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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 2133


Mr BLANCHARD(10.21) —I wish to draw the attention of the House tonight to a letter which I received from Mr Wayne Reed, the chief executive of Solahart, a very enterprising Western Australian firm which makes solar heaters amongst many other similar items. The letter includes an article written for a staff magazine of one of Japan's largest trading companies, C. Itoh and Co. of Tokyo. I think it is worth mentioning this to the House because we tend to get a lot of criticism of the work force in Australia but this article gives an indication of the way in which some businessmen in Japan see our work force. The comments that are made are really worth recording. The article in the Japanese magazine is entitled `One volunteer is worth two pressed men'. It says:

The Domestic Steel Division markets `Solahart'-

this refers to the firm, Solahart-

a solar-energy electric water heater, in the Japanese market as well as the newly industrialised countries.

`Solahart' has a manufacturing plant in Perth, Australia and the majority of the staff of the company are so-called `Aussies'. I made business trips with several Aussies in Japan and overseas to exploit marketing channels and they impressed me in many ways. I would like to point out three aspects of the way in which they do business.

First of all-

this is a very important point-

I learned that they are workaholic in a true sense. `Solahart' is not a big company and most of the time I work with the same four to five people. They work so hard that I hesitate to call Japanese businessmen bees. They work on the plane and upon arriving at a hotel, they start a meeting, send telex and make business phone calls. They work hard and they love their product. They are proud of the technology and they find a pleasure in selling and marketing the product.

It is often said that the ultimate pleasure of life lies in creativity. When I work with them, I can feel that they are enjoying a creative work. The way they work manifests that `one volunteer is worth two pressed men'.

Secondly, I was impressed with their good teamwork. The plant manager, sales representatives, chief executive officers and investors have a clear notion of their respective interests they represent. They are proud of their work and assume a strong responsibility for their job, with which the practices in Japanese companies can hardly stand comparison. While they resist intervention in their own work, they help each other and demonstrate a good teamwork. I strongly feel that each member of the Domestic Steel Division should go back to the starting point and re-examine the importance of team-play and teamwork.

In other words, the writer is suggesting that his own company should go back to first principles. The article goes on to say:

Thirdly, Aussies do not criticise weakness of the competition such as Japanese manufacturers of solar energy water heaters, they merely stress the advantages of their technology.

I do not think it is bad that individuals and companies rival each other. I rather consider that individuals and companies can improve themselves through competition. However, we must note that there are two kinds of rivalry, namely, `good rivalry' and `bad rivalry'. `Good rivalry' aims at mutual enlightenment and `bad rivalry' only creates jealousy. When we recognise and respect the strength of competitors, we can improve and enlighten ourselves.

The article finishes:

I have had an image that `Aussies' were easy-going people and were working to enjoy life in the sunshine. However, they gave strong impressions on my mind. Let these lessons we learned from them sink into our minds.

Obviously this is a very encouraging message for workers in the Australian work force and I congratulate Solahart for having such a good team which spreads the message that Australians can work hard and know the directions and goals which they wish to achieve.