Let’s Talk Leadership

Obviously Morrison never had my vote by the time he reached the top job. Someone whose biggest claim on ‘leadership’ was ‘stopping the boats’ was never going to wash with me, and his performance as PM has only strengthened my disapproval of him especially through the pandemic (and worse, actually, as he is our first national leader of my generation and I am deeply disappointed he has represented us – especially men – in the way he has chosen to).

I gather many now think along these lines, too, but they are unsure of the alternatives.

I have voted informally in the past as a protest and my letter explaining my reasons for doing so – the lack of leadership, and race to the bottom politics of just trying to be the LEAST BAD option rather than the best – was read on “60 Minutes” over a decade ago. But I consider that after 2 decades of more of the same Clayton’s leaders, and emerging from a once in a century pandemic, we need to be more optimistic and hope for better.

Other forms of protest need to be deeply considered prior to voting – Palmer’s mob is good at telling people things that they are angry about or fear, but are extreme, create division, and worse still, offer no real answers.

Good quality independents are certainly worth close consideration as are the Greens.

My vote, however, will go towards assisting Anthony Albanese to become Prime Minister.

For one I am confident he will be a better leader than Morrison – the pandemic has taught us that things can always take a turn for the worse, but I have seen enough of both of them to be confident Albanese will be a much better leader.

I am certain that Albanese is a decent person. I can’t say the same of Morrison.

And yes, if by some chance the Morrisons invited me to some function I would go – especially if a friend and someone I admired deeply was being honoured – but I would not be there to give the Morrisons a photo op, and unlike them, I would be authentic and act true to my opinions. As did President Macron to Morrison, by the way.

I do recognise that just how good a leader Albanese will be is yet to be determined. But that is always the case. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP was not well known, often described as the ‘accidental’ Premier, but she has been a very good leader and by working closely with Jeanette Young has steered Queensland well through the pandemic.

Premier Palaszczcuk has proven herself to be a good strong leader, absent an aggressive, hard edge that a lot of male leaders have, and I believe that Albanese will be similar.

It would be remiss of me, however, to not be clear that I have been disappointed with some Labor PMs. While I consider Witlam (for societal reasons), and Hawke and Keating (for economic and societal reasons) the best leaders in my lifetime, recent Labor PMs have not met those same lofty standards.

Rudd proved inauthentic and a showman PM – not unlike Morrison – and was a great disappointment to me when he, together with Wayne Swan, made it clear to me personally at an early Community Cabinet meeting in Brisbane that ‘bringing back the fair go’ did not mean truly solving the cost of housing for young and vulnerable Australians. Rudd was deeply irritated with my question in the open forum, and Swan told me to my face I was dreaming if I thought anyone would end negative gearing.

Rudd did, however, lead well through the GFC unlike Morrison through the pandemic. When people saw through Rudd’s inauthenticity he was toppled, but Gillard never got out from the shadow cast by how she became PM.

Albanese, to my mind, may well become a very good Prime Minister – goodness knows we are due one! I expect he will be an open-minded, fair, non-micromanaging leader. My only advice to him is to maintain his authenticity and be real – e.g. minimise the use of ‘boofhead’ – we don’t need a ‘Hoges’ or ‘Strop’, we need someone prepared to step up and lead us to a place where our women and minoritised people feel safe, included and equal, and where our children can feel like they have a future in what has always been a harsh land but is getting harsher every year with the climate crisis. We also need to be constructive and generous members of the international community where our word and our good character can be depended upon, once again, as geopolitics becomes more challenging than it has been for decades.

Once again we have been lucky to escape these ‘lost decades’ without too much damage, but we cannot afford any more of the same – i.e. governments who spend all their energy on retaining power and have forgotten that it is their privilege to lead the nation to a better future.

For me Anthony Albanese has the potential to be the right leader for the times, and I will be very pleased if he is given a chance to remind Australians again what is authentic leadership so that we can once again trust it is possible in this nation.

More than that, actually – that we deserve good leadership, and should insist on nothing less!

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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2022

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