Athenapallas's Blog

June 24, 2010

A MODERN ATHENA BECOMES PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

 

Athena, the Warrior Goddess, can’t take credit for what has happened over the last 24 hours but she  did ask her father Zeus not to desert the mortals and it seems as if his lightning bolt has created

an unprecedented event in Austalian political life.

The former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected by the people of this bright new democracy with such high hopes, has been  removed by his own party during his first term in office and such an event  has not occurred here in the last fifty years.

And his successor is Julia Gillard,  the first woman to become Prime Minister and  today she was sworn in by a female Governor General, another first.

The women of this country, whatever their political views, could be excused for cheering loudly.

ANCIENT DEMOCRACY

Democracy in the glory days of ancient Greece was  the pre-cursor to all modern democracies, and was a system of governance where the people could give

 ‘wise counsel to the state and where every man was free to speak out and be equal to the other’.

These principles still apply and much was spoken about them today, except in 2010 ‘the people’ include men and women, and no-one in this country is excluded from participating or indeed becoming the country’s leader.

LEADERSHIP

The ancient Greeks required of their leaders a  form of self-mastery that included  the Delphic  principles of Know thyself and Nothing in Excess. Knowing one’s self is fundamental to understanding others and communicating  effectively with them. And having the will and  the skills to do this is essential to learning  about oneself. Nothing in excess means aspiring  to have  balance in one’s work and personal life that is the opposite of,  for example, obsessive attention to detail or distrust of subordinates’ and colleagues’ ability.

COMMUNICATION and CONSULTATION

 Kevin’s communication style was ponderous  and sometimes impenetrable. Julia is a clear and concise communicator who can make sense of complex issues and who can use humour and self-deprecation to get out of sticky situations.

Kevin was exclusive  and  he alienated important allies by failing to consult and use the talents of his cabinet, the Caucus and his Parliamentary colleagues. 

Kevin dived obsessively  into the entrails of government, trying to be across every detail, failing to delegate where appropriate and thus creating a task for himself that even Heracles could not handle.Three hours sleep a night does not lead to coolness under pressure, and there is little time left over for the internal reflection so critical for clear thinking and powerful communication. It has been said that despite Kevin’s great intellect he did not acquire wisdom in his time as Prime Minister.

Julia has  made a  point of articulating this difference in leadership style her acceptance speech as Prime Minister, committing herself to inclusiveness, using all the talents of her colleagues, and consulting widely  before  important decisions are made, a style  honed  throughout her political life.  

Her first action as Prime Minister was to open the door to negotiations with the Mining Industry  and  to wide consultation with the community about an Emissions Trading Scheme which she vows will happen. She also demonstrated a  clarity of expression and a forceful consultative approach in her deft handling of barage of questions from the press.

During Kevin’s  final speech he began  to obsessively  list  all of  his achievements  which seemed to  be some sort of defence against the shock of what had happened, almost as if  he were saying,

‘I did all this and still it was not good enough?’

 And so for the first time his ever-present  smile disappeared      

 and we saw  frozen emotions trying to break through.

No-one who witnessed this it could fail to be moved.

 Here at last we could really see him and empathise with him and his family.

 

 

WARRIOR OF WORKING FAMILIES 

Now we have a new Prime Minister, a brand new modern powerful Athena, a brave and loyal woman, a weaver of relationships, a spinner of a new narrative in our political life who approaches her role as Prime Minister with ‘humility, resolve and enthusiasm’

Athena  the Warrior Goddess will watch over her and champion her cause both here and on Mt Olympus.

Julia will need the guile, wit, courage and endurance  of that other hero, the  mighty Odysseus, to overcome all the trials and obstacles she will meet along her way. The first  one will be convincing the people of the nation  of her commitment and ability so they can trust her to lead them into the future.

Zeus and all the Pantheon of Ancient Gods wish her well and counsel her to keep her faith  in herself strong

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