Gary Helou and Lynne Strong – Egos and personalities

I was looking forward to a very uneventful day.  My day started wonderfully, breakfast with special friends and then I got a call asking me if I had seen The Australian today

The caller was concerned that I would not be happy to find myself the farmer face and spokesperson in the front page feature story in the Business Review section that included an interview with Murray Goulburn Chief Gary Helou.  See story here (Note you will need to be an online subscriber to The Australian to view the story)

Well my caller couldn’t have been more right and I am not happy.


Wasn’t happy to see the big picture today 

I was not contacted for the story. The photo is a file photo taken for a different story written by another Australian journalist Sue Neales over two years ago

The blog post quoted was from September last year in which I was commenting on a marketing campaign, not MG’s capital raising activities. I did indeed say I was worried about Gary Helou then because I could see commentators “playing the man” and this is potentially damaging when farmer livelihoods are at stake. I still hold this view.

What I did not say in the blog post was that I thought Gary Helou was thin skinned and I categorically state now I DON’T think Gary Helou is thin skinned

One of the key reasons I started my blog was because every farmer knows that every day the supply chain gets more complex and if farmers want to ensure they are not gobbled up by the challenges and have the capacity to grab the opportunities then we must be as active beyond the farm gate as we are on the farm.

This requires us to invest in developing strong financial literacy skills, having a robust understanding of how to best leverage value from the supply chain and having the capacity and desire to build strong consumer/farmer bonds.

Having an online presence whether it be twitter or blogging or whatever vehicle you choose allows you to start a discussion, learn from others, find other people who share your vision and sometimes drive change. It can also be very cathartic to share your story with others and writing my blog has been in the main a very rewarding personal experience.

I am not a journalist and I will never claim to be and I certainly agree with Mr Helou when he says ‘I don’t like personal attacks. I don’t conduct them on others and I think it’s a terrible state (of affairs).’

I accept that my blog is on the public record and will be quoted from time to time. I stand by every comment I make. However, in this instance, I am disappointed my quotes were used to support a story on which I was not commenting.

I would like to reiterate what I also said in the blog quoted today by The Australian and once again say it’s time to focus on the big issues, not the egos and personalities.  The Australian dairy industry doesn’t need or want to be floodlit in this manner.

We need a strong healthy cooperative culture of working together to get the best outcomes for every-one in the cow to carton process.

We need to focus more on company performance, not personalities.

Murray Goulburn is the largest of our country’s milk processors, with a share of the milk pool approaching 40 per cent. It is owned by 2500 Australian dairy farmers.

Australians want MG to succeed

The Australian dairy industry wants MG to succeed

I want MG to succeed.

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

5 thoughts on “Gary Helou and Lynne Strong – Egos and personalities”

  1. I agree, Lynne. It’s a shame there has been so much of a focus on personality. MG is a co-operative owned by 2500 dairy farmers. Their interests, not the belligerence or affability of the managing director are what really matters.

  2. Holy moley I can’t believe you weren’t contacted!! I read it this morning and thought ‘strange they are talking about an old blog post’ and its only now I realise there was no current comment. This raises so many questions for me. What if you had been contacted and said no? I guess ‘technically’ they can use what ever they want because its public. ‘Ethically’ on the other hand ….

    1. Thanks Heather
      This raises so many questions for me.
      Its wonderful to have a blog so widely read it generates comment in The Australian,
      Its bizarre the dairy industry has two very active and widely read female bloggers that The Australian are happy to quote when it suits them yet they sponsor a Global Food Forum to which neither of us get invited to.
      One could say glass ceiling. One could say a lot of things – I am going to mull over it for a little bit longer

  3. This has happened to me too. One day I found my picture on the front page of the Herald-Sun. The story had me taking the opposite view to what I had been quoted saying in another News ltd newspaper around 18 months previously.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: