite remarkable. It is something they should burn into tennis players’ brains from a young age.

And he has sat through the drama, poolside, watching his team-mates when many others would have done a runner and escaped from the spotlight.

Thorpe’s gracious acceptance of laws written for other people is up there with Adam Gilchrist’s decision to walk at the recent World Cup.

If everyone was like these people, you wouldn’t need rules or laws.

We are in danger of forgetting that the silent majority of people are very much like these people.

Most people don’t sue when they slip on a wet pavement or when other things generally go wrong, but we just don’t get to hear about their good-natured acceptance of things.

It is unfortunate, too, that doing things by the book rarely gets you any credit – we all know the squeaky wheel receives the oil.

In that respect, I am glad that Thorpe’s leadership, the stuff that the sponsors are really paying for, has been tested and not found wanting.

It’s an example a few footy players might like to follow, too.

In the end, I bet that things will work out better for Thorpey this way – far better than if he’d made a song and dance about his error.

He’s proved he’s human in the pool and almost superhuman out of it, a remarkable turnaround.

Let’s hope there’s a clamour of companies looking for Thorpe to be on their board, following the example of Gilchrist.

In fact, I can think of a few boards right now that could use someone with such integrity.

Change for the better

THE heritage issue is such a deeply divisive one that I feared what would come of the boardroom discussion we had – the subject of our cover story this week.

My expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth.

In fact, all parties shared much common ground and the broad consensus that some form of heritage controls were needed, just that they shouldn’t be so capriciously applied.

The truth is that even developers recognise there is value in holding on to elements of the past, and even heritage afficionados realise that our community needs to embrace new ideas that development brings.

The question is documenting the strong common ground and finding some certainty in the development process that both sides agree is transparent, accountable and fair.

We all choose to live in Western Australia and so want this great State to be better.

I get as angry as the next person when I see something destroyed that I feel is part of my heritage.

But I get equally frustrated by those people who want to live in the past and don’t accept that some things must change.

Trade deal a little short

FREE trade is another divisive issue in the community.

We held another boardroom debate on this issue, bringing together various parts of the business community to question chief negotiator Stephen Deady.

I am one who is disappointed with the deal as it stands, mainly because I feel the US fails again to live up to the ideals of capitalism it so readily espouses to the rest of the world.

Having said that, I have to admit that the deal as it appears is not bad in itself.

It just doesn’t go as far as it could.

If we have to have an incomplete free trade agreement, at least this one doesn’t appear to give away some of the key bargaining chips we might need in the future – when we might be able to finish what has been started.





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