If I could vote for anyone other than the available choices to lead this country, it would be the Chief of Army, Lieutenant-General David Morrison.
Imagine his video message, released after the recent “demeaning, explicit and profane” behaviour by his army members was revealed, spoken instead by a Prime Minister (or President), as an address to the Parliament of Australia.
Watch his message, then read a transcript below, where I have simply substituted Parliament for Army, politicians for officers or soldiers and portfolios for operations. My changes are in italics.
“Earlier today I addressed the media and through them, the Australian public about a group of politicians whose conduct, if proven, has not only brought the Australian parliament into disrepute but has let down every one of you and all of those whose past service has won the respect of our nation.
There are limits to how much I can tell you because the investigations into this network .. are ongoing. But evidence collected to date has identified a group of men within our ranks who have allegedly produced highly inappropriate material demeaning women and distributed it across the internet and parliamentary email networks. If this is true then the action of these members are in direct contravention to every value the Australian parliament stands for. By now, I assume you know my attitude to this type of conduct.
I have stated categorically many times that the parliament has to be an inclusive organization in which every politician - man and woman - is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so.
Those who think that it is okay to behave in a way that demeans or exploits their colleagues have no place in this parliament.
Our Federal Parliament has been engaged in continuous operations since 1901 …. On all portfolios female politicians have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian Parliament. They are vital to us maintaining our capability now and into the future.
If that does not suit you, then get out. You may find another employer where you attitude and behavior is acceptable, but I doubt it.
The same goes for those who think that toughness is built on humiliating others. Every one of us is responsible for the culture and reputation of our Parliament and the environment in which we work.
If you become aware of any individual degrading another then show moral courage and take a stand against it. No-one has ever explained to me how the exploitation or the degradation of others enhances capability or honours the traditions of the Australian Parliament.
I will be ruthless in ridding the parliament of people who cannot live up to its values and I need every one of you to support me in achieving this.
The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
That goes for all of us but especially those who, by their rank, have a leadership role.
If we are a great national institution, if we care about the legacy left to us by those who have served before us, if we care about the legacy that we leave by those who, in turn, will protect and secure Australia, then it is up to us to make a difference.
If you’re not up to it, find something else to do with your life.
There is no place for you amongst this band of brothers and sisters.”
Try substituting your own workplace for Army and imagine the impact such leadership might have. If you are parents, try this as a blueprint by substituting our family for Army.