FASHFEST 2017 Masthead
leadership

What it really means to lead the ship…

Heather Wallace

At a time when Federal leadership coups have become a biennial blood sport, a time when political cynicism is dangerously easy, I was reminded of how much a good politician can do in their community.

At work and with one eye on news sites heralding the Liberal leadership coup, I received a call from the state member for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire. He was calling on behalf of a constituent and I’d had been suggested by his Federal counterpart as someone who could help.

He politely explained what he was after and said, “I’m not sure if you know the area at all?”. When I mentioned the name of the little town I’d grown up in, he immediately said, “You were on the farm across the road from de Bortoli’s winery. Your father was David Wallace, wasn’t he?”. He went on to say how sorry he was my father had died very suddenly 20 years before and asked after my whole family and how we were now we’d left the area.

His sincerity impressed me, both that he was personally following up a promise to a constituent and that he took the time to pay his respects to my father. He genuinely cared.

It was the reminder I needed that good politicians serve their communities, not their leadership ambitions or ideologies. I have been extremely privileged in my career to work with politicians on both sides who take that seriously: John Faulkner, Judith Troeth, Tony Windsor and Bob Brown come immediately to mind. I’ve seen each of them fight for the public good, always acting with dignity and integrity. Sadly each has left the Federal arena and politics is poorer without their influence.

Whatever happens in the Liberal leadership spill, I sincerely hope the final outcome is a resurgence of integrity and politicians acting for the good of the community as a whole. If not, I’m tempted to move to Wagga Wagga where there is a good and dedicated politician hard at work.

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Heather Wallace

Heather’s career in arts and heritage PR spans 15 years, with highlights including working for Sean Connery at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and promoting Australia’s World Heritage places. Her blog, Myths and Misadventures, (http://mythsandmisadventures.blogspot.com.au/), is about life lessons we can learn from the Romans. You can follow her on Twitter @Missmythology. More about the Author

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