The mark of a good leader

I spent Tuesday observing and following our Deputy PM Julia Gillard and I also had the opportunity to talk with her in person.

I was impressed.

At all times she came across as intelligent, considered, warm and extremely capable. I didn’t see her put a sensibly-shod foot wrong or flub a statement or even refer to notes. She treated everyone she met with equal respect, from kindergarten kid to teacher to political colleague to Bundjalung elder and this, to me, is the mark of a truly genuine person.

It’s not often recently I’ve been impressed by our federal leaders – dragging their heels on climate change, not strong enough on whaling, appalling lack of leadership on refugees – so it was a blessed relief to actually have some confidence restored.

And she is a fantastic role model for women everywhere.

In this time of information saturation and inappropriate over-sexualisation of young people, where Bratz dolls are princesses in waiting for queens Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, it’s satisfying to know that the woman charged with reforming education in Australia is a passionate advocate. For women, like me, who have been told all our lives that we are able to do anything if we put our minds to it, it’s refreshing to actually put faces to that important idea and see females performing well in leadership roles.

And before I sound too star-struck by the big city people, I want to add our local female pollies to that list too: Janelle Saffin, Jenny Dowell, Vanessa Ekins – they’re all women who show their strength with grace and poise. That makes them real leaders.


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