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A great leader: the wisdom of the sages

19 Nov 2014

Australians reward leaders who stand by core beliefs and, on occasion, flex their muscle

WHEN a giant kauri crashes in the forests of south-western Australia, every creature trembles and, if only for a moment, all life is stilled.

This month saw the passing of a colossus among leaders. Like Churchill, De Gaulle and Mao, Gough Whitlam could boast a record great in triumphs and disasters alike. His relentless determination to take control of events actually drove history forward. This makes it an apposite time to reflect on the qualities required in a great national leader.

Recently, four thoughtful people sat down to do just this. Today we publish an account of what three former federal MPs - one of whom played a decisive role at a turning-point in the nation's political history - and a prominent political scientist define as the qualities a great leader must have…

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Photo of participant Rob Oakeshott by Neerav Bhatt/Flickr


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