Over the past few weeks, we have seen many examples of the different ways politicians in our local or global settings have demonstrated their capacity to lead. Whether it be Theresa May and the Brexit issues in the UK, Donald Trump and ‘the wall’, Kim Jong-un from North Korea continuing with possible testing of his nuclear weapons, or our own local politicians Morrison, Shorten, Berejiklian or Daley. The one politician who has made a huge impact, not only on her local community but at a global level, is the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern.
I spoke to the girls at Tuesday’s College Assembly about the qualities of leadership Ms Adern has displayed throughout the Christchurch tragedy: the qualities that many of us have admired and also, for some of us, have challenged us to ask "would I have responded in the same way?"
Here is a woman who has demonstrated courage in awful circumstances, a compassionate woman who has mourned with and beside her community, a woman who has challenged all forms of extremism, a woman who has said we must change our guns laws (and within days presented the NZ community with new legislation to eliminate semi-automatic weapons). A woman who has challenged the negative aspects of the social media world in which we now all live. A woman who says that our common humanity should stand above all our differences in faith and ideology. A woman who has said that our democratic right to free speech should not accept ‘hate speech’ and intolerance of another individual or group within our community. A woman who said irrespective of our individual differences we are one, we are all New Zealanders, we are all human.
Irrespective of our own political perspectives, irrespective of our own faith traditions and beliefs (whether it be Catholic, Maronite, other Christian denominations, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or a non-believer), Australian born, an immigrant or refugee, male or female, young or old, we are all bonded by our common humanity.
I don’t know about you (and some of you may not agree with me), but this is the type of leader that I want my own daughter to look up to. The College Mission Statement says that we want our girls to be ‘courageous leaders who can make a difference in the world’. Congratulations Jacinda Adern and the many other leaders just like her. Our world and our Australian community desperately needs more leaders like you!
Let us pray as a Mercy family that here in Australia we never have to experience the tragedy of Christchurch.