Rob Buckingham's Blog

Leaders Behaving Badly

He’s partly right.  I – as a listener – am interested in the economy being strong as well as a healthy health and education system.  But that’s not all I’m interested in.  I am also interested in knowing that we have leaders in every part of Australian life who are people of character.  Leadership is not just about doing, it’s also about being. 

I am concerned with the reports that reveal that during tense negotiations at the Copenhagen climate summit, Mr Rudd launched into a tirade against the Chinese, who he believed were trying to kill the deal.  David Marr’s essay claims Mr Rudd told a group of journalists and aides: "Those Chinese f***ers are trying to rat-f**k us."  If this is true, we should be VERY concerned.  Anger, lack of self-control and racist comments are not qualities I want in any leader in this country let alone our Prime Minister.  How about you?

It was the same deal on Neil Mitchell’s program on 3AW this morning when Neil was commenting on Tiger Woods’ possible return to Melbourne to play in the Australian Masters in November.  Neil is for Tiger’s return and said it wouldn’t matter if Tiger Woods were found in bed with Barrack Obama.  It wouldn’t make any difference.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not the moral police – and never want to assume that role.  I am also a big believer in second chances (and third and fourth).  It doesn’t bother me whether Tiger Woods comes back to Melbourne or not – I think golf ruins a good walk!  I am also not anti-Kevin Rudd.  What I am against is the notion that what a leader achieves somehow excuses bad behaviour – it doesn’t, or at least it shouldn’t.  After all we are called human beings not human doings.  What we are must always be the springboard for what we do.

The Bible gets it right when it lists the primary qualities of good leaders.  They must be above reproach, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

In other words, leaders must behave well as well as achieve well.  So, when our leaders behave badly it does concern us and we want straight answers and maybe an apology or two rather than being fobbed off with a “but I’m doing a good job, aren’t I?”

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