The 44th Australian Federal Parliament has now reconvened, and the members from both the government and opposition parties demonstrated to the Australian people who they represent, (and to the world), behaviour that can only be described as childish, inappropriate, bullying, disrespectful, antagonistic, unempathetic and downright rude.

When we seem to be in the midst of a growing concern for our Australian youth and young adult culture apparently displaying increased cyber bullying, increased drunken violence, and disrespect for authority (for example respect for teachers and police), surely we ought to be able to turn to our elected members of parliament to demonstrate character, ethics and values that depict Australian culture as we would want it to be. After all, they’re the ones charged with the responsibility (and sadly not the accountability) of drafting and legislating laws and policy that will create an Australian culture that we are proud of.

Sadly we seem to just accept that the character and principle lacking behaviour that we observed as the Parliament reconvened yesterday is what it is.

If we want to create a culture of Australia that we are proud of, surely it starts with the demonstrated behaviour of those in positions of power, including our politicians.

Character matters!

Character is not a ‘soft’ area to discuss – not in our personal lives and certainly not in our business life. While it is easy to dismiss as mere philosophy, our personal and collective display of character shows in our behaviours and our behaviours lead to the degree to which we live happy, flourishing and prosperous lives.

Name calling is so easy to dismiss as funny, witty, and that sticks and stones may break our bones… but whether it’s Typhoon Tony or Electricity Bill, these outbursts and displays of name-calling in parliament, send clear messages to the broader community… it’s ok to name-call. Ask the parents of our youth who have committed suicide over cyber bullying that often starts with a simple anonymous name-calling post whether they think it’s funny or condonable.

We’ve just commemorated Remembrance Day, where we stop all the noise that’s going on in our lives to pause and pay respect for those who have given their lives for us in wars that have been fought to protect our freedom and country.

A fleeting moment of respect is not enough.

Character is about trust.

We need to step up, everyone of us are role models in some way, and our character is on display in everything we do… whether we are in a position of leadership or not and regardless of the role we have in our personal and business lives, character matters – it’s central to the depth of relationships we have and our relationships are central to our success in every aspect of our lives.

Character is about self-trust, trust in others and others trusting in us. People get your truth! Over time, your intentions, promises, actions and results will either promote or expose you.

At the moment, sadly, once again, our elected parliamentarians are letting us down and being exposed for the lack of character that they just seem to accept is ok for them, but not ok for the rest of us… and they wonder why we don’t trust or value them!