Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 19:01 | SYDNEY
Monday 16 Jul 2018 | 19:01 | SYDNEY

Two visions of leadership


Sam Roggeveen


8 November 2011 13:12

Malcolm Turnbull on last night's edition of Q&A:

My own view is that America has completely abdicated global leadership on climate change...I think what we have to look forward to, and it isn't a very promising prospect, but the only country I think that is capable of showing real leadership now, and whether they do so remains to be seen, is China...There the consequences of environmental pollution and damage, emissions of all kinds, are so profound that it is becoming a real immediate political issue.

And that's why China, in it's new five-year plan, is starting to take real action, seriously. Now, what will come of it? You can be a cynic, but frankly, it's a tough thing to say, but the Chinese are the best hope of the side in terms of global leadership now that America has basically abandoned it.

It's great that such a challenging and provocative idea gets an airing on a mainstream and relatively popular current affairs TV program.

What's depressing is that, as profoundly important as this issue is, Q&A host Tony Jones seemed too bored to probe further, his follow-up being a standard 'gotcha' question designed to get Turnbull to criticise his leader. Predictably, Turnbull parried with a weary recitation of the party line, and the moment was gone.

Tony Jones is a talented interviewer and seems to have an interest in ideas. But in this case, he lapsed into the Canberra press gallery's political leadership parlour game, in which every pressing national priority is just another opportunity to discuss who's up and who's down. Say what you will about Turnbull's views on climate change, but he at least takes a more expansive view of what leadership is.