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New political leadership

AS I WRITE this in the immediate and confusing aftermath of the recent election, my thoughts turn to the qualities and values I felt were missing from the election campaign.

In the coming weeks and months the pundits will dissect the regional swings and local issues that were contributing factors in the national result but my sense is that Australians were looking for something deeper and more substantial from the campaign.

We were looking for true leadership.

Good leadership does more than merely reflect the opinions and values of the community.

It calls us to attend to the core values and vision of our community.

Biblical wisdom tells us that ‘where there is no vision, the people perish’.

If this aspect of leadership is neglected then leaders will inevitably seek lowest common denominator approaches which, in time, diminish any community.

From within the Jewish and Christian traditions there are many examples of courageous visionary leaders – Moses, Esther, King David, St Paul and of course Jesus himself.

We could all recall leaders in our national and local spheres who call us, often in the face of strong opposition, to the higher values of justice, peace and compassion.

It is my hope and prayer that out of this election will grow a commitment to a new political leadership: leadership that is principled, bold and courageous.

It is more than ironic, that now, after the election, and forced by a political context where a very few people are being called to declare their principles and their priorities for our country, that we are finally having some serious public discussion about matters of substantial policy.

Out of the political mess that has resulted from a totally unedifying campaign, my hope is that our political leaders will refocus on how we can work together to build a more creative, generous, hospitable, equitable country that deals honestly with the challenges that face our nation.