On media moguls and mongrels, climate mandalas and a new ebook

21 June 2012 – When former prime minister Kevin Rudd said climate change was the biggest moral issue of our time, he was only partly right.

It is also the biggest business issue, the biggest political issue and now the biggest media issue.

Driving Gina Rinehart in her inevitable pitch to own the whole of Fairfax is mining of Australia’s resources, freely, without paying fair tax, and without the annoyance of a climate agenda.

The Guardian’s George Monbiot put it so poignantly this week: the world’s governments are controlled by millionaires for billionaires. In Australia much of that powerful wealth that controls our politicians is from mining.

And the billionaires do not want their agenda sullied in any way by concern for the great unwashed. (And increasingly unfed, unhoused and so on as climate change rages.)

If there was ever any doubt that the resources industry runs this country, we can now put that to rest as Rinehart steps in to destroy one of Australia’s most amazing democratic institution and great newspapers.

Of course Fairfax watched its strength dribble away in recent years.

See Andrew Jaspan’s view and Eric Beecher’s on the mistakes made by people who know nothing about media but were inserted to run an operation totally fuelled and dependent not on the making of widgets, but on the sensitive qualities of passion, commitment, truth and integrity.

These are qualities that are increasingly being swept into the rubbish pan of outdated irritations that stand in the way of profit.

But even the strongest newspaper group could not resist the onslaught of Australia’s richest person. Rinehart can buy Fairfax outright several times over no matter what the share price.

As one former Fairfax journalist put it this week, western society will soon go back to the pyramid shaped plutocracy it always was. The diamond shape we’ve enjoyed for the last 100 years or so will be nothing but an aberration.

Climate change has become the mandala around which all this change is revolving.

Monbiot  points out that the Americans in Rio earth summit have banned use of the word “equitable” in any agreements, along with use of concepts such as the right to food, water, health, the rule of law, gender equality and women’s empowerment, any mention of a clear target of preventing two degrees of global warming,  and “unsustainable consumption and production patterns”.

This is Obama folks. And what his people are doing flies directly in the face of what a Republican president agreed to at that  other Rio conference in 1992.

New ebook: an extended project case study for the GPT head offices in Sydney

While the conventional media world crumbles and promises (or threatens) to reassemble in vastly different ways, property people are undergoing ructions of their own as the industry realigns with a more fragile global economic outlook.

But regardless of the externalities, there is no change in this industry’s drive for innovation and competition.

In the commercial office arena the search for the best, highest paying, most prestigious tenants and their search in turn for the most talented staff ensures this is a given.

Many commercial projects these days are interesting from a sustainability point of view; the best break the boundaries of conventional thinking. They reinterpret and reconfigure technologies and design ideas in innovative way. Our case studies portal has many instances of these.

In the case of GPT reinvention of its headquarters in the MLC tower in Martin Place Sydney, however, not only did the company achieve a six star Green Star result but it did this in an ageing, albeit high quality Harry Seidler-designed building that was 33 years old when the project was completed last year.

Most chief executives want something new and shiny when it’s time for a new office.

By making the decision to stay and repair and rebuild what it already had, GPT was bucking the trend and demonstrated to its clients that it is possible to remain in an existing space and still get an office for the future.

In this, our second ebook, an extended project case study for GPT’s new offices, Lynne Blundell as principal author, provides her usual incisive view of the strategies and thinking that drove this dramatic restructuring of the company’s headquarters.

The release of this ebook coincides with two white papers published this week by Jones Lang LaSalle and Colliers International on the modern office workplace, which are also in this issue.

Top image: thanks to Twitter