IT'S NOT often you meet a man who can confirm he has done everything he wishes to in his life, but former politician and, soon to be, former Western Australia governor Kim Beazley has.
Speaking to journalist BREE SWIFT, Mr Beazley reflected on his illustrious career in politics, which included being Australia's defence minister and opposition leader, as well as his post-political role as ambassador to the United States.
The son of a politician, Mr Beazley recalls sitting on the floor of parliament as a child and said he initially joined the Labor party ranks to help out his father, Kim Beazley snr.
Now married to Susie and with three children of his own, including politician Hannah, Mr Beazley is perhaps one of the most content men you will ever have the pleasure to meet.
With achievements and experiences too long to list, below is Part 1 of his Q&A with ACM.
ANSWER: I wanted to be a journalist when I was younger and my father wanted me to be a lawyer.
As I went on at university, for a while, I thought I'd be a historian or a teacher in international politics.
When I was a university student, in those days (in the 1960s/early 1970s) we didn't have the sorts of crises that kids and millennials go through, trying to think out what they ought to be doing in the highly competitive market.
You have to remember, back then, the number of students at UWA (The University of Western Australia) was 6000 full-time and 3000 part-time, and that was a total of 9000 at the only university in WA.
Now, there would probably be about 120,000 students in the five universities that are here.
A: I mentally exploded and went off in a multitude of directions, because all of a sudden you were introduced to a whole range of people who made their way to Oxford.
It is the sort of centre that attracts good scholars or ambitious people from every continent.
The Masters of Philosophy program that I did was in international relations and the degree itself wasn't done by very many, if any, British people.
Virtually all my colleagues in my masters program while I was there were Canadians and Americans and one chap from Africa.
Many of them are my friends and some of them are now very prominent people.
I tended to stick with the people I was in post graduate studies with and, as things happened, they weren't British.
A: Well in a sense, it's always been circling because when you had a dad in politics you had a frame of reference, which meant you understood quite a lot about it.
You understood what you did when you got there, because I was watching my father all the time, going over to Canberra when I was a kid for holidays every couple of years and sitting in parliament while things were going on.
In the old parliament building, when you sat in the speaker's gallery you were almost on the floor of parliament, so my dad would use parliament as a sort of babysitter.
If you add up my childhood experiences, it put me in a position where I was in the realm or sphere of politics.
I had convictions about it, so I joined the Labor Party partly to help dad, because dad always seemed to be in trouble in the Labor Party, so that got me going.
But after that, a lot of it was just luck and being in the right place at the right time.
There are a lot of people out there who want to engage in politics and could do extremely well, and the first thing you want to say to them is be there, because you aren't going to get there unless you're around there.
But if you're around there it also doesn't mean you're going to get there.
It's luck, it's timing - if the party is not popular and you're running in a marginal seat, you're not going to get there.
A: When I got back from England, I came back married and with a bub on the way.
I was teaching at Murdoch University, so I think I would have persisted in that for the rest of my life.
A: We talk.
The thing I feel worst about in the job that I'm doing is that she has been through two election campaigns since I've been here, and I've not been able to do a single thing for her, so that actually hurts a bit.
But also, in a strange way, it's been good for her because, as she explains to people, she's herself - she's not a clone of anyone else.
She, at her age, is much better at politics than I was and is a much better speaker.
A: Leader of the opposition is the most challenging role.
That is the most thankless task and the most interesting task in politics.
There's an African language in which the title of the leader of the opposition translates as chief enemy.
You have to make so many judgments and you have to be constructive.
When you have a period like now, where you've had enormously destructive politics, the public turns off politics and it undermines democracy.
When you have large levels of disenchantment in the constituencies, you have to worry that people will try something else and, sometimes, that something else will destroy them.
So that's a challenge for those of us in politics and the big burden that falls on the opposition leader.
The point of the opposition is to make governing more effective and hold the government to account.
But one of the consequences of holding the government to account is that they might actually listen to you, and if they actually listen to you then they might do better.
IN OTHER NEWS:
So there are a myriad of calculations you have to make, but your main task is to make your colleagues and yourself electable.
You have to look at the direction of your policies, the philosophies underpinning them and ask what is that we know about what the public needs and feels and how do we match the two, and then advocate your campaign.
It is terribly important to know your direction, to know what you think about the country and to know where you want to take it, but also make sure while you're doing that, you're not mono-maniacally obsessed with yourself and you're actually meeting their needs and the direction of their thinking.
One of the reasons I got involved in politics was because of my experience on the issue of the Vietnam war and how we defend Australia.
What do we need to do in our diplomacy and in our relationships in the region and the structure of our armed forces to ensure the long-term security of our country?
Because it's not a given thing.
Every country has to make choices about what it needs to keep itself going.
Countries on the whole don't survive.
Their borders will change, the tide of history will wash over them - ask the Aboriginals.
It's a challenge - and defence is at the very heart of meeting that challenge.
I have to say that I was a defence minister at a better time than Richard Marles is now.
In my time, the course was pretty clearly set and, from the region around us, very little threat could emerge that we couldn't handle ourselves.
Now the situation is totally different and he has the difficult task of thinking through what we have to have immediately on-hand to deal with threats in a way that guarantees we can deal with them, whether or not the United States helps us.
A: The first thing I would have not done - I would have done my level best to keep out of the Iraq war and to stop the Americans and the British going to that war.
That was so clearly a disaster.
In mind's eye at the time, you could see exactly where that situation was going to take us in the Middle East.
It was a distraction and an expensive commitment, and a destabilisation of Middle Eastern politics, if they can be more destabilised.
Sitting in opposition you could just see this train coming at you, and there was not much you could do once you had made your point.
What I think I would have focused on, aside from that, would have been what you might call the factors of human productivity - that is our skills, our education, our inventiveness and the diversity of our industry.
I think that would have been my top priority in terms of being PM of the country.
But the last time I tried to be prime minister was 21 years ago, so what now seems important did not necessarily look so important then.
Looking at us now, here in WA are the critical minerals, and there is a role we could play in the next generation of technologies.
That was not clear at all to us back in 2001, but what was clear was that we need to be a more up-skilled, up-educated, research and new industry-oriented country.
That would have been my focus.
A: It creates enormous problems as well as opportunities.
Just pray that the rain comes at the right time, that there is no disruption to the distribution of grains that we have, pray that the farmers make the right judgements about precisely the grains we need and let's hope we have the biggest harvest we've ever had.
We are critical to the world, but we can't replace Ukraine's output, which is huge.
We can certainly give Ukraine military assistance, money and all the rest of it, but the take-off of Ukrainian grain - I don't know if we have particular skills of moving grain over large distances and if we could give them some advice or assistance in that way.
If we can help them get the grain out of Ukraine into the world market, it's no skin off our nose.
We need to get other countries into production as well, otherwise Africa will starve.
A: It's interesting - I was talking to an Israeli official the other day who said, 'you're worried about something 1500km away... that would put us in India'.
It does help to have a moat.
But everybody has a history and it is wise for everybody to understand everybody else's history.
They want us to understand theirs, and we would like them to understand ours.
This is the 80th anniversary of Australia's year of living dangerously, which was 1942 into 1943.
We were backs to the wall, fighting down the Kokoda Track against the Japanese on our side of the equation.
All of this was being commanded from Japanese headquarters and the Americans were fighting down the island chain to the Solomon Guadalcanal.
The Japanese problem was having to handle two fronts.
The Kokoda Track front - our effort there was reinforcing the Americans, and the American' effort in the Solomons was reinforcing ours.
Australians don't look at it that way, but that was what was happening at that point in time.
To say to the Chinese, your strategy in doing these things looks exactly like the civilian version of the Japanese strategy in 1941 - what are we supposed to think about it?
The second point we have to comprehend is we do need to genuinely treat the Pacific Islands as family.
We do a lot for them - the various parts of the South Pacific are the biggest recipients of Australian aid.
We are mindful of their defence concerns - we produce the Pacific patrol boat which gives them the chance to police their waters to fight against fishing piracy.
So we do lots of good things for them, but they don't think we listen to them much and one of the reasons they think we don't listen to them is because a lot of their islands are disappearing.
They are disappearing because we think global warming is 'out there', but it's not, it's right here and it's already running and is destroying a lot of these low-lying Pacific islands.
So the fact we have appeared totally indifferent or seen it as a long-term problem and not a right-now problem, has been devastating on our relationship with them.
We've got to be there as a presence with sibling status with them, but we also have to take into account the fact that they will make their own decisions.
One thing the government is doing that is extremely important - and is one thing the Chinese cannot compete with us on - is admission to Australia.
We have to invite much larger numbers of them to come here, and when they come here, not to exploit them.
There are plenty of areas of our farming and horticultural industries that need them, and I know those industries would be quite keen on that.
We need to make that both available and viable in much greater amounts than we do.
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