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Want to see what inspirational leadership looks like?

At times, the fight to make this world a better place can seem overwhelming. One of the most dispiriting aspects is that the struggle is mostly against our politicians, the very people we entrusted with the duty to act in our best interests.

They value everything in dollars. Their morality must be ours. Their suspicions and intolerance are projected onto us. They listen to well-connected people rather than well-informed people. Wealth accumulation is their only motivation.

One could be forgiven for despairing, for doing what so many have done, giving up on politics altogether, unable to take any more of the lies, corruption, nastiness and greed.

But out in the real world, truly inspirational people are making a difference.

One such man is Father Rod Bower who works tirelessly to remind us all to be kind to each other.

Watch his interview on 7:30 report. It is good for the soul. After spending so much time listening to politicians, it actually made me cry with relief.

He also makes me laugh through the tears with his clever wit.

“Apparently we won’t always have Paris.”

Thanks Father Rod for all you do. You truly make it a kinder more compassionate world. And you help keep the bastards honest! (Can you say that to a priest?)

This gentle, caring man is what a real leader looks like.


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  1. Peter F

    Kaye, there are many in the churches who are good people like Father Rod. Unfortunately, the MSM are only interested in negative views on anything other than money.

    For example, the Uniting Church recently gave ministers the right to celebrate same gender ( Their words) marriage. Note that removing the word ‘sex’ from the description they have soften the offence this might pose to some. It is not about sex, but about love.

    Father Rod is a fine example of a minister who truly follows the example set by his leader.

    Thanks again for your articles.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Peter F,

    I enjoyed most things about my time when I was an active member of the church but the worship side of it really got to me in the end. The last straw was when neither the Catholic nor Anglican churches would just welcome my children to the House of the Lord. They insisted I commit them to their particular brand. The value of the church is the gathering together of the community to support each other. I hate all the trappings and ceremony and empire building.

  3. Peter F


    The thing I like about the Uniting Church is that they allow you to have your OWN understanding of what you believe. Doctrine is Not the be all and end all of their system. You do not have to accept all of the ‘impossible’ beliefs to belong. I have found that when I say that I will not pray, it has been accepted by the ministers that I do not believe in an all controlling ‘being’. This has been the case of the past six leaders of the congregation I attend. The only other group I have attended which gives the same freedom to me is the Quakers.

  4. Ill fares the land

    This is only my view, but in over 40 years in business as an underling and in the end, a boss, one thing I came to believe is that good leaders NEVER need to trumpet how great they are. When a boss is a genuine leader, people follow them. They might not be able to fully articulate what it is that makes their “boss” a “leader”, but they know that they feel comfortable placing their trust in that person. Leaders make difficult decisions routinely, but as a rule, their staff understand why a particular decision is made. Leaders are usually a bit more humane and implicitly understand that leaders nurture – and it is the message they get across consistently. Leaders recognise that to succeed they need to enlist people to “take the journey” with them.

    On the other hand a “boss” is someone who insists you follow them, most likely because their inadequate egos create an inflated sense of self-importance and they constantly need that ego to be pumped up by the sycophantic adulation of others. A boss, as opposed to a leader, routinely makes difficult decisions but those decisions are frequently inconsistent and capricious, or decisions that favour or are encouraged by the a**-kissers who have learned how to ingratiate themselves. The boss, as opposed to the leader, has no real talent for leadership, so lacks a vision and therefore never knows what they are doing and are therefore susceptible to “brain farts” and the guile of those who manipulate them.

    I well remember my last professional services firm. After a difficult merger, the anointed CEO proved to be abjectly incompetent across virtually every area of management, but they were surrounded by a bevy of sycophants who realised that they could get professional advantage by “sucking up” to the CEO (I suspect he had big mother AND father issues). It was also staggering how quickly his “followers” (I am sure he liked to think of them as his “apostles”), dumped him and transferred their allegiances to the new CEO when his behaviour degenerated and he displayed his tendency to engage in tantrums a bit too publicly and all and sundry came to realise the CEO was a liability not an asset (some had long before realised that the CEO was inept – bu we were the “outliers”).

    I saw the 7.30 report on Father Bower and appreciated seeing something of a person who has a vision for what humanity should be (but who all too painfully knows the depths humanity can plumb – in particular our political and business class). In all too many cases, church leaders have failed their followers by the pursuit of self interest and I daresay the politics in the church hierarchies is as vicious as it is in Canberra. I refuse to follow an organised religion (of any persuasion), although am not an atheist – I can’t prove God doesn’t exist, but rather it is just not important to me. However, one thing I expect of people who claim to be devout is that their faith should make them a better person. That is an areas where many in the Christian faiths fall well short.

    With Scomo, his need to tell us how wonderful he is is understandable in the first blushes of his tenure as PM, but his regular lapses into management weasel words show his (failed) management background (his tenure as the CEO of Tourism Australia ended, more or less, in disgrace (he was, allegedly, loathed). If he has any ability, it will be evident, but the signs are not good.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Ill fares the land,

    That is a wonderful description of the difference between a leader and a boss. I would add that a leader also teaches others to lead. They equip their colleagues with the skills, advice, and support to get the best from them. They show trust but also guidance in ways to improve. They must combine listening with decisiveness. If they communicate well and earn trust then, as you say, people will follow them.

  6. SteveFitz

    It’s nice to have our faith in human nature renewed once in a while. I think the majority of us are fundamentally good people. The bad eggs are insidious and creep their way into every aspect of life. Over time we learn who they are and, for our own protection, we need to hold them at arms length. Having our own insular life is a form of defence and to protect their innocence, our children don’t need to know how the world works. It’s up to those with the capacity, the life experience and the gumption to fight the fight for what is fundamentally good and, they do it for just one reason… Because they can.

  7. Karl Young

    True leadership seems to be lacking everywhere .Yet it’s so important.Your character is worth more than power or riches.Though it’s so very hard to attain or retain these days.

  8. paul walter

    Perhaps we should think of the Minister as Minister for (Non-Defence) procurements?

  9. New England Cocky

    Perhaps Scat Morriscum could attend a few church services up at Gosford, meet the working class people suffering under the present misgovernment non-policies and learn that Christianity is a practiced religion, rather than a label with which to get a political job.

  10. Zathras

    After the outrage about the Tonightly skit that was allegedly anti-Christian (but was really anti-hypocrisy), it’s refreshing to see some in The Industry with a moral conscience and without the fear to display it.

    As for the difference between a leader and a “Boss”, a leader leads from the front and by example while a boss stays at the back, shouts and pushes. People will follow a leader (if they can find one).

  11. phil

    Father Rod Bower is indeed an amazing man.

    Because I live nearby I have been reading and recording his messages ever since he first changed from giving service times and events to posting on matters political and on human rights at his church on the hill at Gosford.

    His passion for justice and his innovative use of such a simple mechanical device as this sign board has had far reaching impact. The sign isn’t even lit at night. it is about as low tech as it gets yet his messages circles the globe daily on the internet.

    You are an inspiration Father Rod Bower.

  12. Ian Hughes

    I’m not religious at all but Fr Bower’s interview ABC 7.30 was a delight.

    He is a very compassionate man with a wonderful (wicked?) sense of humour.

    I dare say if there were more clergy like him the pews would be a little fuller than they are today.

    More power to him!

  13. johno

    Well said kaye, not being a christian sort myself i am impressed with his loving attitude to the less fortunate. I must watch the 7.30 report and see what he has to say.

  14. phil

    Consider how far removed from each other are these two Christians – one Father Rod Bower and one Scott Morrison – both profess to Christian faith – one stands close to the path that the man Jesus preached and exemplified in the course of his life – the other is so far removed by his belief in a Christian denomination that aspires to mammonism – a cult of wealth.

    Morrison no doubt sincerley believes he is a Christian and likely even thinks he is living a christian life, at least according to the warped prosperity laws that drive his church – but to me he is a fraud through his un-christian actions in wresting Liberal pre-selection for Cook, and by his cruel and divisive politics as immigration minister – and now through his part in staging the downfall of the man he claimed to stand by – by these actions he besmirches the office of prime minister and deserves no place in our parliament.

  15. corvus boreus

    I get the impression that Rod Bowen, as a priest, is mostly about the honesty and positivity that good faith can help manifest, has an interest in theology, and possibly regards his involvement in organized religion as being both a way to benefit others and also a sensible method of maintaining his comprehensive liability insurance.
    Father Rod Bower seems to be a thoroughly decent and rather clever human being who does proud the best of the attributed teachings of Jesus the Nazarene.

    Ps, I like the clever touch of ambiguity in the final line on the first depicted signage. Injunction or signature?

  16. Kyran

    “But out in the real world, truly inspirational people are making a difference.”
    The marvel of mere mortals who become exemplars through their actions, particularly in the face of the most extreme personal tragedy, is heartening, even if they have to be viewed through tears. Rosie Batty, the Morcombe family, the Everett family, to name but a few. It seems disrespectful to mention the Australian government in the same paragraph, such is the gulf between the respective standards. But it is notable that all of these people – their decency, their courage, their integrity – have been enlisted by the government to associate some form of legitimacy to their barbaric acts.
    It is interesting to note that Father Bower is not immune to their bastardry. At the risk of sounding like I have some form of vendetta against Dutton, he spends millions on spin doctors, none of which have helped him alter his image.

    • “A federal government office has revealed its communications spending
    • More than $8.4m is spent annually by the Department of Immigration
    • Headed by Peter Dutton, it reportedly employs 82 permanent staff
    • Their salaries range from $60,000 to $115,000 annually

    Following on from its large communications and media team, the department has also reportedly focused on media training for top level employees.
    The department has paid more than $225,000 since the end of last year to media and communications strategies outlet Talkforce Media.
    The Canberra-based company has been employed by the department since last August when the Australian Border Force bungled Operation Fortitude, by releasing a ‘clumsily worded’ press release suggesting police in Melbourne would make random visa checks.”

    Given the failure of that attempt at media spin, Dutton refined his methodology to surreptitiously incorporate endorsement by Father Bower, through the use of his name.

    “Father Bower’s comments come after a Melbourne-based Muslim academic claimed that she signed up for workshops with the communications company, and that it wasn’t upfront that the Federal government was a major – and possibly primary – source of funding.
    “They have diminished the validity of the message they were trying to get out there, which I agreed with,” Father Bower told SBS News.
    A Home Affairs spokesman confirmed to SBS News the government contracted Breakthrough Media in 2016 “for communications work that builds social cohesion and challenges violent extremist and hate-based ideologies”.”

    “Australian National University terrorism expert Dr Clarke Jones said the outsourcing of community engagement work to companies like Breakthrough Media was a reflection of how difficult relations between the government and Muslim communities had become.
    But Dr Jones warned that approaches that lacked transparency risked souring the relationship between the government and Muslim communities.
    “When trust is broken it’s very hard to get any successful outcomes,” Dr Jones told SBS News.
    Breakthrough Media told SBS News it was “enormously proud” of its work with community groups to counter extremism, but declined to elaborate on the nature of its relationship with government.
    Breakthrough’s head of strategy, Rebecca Lewis, said: “As standard agency practice, we don’t comment on our clients, the work we do for them, the durations of our contracts or the values attached”.”

    They changed the media companies, but not the strategy. Very similar to using a ‘spin company’, Orima Research, to legitimize the cashless welfare card, misrepresenting market research as scientific or evidence based research.
    Father Bower was also embroiled in the argument about ‘exclusion zones’ through the conflation of places of worship with medical clinics; and the right of ‘peaceful enjoyment’ with that of ‘peaceful protest’. The conflation being the rights of ‘religious extremists’ to, literally, trash all other rights.

    “The NSW Upper House on Thursday passed a bill proposing a 150-metre exclusion zone around reproductive health clinics in an attempt to stop patients being harassed or intimidated by anti-abortion protestors and so-called “sidewalk counsellors”.
    Bishop Comensoli said he did not support the bill generally, but “if they’re determined to have a safety zone, why not a safety zone around any activities that could be personally intimidating for those involved”.”

    Yep, the religious institution that favoured its more zealous extremists having a right to abuse others, wanted to use the same protection to stop people outside its church protesting. The ‘christian’ extremists that actually invaded Father Bowers church and committed physically confronting acts (ironically to protest religious extremists) sought to have such protections denied.

    “Anglican priest Father Rod Bower, whose church at Gosford on the Central Coast has been targeted by right wing extremists as recently as last week, said the bishop’s idea had merit.
    While there are some legal provisions protecting clergy from fear and intimidation, he said it was not enough.
    “I’m not sure I would want to equate a person worshipping with a woman entering a medical facility for the purpose of a termination, they are different degrees of things,” he said.
    “But they both involve vulnerable people”.”

    There are several instances of the religious extremists Father Bower was referring to having committed these acts over significant periods of time.

    ‘Christianist’ terrorists invade Gosford Anglican Church

    There are sources of such inspiration all around us. It remains a sad reflection of our times that those who are trashing all that is decent about this country seek to legitimize their nefarious intent through those associations.
    Thankyou Ms Lee and commenters. Take care

  17. Susan

    Such an inspirational man.
    He has both Compassion and Courage.

  18. Kyran

    Ill fares the land makes valid points about the qualities of leadership. You would have to wonder if such a leader could survive in Aus. Not just politically, but with the constant sniping and ill-informed or partisan judgements of an inadequate media, acting without governance.
    Saturday’s Guardian had what could be described as a ‘puff piece’ about the NZ leader. As always, if you scratch the surface, you can quickly tell the difference between a ‘veneer’ and the ‘real deal’. To put it in context, back when Ms Ardern was first elected, it was hailed in the Australian media as an untenable proposition, a hobbling together of disparate groups.

    • “English conceded defeat but added that with 44.4% of the vote and 56 seats in the 120-strong parliament – the largest single party – National would be the strongest opposition the country had ever seen. He batted away questions over his future as leader after the second time he has taken his party to electoral defeat.
    • Ardern confirmed that NZ First’s nine MPs would have four cabinet roles and one junior role outside cabinet, though details of portfolios will be published next week. She said Peters was considering whether to accept her offer to become deputy PM.
    • The Labour/NZ First coalition government will be a minority one, with a combined 55 seats, and will rely on a confidence and supply deal with the Green party’s eight MPs.
    • Greens leader James Shaw said his delegates were voting tonight on the agreement, which would give the party three ministerial roles and an under-secretarial position – the first time the Greens would be in government – and said he was “very confident” it would go ahead.”

    Our media previously viewed a female, ‘minority government’ PM, as being worthy of comment on her gender, her appearance, her personal relationships, but constantly ignoring the achievements during her tenure. Lest. We. Forget. Julia. Gillard.
    It hardly bears consideration, but think of what has been paraded as government for the past five years through the same lens. Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison wouldn’t have withstood a day without their media cheer squad. It’s now six months since 60 Minutes did a woolly, patronizing, paternal, cringe-worthy interview of Ms Ardern. The story became about the subsequent outrage, rather than the fact it simply should never have been aired, that it could not be represented as journalism under any guise. Had it been represented as journalism, it could well be said that not only was journalism dead, but that nobody had bothered going to the funeral.
    It is also wrong to state it is only the fault of a toxic media concentration, as NZ media is just as concentrated as ours.

    The small role played by Murdoch in NZ is noteworthy, but only as an influence factor. Anyway, back to Ms Ardern. The ‘puff piece’ references Ms Ardern’s early career and priorities.

    “Her future as a potential Labour leader and prime minister had been discussed and dismissed. Ardern had said many times that she did not want the top job – she wanted a family. She had also suffered from anxiety, which she thought precluded her from senior leadership roles.”

    The article then goes on to discuss what this minority government has done IN THE PAST MONTH.

    “This month legislation was passed banning foreign homebuyers from purchasing existing NZ homes in an effort to address the housing crisis. Last week Ardern froze MP’s salaries and allowances for a year in an effort to address the rich-poor divide. And throughout Australia’s leadership kerfuffle, Ardern and her party stayed quiet and greeted the new prime minister – once it was eventually decided who that was – with warmth and diplomatic grace.”

    The article discusses a leader of deep conviction who has not resiled from her most basic aspirations, which are made integral to any legislation. As Ill fares the land points out, a good leader is not measured by their words, but what they have done for those they lead. It would be wrong to say there are no such people in Australia. It is just that their presence in Canberra is more remarkable due to their small numbers. While we were taking the piss out of the latest inadequate in a succession of inadequacy, deriding a media consumed by its own importance and relevance, however illusory, our cousins across the ditch were quietly basking in the glow of 2018. ‘She makes the extraordinary seem ordinary’. That the reality of life in the ‘top job’ was normal, reflecting the realities and normalcy of the constituents. At least somewhere on the planet in 2018, the leader is adjudged by the content of her character and insists it is no more than a reflection of the character of those she represents.

    “There’s never been a female leader who keeps her newborn in the parliamentary kitchenette. A PM who can talk nappies or Nafta. Neve Te Aroha gave the country a warm June, yes, but she did much more than that. She made mothers and women and fathers and men all around the country look to the highest office in New Zealand and see themselves, and a version of their lives.”

    There was an article during the week suggesting “Air pollution causes ‘huge’ reduction in intelligence” which made me wonder if Canberra had high levels of toxic air, making our leaders and their buddies in the Press Gallery peculiarly regressive in intelligence quotients. There can be little doubt that they emit a huge amount of toxic pollutants, but can that explain their fixation on values that the Australian people moved away from in the 1950’s?

    “They found the longer people were exposed to dirty air, the bigger the damage to intelligence, with language ability more harmed than mathematical ability and men more harmed than women.”
    “Chen said air pollution was most likely to be the cause of the loss of intelligence, rather than simply being a correlation. The study followed the same individuals as air pollution varied from one year to the next, meaning that many other possible causal factors such as genetic differences are automatically accounted for.”

    There has to be some rational, plausible explanation for the ‘time-warp’ that is Canberra. In the meantime, I guess it’s back to admiring people for what used to be called ordinary decency. Like Ms Ardern. She, like some others, is off to Nauru this week.

    “’Damaging’ Aussie snub
    Yet in a country with an area of just 21 square kilometres (eight square miles) – the world’s smallest island nation – it will be difficult for delegates to ignore the asylum-seeker camp.
    One visitor who has taken a keen interest in the refugees is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose offer to accept 150 of them has been rejected by Australia and Nauru.
    Ardern has not ruled out visiting the camp while she is in Nauru.
    “I have a hope, an expectation at least, that I will at least be given an opportunity to be exposed to some of the issues around refugees on the island,” she told reporters.”

    Maybe Bill Shorten will send the Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, to Nauru as a late entry to the talk fest.

    Leadership? Inspirational leadership? The great problem is that these are qualities readily recognised ‘out in the real world’. In the absence of crayons and lots of paper, these qualities are beyond the understanding of the occupants of Canberra, let alone their recognition.
    Thanks, again. Take care

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