Anyone can lead a group of people when things are going well. But the sign of a true leader is someone who can lead a community in their darkest times. Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, is and will continue to be hated by many as he was in charge when Victoria suffered another outbreak of COVID-19. However, Andrews never backed down, and he never gave up. Andrews demonstrated to all of us, leadership in action.
Through the consistency and honesty of Premier Andrews, Victoria is now on the road to recovery after consecutive days without a new COVID-19 infection or death. The future is looking bright and in stark contrast to the position of Victoria only a couple of months ago. Just as Australia was preparing to return to complete normality, a mistake in hotel quarantine led to an extreme outbreak of the virus in Victoria and the closing down of state borders. Premier Andrews accepted the blame. He was in charge, and his team let the Victorian people down. The hate and abuse directed towards Mr Andrews would have made many quit or run away. But this hasn’t been the case with Mr Andrews.
His strategies have been effective and led by those around them who are more knowledgeable them himself in the area of health. He has been willing to step back and listen, understand that he doesn’t know everything and make decisions despite how unpopular he knew they would be. He has put his people before his own position. He has relinquished his power to allow his people to stay safe and secure. That is, leadership in action.
Furthermore, he hasn’t stepped down when other political figures have tried to overpower him. The Victorian Premier has become the biggest challenged to Prime Minister Morrison’s agenda in a national debate over the pandemic. While Morrison prioritised opening the economy, Andrews implemented shutdowns in the name of saving lives. He hasn’t been scared to oppose the Prime Minister because his priority is on the people he serves. His servant-hearted leadership is clear for all to see.
Moreover, while everything has crumbled around him, he has stood firm. His chief health officer, Brett Sutton, may have misled the board of inquiry into hotel quarantine. His former health minister, Jenny Mikakos, turned on him. His top public servant, Chris Eccles, quit the government. Everything has led towards Mr Andrews walking away and giving up. Nothing has gone his way in the last few months, and I’m not saying he hasn’t caused some of those issues, but there certainly haven’t been many positives to take away from 2020.
His leadership could cost him his job. His approval rating is only 54% and lagging behind other State Premier such as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who sits on 68%. However, Andrews has won two elections in a row and is now the country’s strongest Labor leader running a government. The next state election is only in November 2022, which provides the Premier enough time to lead the state’s recovery.
Australia is so close to leaving the pandemic behind. With state borders scheduled to re-open in the coming months, there will be a time of reflection for the Australian people and relaxation for the nation’s political and medical leaders.
Daniel Andrews has led tirelessly, honestly, and courageously while everything started to fall down around him. He remained strong because his only priority was the safety and security of the people he served. It may cost him his job, but Daniel Andrews has demonstrated to all of us, leadership in action.