Times of change


Most of us like certainty. We struggle with change that is imposed, unplanned or unexpected. It is little wonder the recent Federal Budget, which involves significant change and has serious ramifications for many people – including those who rely on Uniting Church community services – has been so roundly condemned.

And now Australia enters a period of more change and less certainty as the new Senate takes its place in Canberra. Will the budget be passed by the Upper House? Clive Palmer has already surprised commentators with his announcement in support of an emissions trading scheme following a meeting with climate change advocate and former US vice president, Al Gore.

Clearly Mr Gore’s representatives in Australia recognised that the Palmer United Party will have significant sway in the new Senate, and so arranged a meeting between Mr Gore and Mr Palmer.

“All of us can change our view given more information and Al Gore was good enough to come to Canberra to talk to me and discuss issues with me and he took the challenges I gave him on a number of things and I’m satisfied it is a matter of great concern,’’ Mr Palmer said.

Does this reflect a man who is willing to cradle, carefully, the power he now holds? If so, this would be a significantly different Clive Palmer to the man we have witnessed in the media to date.

Is it a man who is dazzled by status, and so was won over by the attention of Mr Gore? Or is it a man who enjoys the dance, and will keep the government, the parliament and the Australian people guessing as he keeps changing his steps?

What does leadership look like in a global world where public figures live in a fishbowl, the slightest indiscretion can be picked up by someone’s Instagram or Twitter feed, and a motoring enthusiast with 0.51 per cent of the primary vote can determine the future direction of a nation?

Nine members of the Uniting Church were honoured in the Queen’s Birthday awards this year. Each of these people has offered distinguished leadership within their own communities. Have you reflected on what you look for in a leader? Have you asked yourself what kind of leader you are? None of us is consistent. How would we navigate leadership in a 24/7 news cycle captured on a global web?

Please pray for our new Parliament.

It will be an uncertain time. And remember the example encouraged by the synod’s Justice and International Mission unit. Write letters to your local parliamentarians when you are concerned about matters which impact our community, but do so respectfully and with care.

Speaking of respectful letters, thank you to all those who wrote to Crosslight after receiving the new look newspaper last month. Most people were complimentary and enthusiastic. We value feedback and critique. Not all suggestions will be adopted, but we appreciate the effort that is made in writing to the editor.

*This article originally identified Clive Palmer as an incoming senator – this error has been amended

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