Let’s make no mistake, running the country would be no small feat. To even have the audacity to write a fictional series about how I’d run the country given the chance is a little obnoxious, but I figured, heck, why not, let’s entertain the idea.

The background story

As voting citizens in a democratic society I’m sure each of us atleast once has questioned policy for its effectiveness, or its sanity for that matter. Under the Australian political system we have a party for almost every letter of the alphabet, dominated at large by two power houses– the Liberal Party of Australia (Liberal) and the Australian Labour Party (Labour). Each of these parties has it sitting at their helm a respective Leader, to which, should the party succeed in a Federal election, would be deemed Prime Minister of Australia; a role I’m sure they carry with both pride and a significant weight of responsibility.

But–

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to run a country? What would you do differently? And why? I know I have. This piece serves to kick off a new series called Prime Minister 20YY, a tongue in cheek series where I explore a truly people first approach to how one Australian citizen, given the chance in an alternate reality might take on the most important job in the country.

I invite you to follow along this series and let me know what you think. So, without further ado, let me don the flag pin on my left chest and proceed to take office…

Proceedings on Opening

I suspect my first day in office will be met with traditional politics – the odd right blow to the cheek by the opposition, questioning why I’m worthy of holding office as PM, and that’s ok, because the country certainly deserve to know the answer to that question.

First and foremost I care about people and I’m fascinated by how the act of kindness can be scaled across families, workplaces and communities. And I don’t say that lightly. Having made it to the office of PM I envision having done so as an Independent, not serving at the interest of a political party but rather the absolute vision I selflessly believe in which is putting people first.

When I reflect on what plays on my own heart strings as I pen this piece, there is no arguing that it’s a deep respect for the experiences and emotions of those not only in our country, but across all continents the world over. I akin it to sitting on a park bench, looking around and making eye contact with a stranger, immediately falling deeply in love at that moment, as though in some way in a previous life you shared a friendship or connection that vibrates through time as a reminder that we are all linked. I have these experiences all the time and it’s fundamentally what drives me to want to build lasting, impactful relationships with each and every person to whom I’m fortunate to meet. I can’t help but feel that the desire to touch the lives of others would serve this country well.

It also comes with a level of empathy which would allow me, in a position of such influence, to put others first, deeply respecting and acknowledging how they feel and what they want. This positions me to deploy a greater amount of effort in the relationship to deliver on what they want, if not in its entirety, then atleast a valuable compromise that they’d appreciate. By being honest, transparent and vulnerable, a message can then be communicated as to how the decision to serve was reached and I think people appreciate that level of acknowledgement and transparency. It’s the foundation of trust.

I’ve had the privilege of serving teams in both not-for-profit and Government organisations giving me a unique insight into how to navigate the complexities of Government regulations, contracts and policy, which I’m confident goes far in serving an incoming PM well when the people need a voice on the senate floor. My job as PM is to listen more than I speak and take those messages and needs to my colleagues in office, highlighting their importance and acting as the spokesperson of the Australian people and not my party.

As a nation, we need to depend on each other for answers to complex questions, answers of which not everyone will agree upon but none-the-less significant in meaning to many individual from a broad range of backgrounds. This doesn’t mean we need to let go of our Australian values but rather deploy that mateship we are known for when it counts – in times of decision making that affects everyone. The country certainly needs a leader with integrity to suggest, drive and implement value based policy and plans to bring continued growth to this nation but it also needs a leader willing to go to the people for answers when a majority solution is called for. In the end we are a democracy and democracy calls for an entire nations input, and we ought to engage that right more when it involves everyone. If we do it enough, everyone wins in the end because we go back to the fundamentals of relationship building – healthy compromise.

I’ve had the privilege of serving as a leader in critical drug manufacturing, ensuring the quality of life saving radiopharmaceuticals meets the standards our most vulnerable in society depend upon. I mention this not for a gold star, but rather, to highlight that with that role came challenges and lessons that bought me closer to caring deeper for those truly in need and what it means to serve others before my own agenda.

Having run a small business in the area of sports coaching I was fortunate to meet, train and serve members of the local community, particularly because some of those classes were taught from municipal community centres in suburbs where socioeconomic challenges are not uncommon. Having the opportunity to instill positivity into the lives of the youth in these areas was both rewarding and to this day pays dividends in that long lasting friendships have been made.

My upbringing was on the premise that hard work pays off and to that point I firmly believe that a nation built upon a healthy desire to work, contribute and pay it forward is a prosperous one. I believe we’ve come to underestimate the impact that entitlement has on the potential upside of a society where each person, in their own unique way, serves the bigger picture by sharing their talents and skills, whatever they may be. I appreciate the importance of helping our mate when they have fallen down but I strongly believe from a place of good intent that by failing to encourage them to stand on their own we are doing them a great disservice.

There is no shame in meritocracy and encouraging a winning culture in all areas of our lives, be it the presentation of our parks, the reliability of our health care system, the quality of our education system or the capability of our defence force. We ought to bet on the strengths each of those areas has and use them to support continuous improvement in areas where our people could benefit more. But it all starts with being honest about where we are right now, setting up a transparent vision for where we want to go and sharing the plan for how we intend to get there. And, most importantly, sharing in our success by giving back to the people to which these services are intended to serve. To me this starts with engaging in conversations with people that wake up everyday to serve these businesses and listen to their challenges and experiences, listening to their suggestions and including them in the formulation of our solutions. This goes a long way in drawing in the vested interest of all working Australian’s, because it truly reminds us that it is our country and we all need to play a part.

As a young man driven by a winning, all inclusive attitude, I endevour to see all Australian’s prosper in ways that matter to them. For some this is financial, for others it’s acceptance and the desire to feel safe and loved for who they are, and for many it’s just to be heard. But one thing that ties us all together is that we are Australian and it’s that bond that makes us great. We have a spiritual land that needs to be respected for it’s deep connection to our ancestors, balanced fairly and respectfully by the opportunity to build upon it a great nation that stands strong at its core on the global platform – and that core is it’s people.

It’s my privilege to serve you as Prime Minister of this great country and emplore you to extend this privlesge to your own neighbour.

That’s kind of what I’d open my first meeting with – it’s the most honest address I felt would be worthy of delivery in a world where I imagine myself holding one of the most challenging roles in the country.

Want to follow my journey, share thoughts on important policy or have something valuable the people need support in? Drop me a comment and I’ll take it to my next meeting ;)

See you in vol.2.

Ivan

Running for Prime Minister 20YY is tongue in cheek series where I unveil what I’d do while holding down the country’s top job if elected sometime in 20YY. You can follow along with the rest of the series here.

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