REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of real Australia: Why leadership is the new L Word

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM digital news editor Janine Graham.

We're looking for a new definition of The L Word it seems. Photo: Shutterstock

We're looking for a new definition of The L Word it seems. Photo: Shutterstock

From Washington DC to Downing Street and Canberra's parliamentary triangle - and all points in between - the search has been on.

Possibly not quite in the same political realm, but the search will head to the Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland later this year.

We're talking election cycles and even from this traditionally conservative stronghold on the NSW mid-north coast, the groan is audible and completely understood.

MPs have barely been back from the summer recess a week and we're already over the same shenanigans from the same political pelicans. Pick an appropriate: tiresome - monotonous - annoying - expected (?)

So the question on everyone's lips (as it has been all summer) is 'where's the leadership?'

No need to get out the all-encompassing blanket and say there is none because there has been more than the occasional glimpse.

Communities across our wide brown land find leadership deep within. Invariably it's people doing stuff they just do - without a second thought for ticking the boxes as an "inspirational role model" or anything vaguely similar.

Take Burrumbuttock Hay Runners chief Brendan Farrell, for starters. Back in 2014 he learnt about a farmer struggling with the drought in Bourke, NSW, From there an accidental, but ever-so important, empire was built.

But after Farrell's latest effort, a mammoth effort that took hay galore to drought-hit Armidale in NSW's New England region, he's exhausted.

Probably much like Greens' leader Richard Di Natale, who handed in his Greens leadership cards last week.

ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner Georgeina Whelan, alongside her son. Picture: Supplied

ACT Emergency Services Agency commissioner Georgeina Whelan, alongside her son. Picture: Supplied

Amidst the climate chaos of the Australian summer, genuine leadership emerged from perhaps unlikely quarters. Think the NSW RFS boss Shane Fitzsimmons and his ACT equivalent Georgeina Whelan.

Ms Whelan faced a very real personal crisis in the midst of the ACT's fire crisis yet deflected comment on the situation to others, praising paramedics and her team for their support.

During those downright terrifying days that now seem half a lifetime ago, the emergency authority chiefs stood head and shoulders above everyone else in the country. Their calmness and utter "ordinariness" meant they were embraced as the real deal. They oozed authenticity.

As has Bega MP Andrew Constance. In the wake of devastation in his very own neighbourhood, he shed his political coat and was elevated far above his parliamentary peers.

When he said this in state parliament he was, no doubt, speaking for electorate: "We can argue about climate change and fuel loads til the cows come home, but are you really going to expend that degree of energy when we now need to come together and move forward?"

There's no quick fix to the multitude of life-altering issues now facing our nation.

But wise words may just have been uttered from a man with his roots in regional Australia.

 Isaac Levido was in charge of Boris Johnson's successful re-election campaign.

Isaac Levido was in charge of Boris Johnson's successful re-election campaign.

Isaac Levido, grew up in Port Macquarie, NSW. He has been credited with masterminding Boris Johnson's thumping election win in the UK.

Before that he worked in the US with the National Republican Senatorial Committee HQ during the 2010 mid-term elections. He also was an advisor on the 2012 US presidential election.

In an interview with another media organsiation published over the weekend, he took a swipe at "traditional media"

He is quoted as saying: " ... are they actually helping voters by providing them with information that is important to them, on issues they care about, and will it, therefore, assist them in deciding how they will vote?"

That's a lesson for us (the media) and also a lesson for voters: Speak up now - don't wait to cross a box on an ballot paper. Later could be too late.

Janine Graham,

digital news editor, ACM

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