The tragedy of the floods in Queensland is underscored by the unknown number of deaths, and the grim search of homes and swamped vehicles for bodies. The indiscriminate manner in which nature destroys life and property is stunning and sobering. We want to ask, “Can this really be Australia?” Our prayers go out to all those affected by the floods and those involved in the cleanup.
We have, however, reason to be proud of neighbour helping neighbour, those who make donations, volunteers selflessly doing what is possible, the management systems of the SES, other emergency services, the Australian Armed Forces and of the leadership at many levels within our democratic nation.
The photo above highlights the servanthood of leadership. We have the PM, Premier, Mayor and Major General in conversation. Their task is to survey the damage and needs, to be advised by their hierarchies and to facilitate the restoration of services and provision of welfare in the coming months and years. They are our figureheads, but it’s about service. It’s about democratically elected leaders serving their constituencies. It’s about assisting people in their hour of need. It’s about standing alongside people and providing moral and administrative support.
Notice that the civilian leaders in this photo are women. This is not insignificant. It could not have occurred in Australia a generation ago. Times have changed. The photo represents our society today, where women, in the main, are not minimised or discounted. It represents the authority and respect that women have been given by their communities to be their representatives.
In ages past perhaps some people would have seen it to be demeaning for a Major General to be subordinate to women. Today however, such an attitude would be seen to be quaint, at best. It is not about gender, it is about the position within which they serve. It is about democracy, the system they represent, the people they speak for, and the trust and authority that has been given to them. Women are given respect (in the main) across all of Australian society. Politics today, along with industry, academia, intelligencia, police, armed forces and religion all have women at the highest levels.
We thank God for women’s leadership in this time of crisis in Queensland.