"The central facts of modern industrial technology are the displacement of men by machines, and the division of labour. Man as producer is fragmented and denied. The Australian labour force draws nearer the American model. Unskilled labouring and process work is vanishing. Technologists and social servicemen increase. Man returns to his pastoral beginning - except that, instead of shepherding unthinking animals he shepherds machines which calculate. Increasingly, no man can know or control the process of production; only the machines can do that. The area of choice and effective decision declines. Man is liberated from nature and enslaved by machines."


"We forget that the nineteenth century often turned work into sport. We, in contrast, often turn sport into work."

GEOFFREY, BLAINEY - Victorian Historical Journal, February 1978

"Love what you do, work hard, bend when you have to, but never sell out."


"Show me a busy person and I'll show you a person doing someone else's job!"


"We have come 16,000 miles to better our condition, and not to act the mere part of machinery; and it is neither right nor just that we should cross the trackless regions of immensity between us and our fatherland, to be rewarded with excessive toil, a bare existence and a premature grave. "

JAMES, GALLOWAY - The Age, 31 March 1858

"In the area of understanding, thinking and responding as a nation we appear to be mildly retarded."

BARRY, JONES - The Future of Work, John Wilkes (ed)

"Internationally Australia is ceasing to be intellectually competitive; internally we are losing the essential preconditions for personal competence, social cohesion, employment prospects and the free flow of comprehensible information which makes democracy workable."

BARRY, JONES - Sleepers, Wake!, 1982

"Academic economists have about the status and reliability of astrologers or the readers of Tarot cards. If the medical profession was as lacking in resources as the economists we would not have advanced very far beyond the provision of splints for broken arms."

BARRY, JONES - The Future of Work, John Wilkes (ed), 1981

"Somewhere between the job,
the television trance,
the few at five, the circumstance,
digressed a deeper bloke
who suffered life like some bad joke
and came to recognise his dreams
for what they were: abstract extremes
Against the wind his head was bent.
I guess you'd say: bad management."

ERIC, MACKENZIE - Death of a Builder's Labourer

"... the dullness, the conformity, the lack of excitement or challenge, the stupefying weekly routine which revolves around the daily peak-hour journey to and from work, the nightly telly, Saturday evening at the RSL club, Sunday morning washing the car, maybe a drive over to see Harry and Freda with the kids, and then it's time to get ready for work again."

CRAIG ROB-ROY, McGREGOR - Profile of Australia

"Inefficiency's the strength of socialism
it burns up Earth's resources slower -
"We won't see full employment again;
we've priced it away to the underpaid
in the police states and the bare-arse countries.
Work's emigrating now, out of our world -
"In that other Depression there was some kindness;
this one's like fellows crossing a plain
under sniper fire. One here, one there
goes down with the boat and colour TV
and he's ignored, or we're told to kick him -
"Unemployment's not allowed under socialism."

LES, MURRAY - The Boys who Stole the Funeral

"Nevertheless it is good-bye. Childhood and Chapter One are over, the mantrap is set, the bucket of icy water is balanced above the door of the next room, there is no, 'Be back soon!' for that Hal Porter. When he returns home for luncheon on January the Third, 1927, he will appear the same but already something will be stirring - the Devil in the basement, the Angel in the attic, the two-faced Diplomat in the drawing room, the Clown in all the corridors - who yet knows? Watch him go."

HAL, PORTER - The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony, on starting work

"His end teaches us that it is not hard work, either mental or physical, that kills a man; it is anxiety and worry. Looking back over the years, I sometimes wonder how much we weigh our words in our opposition to each other, and in striving for the ideals in which we believe. How often do we think what effect our words will have upon the one who is listening to our criticism?"

JAMES HENRY, SCULLIN - on John Curtin's death in 1945, John R Robertson, J. H. Scullin

"If people who return from this war are offered the dole and told there is no money for employment we can look for revolution."

JAMES HENRY, SCULLIN - On the second World War, John R Robertson, J. H. Scullin

"There was then, in the end, sleep, and work, and a warm belief in some presence. And sleep."

PATRICK, WHITE - The Tree of Man