THERE WERE NEVER IN THE WORLD TWO OPINIONS ALIKE

“Leadership for good” Really Did Start Here

“Leadership for good” Really Did Start Here

Liberal Prime Ministers who attended Sydney University have been ignored in the leadership focused marketing campaign
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In USyd’s latest leadership campaign, the Prime Minister who implemented radical tax reform, led Australia for 11 years and encouraged us, among other things, to feel a bit prouder about ourselves, doesn’t get a mention.

University of Sydney students should be justifiably outraged by USYD’s recent marketing a joke, reminiscent of a 2-year-old start up, not Australia’s premiere university. It is nonsense that alumni such as John Winston Howard OM AC, PM Tony Abbott, Dyson Heydon QC (or any of the other black-letter High Court judges who didn’t rely on comparativism as a contrarian crutch), were omitted in favour of younger, more trendy (read: left-wing) alternatives.
Sydney University’s new, gaudy, blood orange “leadership for good” marketing campaign contains some notables but only as many as there are leftist, clicktivist whingers who haven’t yet graduated. A bright-eyed young thing who asked a question about the GST and tampons on Q&A is a ‘leader for good’.
The Prime Minister who implemented radical tax reform, led Australia for 11 years and encouraged us, among other things, to feel a bit prouder about ourselves, doesn’t get a mention.
An occasional Q&A panellist seen donning a hijab and awkwardly pursing her lips is supposedly a human rights advocate and paraded as a leader ‘for good’. The Prime Minister responsible for welcoming 12,000 Syrians from persecuted (God forbid, Christian) minorities into Australia is omitted.
Of course the two Prime Ministerial alumni I’ve referred to aren’t leaders ‘for good’. They’re from the wrong side of politics. The perpetual leftist historical proscription will make every effort over the next few decades to diminish their memory and understate their achievements for this reason.
Sydney University is quite happy to forget that two of our most accomplished citizens were ever students at the university, and we know why. Sydney University is valuing the wrong people for the wrong reasons, preferring superficial symbolism over concrete achievements that have shaped our country for actual ‘good’. Consider William Bede Dalley. Yes, I know his is before 1975, making it basically irrelevant. But just humour me.

If the marketing campaign had sense, they'd make one of these.

If the marketing campaign had sense, they’d make one of these.

Mostly, it’s because of an academic culture that has a selective sense of symbolism and a warped view of history.

William Bede Dalley, a scholar, patriot and statesman, was paradigmatic of a successful fusion of Westminster and Washington democracy..He was a Catholic son of convicts, he went on to become a barrister, then a politician, then the first Australian to sit on the Privy Council. His statue now stands adjacent to the neo-gothic, sandstone edifice of St Mary’s Cathedral – the dream of his friend and confessor the first Archbishop of Sydney, John Bede Polding OSB. He looks serenely towards the courts and the Parliament where he spent his public life. Of course by losing our recollection of Dalley’s life, we lose another approach to identity politics. William Bede Dalley was unapologetically Catholic and his parents were convicts. He did not make his career, standing toe to toe with the Protestant establishment, by trading off being a poor Irish Catholic, though. He was educated at the seminary attached to St Mary’s Cathedral. His intellectual and rhetorical acumen propelled his career in law and politics. He was a patriot and a nativist. He represented New South Wales and didn’t question the inherent good in its thriving society by dividing along sectarian lines. He did not kick against the traces of the Empire either, but embraced the internationalism and commonality that links with it offered the colony.
We are losing the stories of people like William Bede Dalley. In ten years, John Howard will be unrecognised; in twenty years, Tony Abbott will be forgotten. Some of this is because of a fast moving world, but mostly, it’s because of an academic culture that has a selective sense of symbolism and a warped view of history. It’s time for USyd to clean out this rubbish, to acknowledge that in public life, conservatives hold up half the sky and for goodness sake, put Australia’s Liberal Prime Ministers in the campaign, ‘Leadership for good’.

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