malcolm turnball smiling

The recent Federal election that is taking place in Australia is interesting to watch for a number of reasons.  The messages coming out from the individuals and parties are challenging to hear and look at rationally.  The reason I say this is that the personal attacks around someone’s success and wealth that they have obtained prior to entering politics is hard to fathom. I understand the challenge, debate and discussion around someone’s track record and what they have or have not delivered though painting successful people as not caring or being elitist is tall poppy syndrome in our country at its worst. Further personal attacks around their wealth and who they spend time with is poor form in my eyes.

Success for me is something that I feel we all should aspire to. You work hard, build businesses, employ people and be the best you can be and have a positive impact on society. You learn, grow and improve which leads to success both professionally and personally. You give back in many ways which benefits you and others.

At some point after achieving your success, you start to think about your legacy, impact and how you can help others. Achieving things for yourself has been terrific but you shift your focus on how you can best help others that is not about you or financial success. What can I do to positively impact the community, people and projects in the best possible way? Is this through community initiatives or volunteering? Is this through the non-profit sector? Is this through politics?

If it is through politics, I would welcome successful people in any vocation with open arms to represent me if they are doing it for the right reasons after they have achieved success. I would personally vote for someone who has been successful in business or another vocation for the simple reason that they are looking to give back, help others and assist. Sadly, we have too many politicians and have many of those that are there appearing to be doing it for their own ego or looking good rather than helping or giving back to others. I would personally love to reduce the amount of politicians by two-thirds with a focus on successful people giving back and we might be getting somewhere to realising our countries potential.

Someone that summarised this better when I was a young teenager is called Caleb Bond who wrote an article about this very point in the Advertiser on 24 May 2016 which can be found here. In this article, he made some excellent points which I quote verbatim:

  • “The Daily Telegraph last Tuesday indicated that Malcolm Turnbull’s wealthy image may be damaging his chances in Western Sydney”
  • “It’s easy to set a rich man up as an evil pantomime villain. But it is such a pernicious form of attack because it taps into one of the worst human qualities – envy. Because I don’t have something, no one else should have it either”
  • “Of course, it’s never their fault.  It’s those unscrupulous bastards who avoid paying taxes. The top 10 per cent pays nearly half of all income tax. That’d be the tax that pays for Medicare and schools.”

Some profound insights for one so young. The pearler for me was one of the last quotes in the article which is as follows:

“Turnbull now has to sell the message that his wealth is a testament to the opportunities this country can provide to anybody”

This is not just something Malcolm Turnbull should be doing. This is something that all politicians from every party should be doing in highlighting that success is not a dirty word. We all need aspire to it to give us and our children the best opportunities to succeed. Criticising an aspiration like success is a sure race to the bottom.