There's much more to true leadership than posturing and fighting, says Bill Hoffman.
There's much more to true leadership than posturing and fighting, says Bill Hoffman. LUKAS COCH

We're going nowhere without moral compasses

LEADERSHIP. It's the very subject of politics.

Bill Shorten is preferred Prime Minister for just 32 per cent of those surveyed. Malcolm Turnbull, still by less than half of us, sits at 46.

Shorten has experienced the longest run in negative territory by an Opposition leader. Turnbull has now led the Coalition to 31 poll defeats as preferred government.

Truth be known, most prefer neither.

Barnaby Joyce, the ironically-named Australia's Greatest Retail Politician, is proving a crass example of what we've got. Reputation, title, respect lost, ultimately it comes down to the money.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has been forced to apologise for a rude, expletive-ridden and completely unnecessary rant at Katherine's 71-year-old mayor Fay Miller.

Michaelia Cash, representing the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science ignored 25 questions from the Senate Estimates this week, giving the sort of non-answers journalists regularly receive from all levels of government.

And as Jobs Minister, she is fighting a subpoena compelling her to give evidence in relation to raids on the Australian Workers Union last year that occurred under the gaze of the media who either happened to serendipitously be there or had been given the nod.

The issue is critical because the raids, as part of an investigation into donations it may have made to Get Up and Labor candidates, have the appearance of being politically motivated.

Pauline Hanson's Party meanwhile is fracturing at the seams, Senator Brian Burston's defection just the latest calamity to befall a party whose leader has the habit of leaving her most ardent supporters feeling used and abused.

In the Northern Territory its high-profile former police chief has been convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice in a crude bid to hide his sexual relationship with a fraud suspect while in February Victorian Police head of the Professional Standards Command Brett Guerin was caught using a fake online identity to make "crude, course and inappropriate" comments about former police leaders and a police union official.

In Queensland, a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation has led to the sacking of several mayors, a councillor and council officials and former CFMEU head Dave Hanna is to stand trial on rape charges.

Last year Australian Tax Office deputy commissioner Michael Cranston was charged with abusing his position as a public official in relation to a $165 million fraud perpetrated by his son.

And then there are the banks.

All are just recent examples of well-paid leaders whose moral compass at best appear to have gone on the blink and at worst either don't exist or were never consulted.

Who are the alternatives?

State and federal governments and oppositions exist in an endless game of who's the leader, posturing with assaults on dole bludgers or tax dodgers, while being tough in the face of desperation or accused as soft on crime as they present themselves as most worthy.

It's all, of course, a nonsense which we accept rather than our own responsibilities.

We are all leaders, or should be.

The Barnabys, the Sam Dastyari scandals or whoever or whatever the latest headline aren't the problem, simply examples of it. We should all by now get that.

They distract from deeper conversations. Until we start speaking to ourselves and our families about what we want, what we value and care about, what we won't tolerate, what we would be prepared to demand and most importantly what we stand for and who'd we stand by, we are going nowhere.

You get takers, not leaders when you hand responsibility for those decisions to others.

Australia is a country populated by people who would make very smart choices for not just themselves, but also the environment and the desperate.

Making them though requires advice from the heart and soul, rather than the scripted messages of fake news that flows from every orifice of government.

There exists in our councils, state chambers, federal parliament and senate many of good intent and purpose.

But until we all start paying attention enough to cast votes informed by more than the theatre of election campaigns and their tired messages of debt and jobs, best intent will remain subverted by those who know only too well what they want.

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