I really need be up front about the fact that I did not vote for Malcolm Turnbull.
Australia's most disappointing Prime Minister
I don’t vote conservative. I never have. I am a reluctant Labor voter, reluctant because I recognise that I am voting for the best of a number of evils.
Read more by DJC: Political integrity? Pffft, you've got to be joking!
That said, I am not of the view that all ALP members are smart and good, or that all LNP members are evil and dumb. There are good and bad, smart and stupid, on all sides. There are good and bad policies on both sides and in all parties, except perhaps One Nation, the party inspired by ignorance.
I will also say up front that it is all too easy to be critical of politicians. I understand that we live in a country that is tribal, with people attaching to parties; partisan, with the divide rarely crossed; critical; and most of all, where everybody is SO much smarter than our political leaders. Abusing politicians and hating politics is a national pastime.
I am in none of these camps and have no intention of embarking on a wholesale attack on politicians here. I will focus on just two politicians and one issue – leadership.
Definitions of leadership abound. I will not add to those definitions here. I want to just focus on two widely recognised characteristics of an effective leader: vision and courage.
In my humble view, nothing is more important for an effective leader than articulating a clear vison that everyone can be inspired by and recognise the value of working toward.
A vision has the power to bring us all together, give structure and meaning to the actions of government and justify policies, popular and unpopular, in a way that will at least ensure acceptance.
At its best, a vision can be bigger than any single government and cause governments of all persuasions to work within a common framework.
There is no leadership without vision.
From definition then, we have no leadership in this country, given that neither Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten have articulated any form of it.
They both constantly articulate any number of platitudes and meaningless slogans, but neither articulate anything even approximating a vision. Both have announced any number of policies, but neither of them have provided the visionary context within which those policies make sense.
I defy you, dear reader, to tell us all in 20 words or less, what Turnbull or Shorten are trying to create, are working toward (other than holding power), or intend to deliver.
What would their ideal Australia look like? Worse than you not knowing, is the apparent fact that they don't, either. As a result, neither of them can say that they know why they are doing what they are doing or where they are going. Sadly, they are not alone. They are in very good company.
There is also no leadership without courage. Courage is the capacity to deal with fear and still do what needs to be done. Moral courage, the most important kind of courage, is all about doing what you believe is right, no matter the cost.
Bill Shorten has never been prime minister and, as such, I cannot say how much courage he may have in the job.
That said, he has demonstrated courage in developing and announcing policies, at a time when oppositions have achieved their greatest success announcing nothing and remaining a small target.
He has taken the more courageous path in this regard and we will almost certainly see if this carries on into his prime ministership, given that the recovery in the governments stocks seems less and less likely.
I am no political analyst, but I would argue that one of the reasons Malcolm Turnbull and his party are so far behind in the polls is that Mr Turnbull is perhaps the most disappointing Prime Minister in 50 years.
I was no fan of Menzies, Holt, McMahon, Fraser, Hawke, Howard, Rudd, Gillard or Abbott, but with all of these prime ministers, I think most of us got what we expected. They acted in office in line with the expectations they created before taking office.
The other two prime ministers in the past 50 years, other than the short-lived and easily forgettable Black Jack McKwen, were Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating.
They were men of real courage and never delivered less than they promised.
The reason Turnbull has topped my disappointment list is that he has a complete lack of courage, moral or otherwise.
This is a man who believes in climate change and alternative energy - and yet took the country backwards on this front.
This is the advocate of marriage equality - who allowed the conservatives to facilitate a damaging postal vote, costing more than $120 million.
This is the man who spoke of the importance of human rights - but allowed Peter Dutton to terrorise legal and legitimate refugees.
This is the man who led the Republican movement - and now has done absolutely nothing to further their cause.
And the list goes on.
I believe that Malcolm Turnbull is almost certainly a good man with strong values. Like many Australians, I was optimistic when he replaced Tony Abbott.
But he just has not delivered. Instead, he has demonstrated time and again a complete inability to stand up to anyone.
He is the first Australian Prime Minister in my lifetime that I would describe as ‘gutless’.
Malcolm Turnbull is Australia’s most disappointing Prime Minister ever!
What do you think?