As I am writing this column soon after Election Day, it’s appropriate to ponder on the word ‘leadership’. One dictionary tells us that the word means guidance, direction, authority, control, initiate and influence.
Australian people have decided, through a democratic process, that the Coalition should be in government for the next three years. I think we were all surprised. Some of us are in shock because our concern for the future of our Earth is our priority. But then again, isn’t having a job a basic right? Instead of judging those who voted differently from ourselves, I think it would be sensible and respectful to hear their point of view.
The Australian Financial Review has a weekly section where Australian leaders are asked what they would do on day one if they were our Prime Minister. I am particularly interested in David Atkin’s reply as CEO of Cbus Superannuation, an industry fund. He said he would bring together Commonwealth, State and superannuation leaders to work together on a long-term, co-ordinated plan to tackle big issues such as infrastructure, transport, housing, energy and housing affordability. He gave examples of where such a co-operative approach is already working effectively. He also said that Australian business leaders are taking climate change seriously, many investing in a transition to a cleaner economy.
I am encouraged by this. If business takes a leading role in saving our planet as well as dealing with our economy, hopefully our politicians will too. Is bi-partisan, co-operation too much to hope for? Can’t our elected representatives take on board what engineers, scientists and environmentalists tell us? Can’t they listen to organisations that deal with unemployment and poverty? Instead of politicians making decisions based on political advantage wouldn’t it be intelligent to work together with those who identify and solve serious problems?
My grandchildren have told me that they worry about the planet and their future. They also worry about finding jobs and youth mental health.
It is important that we, the older generations, listen and support their efforts to take action on both social and environmental issues.
We also need to tell them about people who have had vision, courage and compassion for others - people who have made a positive difference in the world. We can all be inspired by role models who show us leadership.
Recently a Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, decided she had to take action to make governments take climate change seriously. She had the vision and courage to protest herself and this led to other school students joining her. It is now a world-wide movement led by students, including Australians.
The LOCAL News. Island and Surrounds newspaper is all the better for its stories of leadership. Examples in the last issue include The Bribie Respite Young Adult with Disability Support Services, Colin Austin who invented wicking beds for growing fruit and vegetables with minimal water usage, Support Groups for those with Parkinsons Disease, Dementia or those just needing friendship.
Our state government representative, Simone Wilson, has been listening to the community’s anger about pelicans and the installation of metal deterrents along Bribie Bridge. ‘I have taken this issue to the Minister’s office to intervene as I want this situation rectified and the pelicans to return to their safe roost’ she told the LOCAL News, Island and Surrounds. I hope she succeeds. If more and more of us join her, chances of a satisfactory outcome will increase accordingly.
It’s a matter of working together.