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The leadership qualities of a long-dead parrot

By Stuart Ballantyne - posted Wednesday, 24 August 2022

'Be careful what you say,' said my friend, 'this guy is fanatical about the local colony of parrots and if he suspects this new port proposal will scare even one of his parrots, the port project is dead!'

This was serious stuff for a remote area a few years ago.

The man picked us up in his mini-bus and we drove to inspect the local foreshore area. All the way he prattled on about the local parrots, their expanding population, mating habits, and how they were encouraging tourists.


Sitting in the back seat, I was suitably disinterested but he startled me out of my daydream by asking, 'And do you like parrots?!'

'Oh sure,' I said. 'But I really like them better when they're steamed or fried and served with peas and maybe chips.'

Aghast, he slowed the vehicle down while he caught his breath, then replied, 'You mean to say…you would eat parrots?'

'Parrots?' I quizzed, 'Oh I am sorry, I thought you said carrots.'

He had clearly never seen Monty Python's dead parrot segment so the humour was lost on him, but he did astound me with his fanatical behaviour and obsession about the parrots.

This man would have readily sacrificed a small regional port and hundreds of job opportunities to save annoying a few parrots during the construction phase. Such is the fervour of zealots living in the green fantasy…


The green machine has been successful in deluding federal and state leaders for the last 30 years while merrily declaring national parks, sensitive fish habitats, and marine parks that together almost totally encompass the whole country as 'no-go areas'. This is a major problem for commercial activities, regional development, regional employment (particularly in Indigenous areas) and – most importantly – it serves to constrain defence infrastructures needed for border protection. We are a sitting duck (or should that be parrot?) for any potential invaders.

Australia has the highest national park area and the highest shoreline length per head of population of any country in the world. In reality, that is not something to boast about when nearby emboldened nations are sabre rattling.

Just look at how quickly the first world war started. Within seven days of Austria declaring war on Serbia, there were seven nations, via their alliances, at war.

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This article was first published in The Spectator.

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About the Author

Stuart Ballantyne is just a sailor who runs Seat Transport Solutions who are naval architects, consultants, surveyors and project managers.

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