Graham Gorrel's Friday On My Mind | OPINION, June 16, 2017

THE events of the past week have indisputably confirmed major parties are continuing to fail voters across the world.

People in Britain, tired of the "Tory-led austerity" policies and three general elections in two years; the proud, courageous French who gave the world new meaning to the word revolution have done it again, sweeping Emmanuel Macron's centrist party to a wholesale victory in both the presidential and general elections while here at home we remain depressingly leaderless, certainly at the national level and elsewhere, even in the business world, to some extent.

The column emphasises again, Australia needs a new party; one more attuned to and prepared to listen to what people want; not what business, unions or their advisors propose or believe is their right.

One of the nation's great leaders in business, industry and other causes including sports and arts, Harold Mitchell, who is a Fairfax columnist these days, trumpeted the rules of leadership simply: "Great leaders are comfortable with being uncomfortable. They have an unshakeable commitment to a cause or company, rather than to their career".

"They are first and foremost in the service of others and they will do anything to adapt to meet the needs of others. It doesn't matter if you are running a public company, a charity or a country. The leadership rules never change."

It's well beyond time in our nation and others that our leaders (and especially our politicians) read Mitchell's advice. They lost it when they started hiring outside advisers, ignored and even denigrated and downgraded the public service but, above all, failed to listen to their constituents. Great leaders, wrote Mitchell, "never lose their focus on the real world". The rules of business management, said Mitchell, are longevity, loyalty and leadership. Political and community leadership should be no different.

Life Be In It

FORMER mayor, John Harding, joined me for a personal re-union last weekend with Rod Dominish - appropriately enough here in Wagga for the national orienteering championships, a sport he introduced to the city in 1974, two years after he was Australia's first representative at a world championship in Czechoslavakia.

He is still known in the sport today as Wagga Rod although he left the city more than 25 years ago. "Dommo" competed in the over 70s event this time and his sons, Greg and Colin, also ran.

Rod has never forgotten the help NSW Sport and Recreation Riverina, then headed by Harding, and The DA gave him in setting up and promoting the sport known as cunning running.

During his time in Wagga, "Dommo" hit the national headlines when PM Malcolm Fraser's razor gang cut funding for the Life Be In It project. "Dommo" ran 210k cross-country from Wagga to Canberra over the Brindabella Mountains through Adelong, Bondo, Kings Cross and Cotter to Old Parliament House in 32 hours to deliver a protest letter about the withdrawal.

While the PM of the day, didn't front, minister Don Chipp did, making such an impression Dominish joined the Democrats when Chipp defected from the Libs; Dominish later stood for the Democrats and fell less than 20 votes from securing top spot for it in the NSW Upper House.

Dominish said: "We could do with someone like Chipp in Australian politics today; and the Life Be In It project, too". Indeed!

GRAHAM GORREL, www.dailyadvertiser.com.au

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