19 April 2020

The recent global pandemic has provided a rare stage for true leaders to shine, and for others to painfully lay bare their lack of emotional intelligence or plain poor judgement.

And while the COVID-19 saga has a long way to go, we’ve probably seen enough of our leaders in action to issue them with an interim report card! I’m ignorant of the full facts, lacking in understanding of their personal situations and unqualified to undertake any sort of assessment of these leader’s capabilities, but I’m not going to let that stop me from having an opinion, so here we go:

US Navy Captain Brett Crozier A+. The bloke who was fired for calling for help for his coronavirus-stricken crew and vehemently suggested that operations be suspended for the health of all on board was sacked for doing so – but received a raucous applause from his crew as he was marched from the warship. It must have taken guts to make that career ending call but top marks for principles ahead of progression.

Jacinta Ardern – A. She was decisive, explained the need and obtained buy-in of her subjects. Top marks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo – A+. He has admirably filled the void left by the President. His fact-based, daily briefings have become a staple for the whole country (and watched internationally).

Anthony Albanese – B+. For an opposition leader to suck it up and not take political potshots at a time like this is very helpful. Good to see him not being a goose and unnecessarily point-scoring at this sensitive moment.

President Xi Jinping – D. I’m not sure it’s safe to be critical of the Chinese leader so I doubt any of his subjects will ever say it. But to have knowledge of the threat for so long before informing the world of the need to take urgent precautions was selfish in the extreme. And to callously allow wet markets to re-open (albeit with some restrictions of the exotic animals that can be slaughtered there) while the rest of the world is locked up in quarantine, has heckles raised across the world.

World Health Organisation boss Dr Tedros Adhanom – C+. Has communicated and explained the need for CV related measures well, but condoning the re-opening of Wuhan wet markets wasn’t a good look while the rest of the world are paying the price for a localised practice that seems to have been the cause of global misfortune.

Captain of Ruby Princess (Who is it?) – E-. Lock them up! Maybe we will find that the Captain was in an invidious position as a result of being told to tow the company line, but as Master of the Vessel passengers and crew should have been number 1 priority and throwing them off the ship with no testing or precautions was one of the top ten “most irresponsible” management decisions of our lifetimes.

Scott Morrison – B. Has shown resilience and authority but sending mixed messages around schooling that often contradict what State Governments have said are the rules is just creating anxiety and stress for families who are already feeling the pinch.

Professor Brendan Murphy ( Chief Medical Officer of the Australian Government) – B. The restrictions put in place around social distancing and movement have clearly been effective, but some regulations have raised eyebrows and are causing unnecessary frustration. Why is it that you won’t catch or spread the virus while walking with a friend for exercise, but you will if you are sitting alone on a park bench with no-one within 100 metres?

Annastacia Palaszczuk – C+. Trying to be seen as the toughest Premier in Australia doesn’t work when others have acted more quickly and decisively. Some of her isolation rules have been not just vague, uncertain and unwieldy but perhaps just downright nonsensical. But at least the virus has taken the focus away from her ineptitude in dealing with union thugs, frivolous climate protestors and party room disquiet surrounding her deputy.

Donald Trump – D. A modern-day example of the price paid by communities when they have an outright narcissist as their leader. Sadly, the US President knew better than his medical advisors and infectious disease specialists. And the price being paid for a lack of swift reaction to the looming threat is there for all to see.

Boris Johnson – C. How can you give any better score when the bloke gets sick and has a nap in a hospital bed for a week or two in the middle of it all?

Gladys Berejiklian (if that’s how you spell it) – B-. Showing positive leadership in taking necessary measures quickly – though will have grade reduced at the end of Semester due to the ineptitude of those in her team responsible for the Ruby Princess debacle.

I hear the howls of disapproval channelling through my router and I sense my inbox filling up with hate mail, so which world leaders of any level deserve an A+?