Now before you chose to immediately ignore this post please know this is not a political rant. It is something I felt compelled to write having watched Ms Gillard’s resignation speech and reflecting on the leadership skills she showed even at what must have been such a devastating moment personally.
You see it reminded me that times of pressure bring out both the best and worst in people. I know that seems like I am stating the bleeding obvious but with my life experiences in the last two weeks I’ve had ample opportunity to observe it both in myself and others.
In my small world I’ve literally traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend our amazing regional High Teas (in Dubbo, Barossa and this weekend Ballarat) and at each spot I’ve met people from right across the spectrum. In 99% of cases people have come with open hearts and a true intention to help make a difference for families currently experiencing breast cancer. The energy you get from this sort of crowd is extraordinary. I also always leave being that much more inspired as I’m blessed to actually meet people who find it in themselves to use what ever experience they have been through to be that much stronger.
I’ve also been across to WA and again have met some inspirational people who are determined to help us raise awareness of our services on the ground there. The irony is we’ve had McGrath Breast Care Nurses in WA pretty much ever since there has been a McGrath Foundation. In fact we currently have nine Nurses working over there in places as far-flung as Bunbury, Geraldton, Esperance and Perth but it seems that only those that have needed them have known they exist.
I’d be being too Polly-Annaish though if I didn’t also acknowledge there have been people who weren’t inspirational, that didn’t leave me feeling like they were there to support or worse left me feeling that their unhappiness was in some way a personal failure on my behalf. You know them – they are the ones that despite how hard you work they find the one thing that has not been done – and that’s a tough place to find yourself.
And then in watching the breaking news on Wednesday and seeing the way Ms Gillard conducted herself I’ve got to say that it hit me – you can only be responsible for the way you react in any given situation and let others own their own decisions.
As I said this is not some sort of political piece where I jump up and down and say that what happened to our then Prime Minister was wrong. It’s politics and I would be doing Ms Gillard a dis-service if I implied she didn’t understand that. Only time will tell if it will have any effect at all – but it is my way of saying that I think there is something in how she reacted for us all.
In my opinion Ms Gillard deserves to be congratulated on how she walked out of that party room with her head held high and with obvious support from those who did continue to back her.
I think her speech did her more justice than any other time that I have heard her speak. Her honesty and frankness was so refreshing. She finally had her moment to call a spade a spade. She clearly articulated her proudest moments, without hogging the glory or claiming to have done it single-handedly or easily. She showed every attribute of “good sportsmanship” and can you believe …. she didn’t cry!
There aren’t many leaders in any business that will inspire tears from their colleagues when they leave an organisation but it was very evident, that regardless of what you or I may feel about Ms Gillard personally, she was very well-respected by those that worked with her.
And so from perspective I think Ms Gillard may have just had the last laugh as not only will she be forever remembered as the first female Prime Minister in Australia but I think her farewell speech set a admirable standard for all leaders – government and non government. I hope I will show the same grace and eloquence in my work role.
So here’s to both my daughters and my son (and your children as well) benefiting from her passion. I have no idea what party they may choose to support in the future but I feel confident that if they did enter politics and chose to look back at role models like Ms Gillard there would be much to learn.
Thank you Prime Minister Gillard
* I must now declare, in the interests of transparency, that I have had the privilege of meeting Ms Gillard on a number of occasions and I always enjoyed speaking with her. It is not just my personal opinion that she is articulate and intelligent – it’s a simple fact and I sincerely wish her all the best in her next adventure. I hope it involves more time with her family but also more time to continue to make some of her grand ideas a reality x
- Gillard’s knifing had nothing to do with the patriarchy (crikey.com.au)
- Was Julia Gillard the most productive prime minister in Australia’s history? (realnewsnow.com)
- The demise of Julia Gillard (blogs.spectator.co.uk)