Philosophy & Ethics

"The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths to it are made, not found, and the activity of making of them changes with both the destination and the maker"


"When you stand looking down on the Freycinet Peninsula, it's a bit like life really - its beauty, ruggedness and ageless power have the ability to overpower, inspire or make you feel as though you've really just come home. Like a life well lived it has a sense of real and tragic history and a genuine hope for an exciting future for yourself and those who will follow. "


"Societies fall apart when good people do nothing. "


"Whatever is to be is up to me."


"It's not the number of breaths you take in life that counts but the number of moments in life that take your breath away. "


"You've never lived till you've almost died. For those who fight for it life has a flavour the protected will never know. "


"If you count your blessings not your troubles your life is more beautiful."


"There are dreams to be dreamed, there are ventures to start, there are new songs to sing - when you have hope in your heart."


"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."


"All the peace, wisdom and joy in the Universe are already within us, we just have to open our eyes and realise what is already here and who we really are."


"Sometimes our path in life is unpredictable and challenging, if we don't travel this path we would not discover our true self."


"Happiness is a grateful spirit, an optimistic attitude, and a heart full of love."


"The more difficulties a person encounters the more significant and the higher in inspiration their life will be."


"Evil is the stone on which the good sharpens itself."


"Surely the world we live in is but the world that lives in us. "


"Racists are able 'utterly to disregard' the sufferings of their victims. If they are to see the evil they do, they must first find it intelligible that their victims had inner lives of the kind which enable the wrongs they suffer to go deep. "


"Wilderness has become one of the world's fastest disappearing resources, and it is non-renewable. Yet unlike oil, gold or woodchips, it is essential to the wellbeing of humanity. We are made of it and fashioned by it?our psychological beings resonate with it. "

BOB, BROWN - Endangered: Tasmania's Wild Places, Roger McDonald

"Power and money are not the only measure of who we truly are."


"A moral crime is all the worse when it is sanctioned by law: the worst excesses of the Nazi regime were carried out under colour of the Nuremberg laws. At its best, practising law can be instrumental in achieving Justice. But there are times when to uphold the law is to betray Justice. Any society which legitimises the mistreatment of a defenceless group poses a great challenge for lawyers. We face a stark choice: we can lend ourselves to the enforcement of immoral laws, or help to resist them, and perhaps change them. "

JULIAN, BURNSIDE - Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture, Newcastle University Law School, 2004

"To recognize the equal humanity of every broken spirit of the stolen generations; to see your own child in the face of every child fretting and grieving in a detention centre, would be a terrible burden. This blindness protects the privileged."


"How can it be, in an egalitarian society, that injustice to the marginalized creates scarcely a ripple? The answer I think is found at the threshold: most Australians do not recognize the original inhabitants, the stolen generations, the faceless asylum seekers, as people: at least, not in the same sense that we are people. Their humanity is of a different order."


"We can't act if we can't think and, in my opinion, we can't think if we don't read."


"There's been much talk recently about a decline in the 'civility' of our public debate. This follows a long period of anxiety about 'values' and disgruntlement about 'spin', and, if I'm reading the tea leaves right, will soon give way to sustained fretting about what our Prime Minister recently called the 'Americanisation' of Australian politics.
I don't think we've put our finger on the precise nature of the problem yet. But we're not jumping at shadows. There is something rotten in the state of Australian democracy, something about which we have good reason to worry."

LESLIE, CANNOLD - The Age, 5 December 2011

"As one journey ends another begins. "


"Your destiny is in your own hands. "


"Whatever you give, if you give it freely and without conditions it'll come back to you two fold."


"Care for your people and your life will be happy."


"Life doesn't come wrapped with a ribbon, but it's a gift just the same."


"I believe in the relatedness of all forms of life from the simplest to the most complex. We humans share the same family tree as all life on earth, back to the first stirrings in the primal ocean."


"It is not always possible to change the evils we see around us in the world. Sometimes the best we can do is simply demonstrate the alternatives. "


"Fame is a bird easily startled - step softly towards it. "


"A close contact with nature has been a focus of my life since childhood and has been my inspiration both professionally and personally. I believe that for most of us, most of the time, it is in the everyday experience of beauty, certainly in nature and in music, that we sense a heaven half-revealed and come closest to the true meaning of reality. "


"Conscience is our magnetic compass; reason our chart."


"The secret of solitude is that there is no solitude."


"Older people often mistakenly consider that the young people do not care about their country, but the reverse is actually true. "


"They (the youth of Australia) are out there clamouring in all forms of voice, and they are not so much hedging us older Australians aside as saying, 'For heaven's sake, listen to us and empower us to help drive this country towards a wonderful future.'"


"I have always felt that the great lottery of life is unfair. The fact is that I was thrown up on the stage of life called Australia. You don't choose where you are thrown on to this stage. So universal health, universal education, of course plenty of food and clean water. "

REVEREND TIM, COSTELLO - on the importance of humanitarian leadership

"Integrity is the trait valued highest in today's world... Integrity calls for consistent values that underpin all of our lives and allows our true self to be expressed. A life well lived requires such an integrity, if we are to leave behind a legacy from our time on this earth. "


"There are times in life when we have to face the big questions, to look squarely into the face of death and then affirm the sheer gift of life. "


"But now, the final feeling is one of gratitude that the journey was undertaken. Looking at the past has meant, for the first time, being able to let it go. "

RUTH, CRACKNELL - A Biased Memoir

"Knowing that one dies has brought with it a peace that before was elusive to say the least... it is useless, if at times pleasurable, to fantasise about the future. It is not here and it is not known. In the same way the past is just that. Past. Gone. To be relinquished. 'What's done cannot be undone.' Now is what it's about. Life is still to be lived, suffered, enjoyed, battled over. "

RUTH, CRACKNELL - A Biased Memoir

"When times get really tough you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. That very next step might lead into change."


"In hindsight everything is much clearer. "


"And we were saved on the fifth day by a big German merchant ship which took us to a refugee camp in Malaysia, and we were there for around three months before Australia says - come to Australia. And we're very glad that happened. So often, we heard Mum and Dad say - what a great country. How good is this place? And the other thing - kids, as you grow up, do as much as you can to give back to this great country and to give back to others less fortunate. And so, that's how Mum and Dad taught us to fit in. "

ANH, DO - The Happiest Refugee

"There's only two times in life, there's now and there's too late'. "


"The best things in life are often the ones hardest to get. Yet they are also the ones that are the easiest to find, usually right in front of your face. "


"Any day alive in this world is a charmed life. "


"I have a conviction that it's only when you are put at full stretch that you can realise your full potential. "


"I believe the day is done. Whether it's been the best day or the worst, it's over; let it go. "


"If God gives you gifts you must use them to justify your life. It is what the Greeks called divine discontent that drives you. "


"I hope we'll throw away our secateurs and start watering our tall poppies. In America, wow! Tall poppies thrive. Anyone can feel that they can be President. "


"I still believe that whatever you get you've got to earn. "


"Is it easier for a man to live his life again as a fish, than to accept the wonder of being human? So alone, so frightened, so wanting for what we are afraid to give tongue to."


"But I am certain of one thing - if we do not strive to love one another, and to love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further progress is possible here on Earth. "

TIM, FLANNERY - Here On Earth an argument for hope

"This is the welfare generation, and that is incredibly sad. That will be judged in history as being far worse, I believe, than the stolen generation, because we are literally losing thousands and thousands of our indigenous brothers and sisters to the effects of welfare ? drugs, gunja, low morale, alcoholism. I see it everyday and it can stop. The solution is education, training and a guaranteed opportunity. "


"We must now change course. Welfare has not worked. It has a place, always, in the most desperate times, but if it replaces a person's will, if it turns their kind of feather bed into quicksand, then it is failing the indigenous people. "


"Simple old-fashioned values that come from a sense of community are the key to a great society. I believe we all have that sense from childhood memories, when life was simple. It's those memories that should drive us to reflect on our values."


"Such is life, my fellow-mummers - just like a poor player that bluffs and feints his hour upon the stage, and then cheapens down to mere nonentity. But let me not hear any small witticism to the further effect that its story is a tale told by a vulgarian, full of slang and blanky, signifying - nothing. "

JOSEPH, FURPHY - Tom Collins, Such is Life

"The boomers' ethical sense is dominated by ideals of autonomy, flourishing and self-realisation. That's an ethic for the fortunate. One of the awful signs of this is the degree to which the ugly expression 'losers' has taken hold in our community, an expression of great contempt. That may prove to have terrible consequences if things get really bad. Great upheaval may be ahead of us, and soon. We will then need again to find words of compassion for those who have lost everything, including all social status. To do that, we will need to place the concept of goodness at the centre of our ethics."

RAI, GAITA - on the baby boomer generation

"We love, but they 'love'; we grieve, but they 'grieve'; and of course we may be dispossessed, but they are 'dispossessed'. "

RAI, GAITA - on the Mabo case

"The climate change problem is at its heart an ethical problem. It's a problem of income distribution and it's a problem of income distribution with dimensions that we don't usually think about very much."


"Little things are big things that make little things worth holding dear."


"We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of a life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within."


"The only causes of regret are laziness, outbursts of temper, hurting others, prejudice, jealousy and envy."

GERMAINE, GREER - The Female Eunuch

"As climbers, we need to sacrifice our comfort, our safety, and arguably our sanity, as a tithe to the mountain... We need the mountains but the mountains do not need us. "

LINCOLN, HALL - Dead Lucky

"The truth is impossible to comprehend even when one is willing to tell it. For the truth resides in memory and memory is clouded with repression and a desire to embellish. The recollections of any individual are conditioned by the general truths to which he or she has tried to live. To recall an event is to interpret it, so the truth is altered by the very act of remembering. Therefore the truth, like God, does not exist - only the search for it."

FRANK, HARDY - Who Shot George Kirkland?

"This stuff about the meek inheriting the earth is a lot of bullshit. The weak need the strong to look after 'em."


"Every eye is an eye. When you are doing the surgery there, that is just as important as if you were doing eye surgery on The Prime Minister or King. "


"I believe that the basic attribute of mankind is to look after each other. "


"I do believe that it is extremely important that each one of us is a participant in life and what's going on around us rather than being a spectator to it and if you do that, if you participate in the world, in your community, your school, your company, or your country, whatever? then you will be useful and hopefully leave the planet a little better."


"I think this feeling that I have for people and the importance of behaving in a way which is respectful to people of all colours, shapes, sizes and religions goes back a very long way... possibly to my mother and father in very early stages of childhood."


"Minds are vulgar, common; they are like artsouls-everyone's got one."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Whatever is is a movement; man is a movement-to something other than man."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Where man is the end, or the means, all men are mean."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The only important things are Things."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The trouble with all movements is that they don't go far enough; they die."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"If the monkeys had been concerned only with monkey Beings they would never have become men."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"If human beings are concerned only with being human Beings they will never become gods."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Movement is direction: nothing can move without moving somewhere."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"I do not believe inhuman beings, but in human goings- Man, where are you going?"

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"All verbs are one, covering motion-since there are no Different kinds of motion; differences lie in the things to which we move."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"There are no intransitive verbs, all verbs are in transit."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"For power too must have its direction: Schopenhauer gave us the will; Nietzsche gave us the will to power; I give you the will to Power-Over things."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"We can only express ourselves, but we must impress infinity."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The seed must move to the soil; the tree must turn to the sun. The river must leave its source to reach the sea. And man must forget man, the maker, in order to make the world."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Man must move to things, to non-human matter- There is nowhere else to go."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"In the beginning was the word-but the end is the world."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Nothing can move to itself - it is there already."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Nothing can grow in itself-it can only cultivate other things."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"And the trouble is not that they die but that they don't know they are dead."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Altruism is greater selfishness."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The man just is, but clothes are becoming."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Men must go out of their minds."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Politicians believe man is many and that his behaviour should be one. Hence totalitarianism. I know he is one and believe his behaviour should be millionfold. Hence freedom."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Psychologists are men with nothing in their own minds, searching in the minds of others for an idea-in order to kill it."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"We may refine the finite, but we must force the infinite."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"We must leave these beginnings, beings, believings- man, what are you growing?"

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Art is not an anaemic cult but a dynamic culture."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Our words must have power to move-but to move mountains not men."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"What would it profit a man if he kept his soul and lost the whole world?"

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The gardener gives us roses, not gardeners."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"Culture is growth, and growth is movement, and movement is power- for nothing can move without moving some thing."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"The trouble with men is that they are mean - they may mean, but they don't move."

HARRY, HOOTON - Directions

"I have always thought that the essential foundation of fundamental human rights is love. Love for one another. Empathy for fellow human beings."

MICHAEL, KIRBY - But The Greatest of These is Love Graduation Speech, Griffith University December 2008

"When in the evening we are alone with our most existential thoughts, it is then that we come face to face with the most precious truths that we discover in our brief existence in this world. Just before fatigue envelopes us, taking us into sleep. We think of what our lives actually mean. And then we know how lucky we are if we still enjoy consciousness, rationality and love. But the greatest of these is love."

MICHAEL, KIRBY - High Court judge But The Greatest of These is Love Graduation Speech Griffith University 2008

"Do not tamely acquiesce in what your elders say, and meekly imitate what your elders do, and unquestioningly adopt the life mapped out for you by the wisdom of your elders. "


"There are two sides to every question. I have always believed that to insist on this truth, in season and out of season, is to play one's humble part in civilising one's country. For a civilised country is a country which weighs, without heat, without passion, without violence, both sides of a question. "


"For me, spirit is the impulse towards life, the Eros in a person leaping forward, whereas soul refers to something possibly long.. suffering, where meanings are made, where there is a sense of this gathering of perceptions, that our death is not the most important thing, nor our life."


"At the very simplest, I think as Van Gogh said and St Francis would have said, we must find nature. Just to be in the presence of nature your feelings and 'little seedlings' start to awake. So if we disassociate ourselves from God we cut nature out, too. More and more we turn nature into a commodity, into eco-tourism. But we must integrate it into the way people live every day. "


"My work is often therapeutic because I often give expression to this inner voice."


"This life is actually very exhausting. It doesn't give humans much time to contemplate anything. We are not resting ourselves and there is the feeling we have got to keep working and pushing really hard. So I draw the person running and running and running-for no apparent reason. And suddenly I find that I have touched on something that is perhaps universal."


"The thing I absolutely love about food is it's a common thread that connects us no matter what culture we come from. "


"If you know something is wrong but you don't do anything about it, then your knowledge is of no use at all."


"Life itself is fluid. You can bathe in it; you can drink it in and be nourished by it; you can float in it but you can never possess it. You can't hold it still and if you could, it wouldn't be life but a mere psychological trick or delusion. Life moves; spring, summer, autumn and winter; day and night; high tide and low tide; birth and death and birth; everything is on the move, even me."


"To be in the presence of another human being is awesome. It is to have your breath taken away by sheer beauty. It is to be shocked. It is to be arrested. It is to be changed. This is the joy and agony of my life. In a pragmatic culture, people are mostly reduced to a means to an end. When people become problems to be solved rather than people to be met, it's no wonder that loneliness and isolation are our greatest social need. All real living is meeting."


"The fluidity of life is perplexing: Everything that is beautiful is rapidly changing; it appears from nowhere and evaporates without notice. The beauty of life appears without being summoned and it evaporates no matter how tightly we hang on to it. Indeed the tighter our grip, the more complete is the dissipation and the more haunting and embarrassing is the result."


"Remember that the future is not somewhere we are going, it is something we are creating. Everyday we do things that make some futures more probable and others less likely. "


"You live by your experience, it is not all bad, difficult times make things sweet."


"Do all you can with the means at your disposal and leave the rest to God."


"Never see a need without doing something about it.


"We are but travellers here, so while we're here we should do as much good as we can and live in peace with each other, and there'll be a reward in the afterlife."


"Standards and beliefs are the foundation of our character. It is what we stand for. A wise man once said that if you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything. Likewise, we must stand for something in our life. The stronger we do so, the stronger and deeper our roots will grow to give us stability in life. Our strength comes from connecting with them. We will then withstand any storms that blow our way. Some winds of change might bend and break the branches on the Trees of Life but our roots below the ground never die. They remain hidden and protected. They do not see the struggle or the storm. They are unmoving and serene. They fortify all that is above ground, ensuring that we grow from these tough experiences. "

SAM, MAKHOUL - A Higher Branch

"Men and women are like the two wings of a bird. Without one or the other, it cannot fly high. In the world of agriculture, we women don't need to be 'look-alike men', but play our part in nurturing the land and its people. "

CATHY, MCGOWAN - Ordinary People Extraordinary Lives, Margaret Carroll

"There is abundant evidence the greatest gains in freedom and wealth in modern history have been delivered by democracy and markets. But there can be no prosperous Wall, Collins or Pitt streets without healthy backstreets. Overall, the Occupy movement is not about breaking down the system, it is about breaking into and adjusting the system that is no longer providing a fair go. It is about equality of opportunity, rather than equality of outcome, and ought to be embraced as a collective opportunity for us to ask the paramount ethical question: is this right?"

SIMON, McKEON - on the Occupy movement

"It's good for them (Australians) - the sector is in perennial need of all sorts of inputs - but it's also good for us. It gives back so much more than we ever give it. When we volunteer to do something that is absolutely non-compulsory, chances are we get back a very special feeling that sadly many of us don't otherwise have."

SIMON, McKEON - on the community being involved in the not for profit sector

"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we? "


"The time is now and the place is here. "


"In my experience if you expect the best from your fellow men more often than not you get it because your trust and faith prime them with that extra steam needed to generate their best performance. I've received a lot of that steam myself, it is very helpful and I truly believe in its value. "

DAME ELISABETH , MURDOCH - Garden of a Lifetime, Anne Latreille

"I live my life in gratitude. "


"As you get older, you move to a point where you can give back to society."


"I am motivated by a passion for nature. Acknowledging the loss of many of our unique wild places and creatures, it has become my objective as a photographer and publisher to inspire others to champion their protection. I believe we inherited a world in balance and we should be ever vigilant in maintaining that balance."


"My theory is that if we don't connect to nature, mentally, physically or spiritually, we're lost. Teaching children to photograph an animal is to understand its behaviour, its habitat and why that habitat must be preserved. In a nation of city dwellers with an ever expanding migrant population, it's crucial to plug people in, give them respect and connection to their natural environment. "


"I realised that, unless I was to become a politician or a researcher, my only real contribution could be to build a publishing enterprise based on sound commercial principles, that would ignite in others a passion for the natural world. I chose to target children of all ages. I soon found I was able to create, produce and sell products that celebrated nature and inspired a personal connection with its beauty and fragility. I knew that my young audience, having made a connection, would grow up believing in the magic of nature. When environmental issues arose, these children, now adults, would lend their voices to make the collective environmental consciousness stronger. This is my drive and has been my reason for being for the last half a century."

STEVE, PARISH - Steve Parish 50 Years Photographing Australia

"To be your best has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity, the determination to never be shifted from your goals. And the faith to know that whatever the outcome, your greatest competition is not the person standing on the blocks next to you, but yourself. "


"Nothing is permanent, every moment is a precious moment. "


"Ethical behaviour is not only good business, but is essential for any business that wants to achieve long term success and wants to attract quality people to work for it."


"Among the realities of life is the fact that so often the do good-ers do bad and the do bad-ders do good for the human race. "


"Tigers lead solitary lives, except for mothers with their cubs. We, by contrast, are social animals. So are elephants, and elephant mothers do not focus only on the wellbeing of their own offspring. When it comes to raising our children, we need fewer tigers and more elephants."


"All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals."


"As we realise that more and more things have global impact, I think we're going to get people increasingly wanting to get away from a purely national interest."


"The problem is not with the athletes, but with us. No matter how blatant the drug use may be, we don't stop watching the Tour de France. Maybe we should just turn off the television and get on our own bikes."

PETER, SINGER - on drugs in sport

"At the descriptive level, certainly, you would expect different cultures to develop different sorts of ethics and obviously they have; that doesn't mean that you can't think of overarching ethical principles you would want people to follow in all kinds of places."


"We need to get over our reluctance to speak openly about the good we do. Silent giving will not change a culture that deems it sensible to spend all your money on yourself and your family, rather than help those in greater need - even though helping others is likely to bring more fulfilment in the long run."

PETER, SINGER - on philanthropy

"In a sense, human nature doesn't change much, but I think there are some factors that might be making it more ethical."


"In a situation where many national leaders do the same thing and look out for national interests, and with an issue like global warming, you're likely to get no solution, so I think you have to have some kind of ethical trump on some of those issues."


"Why are fish the forgotten victims on our plate? Is it because they are cold-blooded and covered in scales? Is it because they cannot give voice to their pain? Whatever the explanation, the evidence is now accumulating that commercial fishing inflicts and unimaginable amount of pain and suffering."

PETER, SINGER - on fishing

"I don't think there's much point in bemoaning the state of the world unless there's some way you can think of to improve it. Otherwise, don't bother writing a book; go and find a tropical island and lie in the sun."


"An animal experiment cannot be justifiable unless the experiment is so important that the use of a brain-damaged human would be justifiable."


"Gus Nossal once said to me that one of the most important characteristics of an institute director was generosity. He's absolutely right. I think that one of the things I am good at as an institute director is being generous. And that means being generous with your time. Taking time out to mentor our young Aboriginal researchers is really important, taking time to find out about what is happening to people in the Institute and where they are going - it takes time to be generous..."

PROFESSOR FIONA, STANLEY - 1960-2010 Australians of the Year, Wendy Lewis

"Ethics or simple honesty is the building blocks upon which our whole society is based, and business is a part of our society, and it's integral to the practice of being able to conduct business, that you have a set of honest standards. And it's much easier to do business with someone when you look them in the eye and say, "This is what we're going to do," and you understand what you each mean, and you can go away and get it done."


"I've always been clever enough to surround myself with the best in whatever field I'm working in... Good people make you look good."


"As an artist, even if you are putting out something really dark and disturbing, that's good because it's opening a discussion. Always in the back of my mind is this thought that the world has to be a better place with you in it."


"The sea is the mother of all life including our own. "


"The actions and what we do, determine the life we lead."


"For me it was always about the challenge of making this voyage. It was always a calculated risk, but life is a risk."


"The greatest challenge humanity has to face is to make decisions on what is ethical as well as profitable."


"People inherently know that we are not meant to cause animals harm. Seeing people inflict such cruelty hits us at such a deep emotional level of right and wrong."


"Whatever you do, do no harm. "


"I cannot condone the systematic destruction of the hope and spirit of people who have suffered hardship and pain to reach our shores. They are people who believe that they have been or are at risk of being persecuted in their own country. "