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Hear Anna Bligh live – and what inspired that leadership we all admired so much in Queensland’s floods

Last night at The Sydney Institute‘s lecture series Premier Anna Bligh delivered her key takeaways on the role of social media and our communities, in particular the role social media played during the Queensland floods and Cyclone Yasi disasters earlier this year.  Sitting in a small audience with the Premier I couldn’t help being impressed by this articulate, calm and well informed leader – traits that we all observed in the wake of the Queensland disasters early this year.  Last night’s speech is available as a podcast – you can listen to it here.

What I liked about Premier Bligh’s speech was the positive messages she delivered: the examples of social media used by the Queensland Police Service to inform and deliver news updates to communities via facebook, twitter and youtube – with a community that grew from 8,000 to over 100,000 followers in the midst of the disasters.  Social media became a means to bust myths that could have further destabilised the communities; it was a means to inform and update old media; and it was a way for entire communities to be alerted and informed with updates just as long as they could charge their phones (which many people in blackout areas were able to do in their cars).

The Premier shared stories of the Queensland mum who started the #bakedrelief movement – via her blog and twitter – with more than 300 cooks forming a kitchen army to supply the mud armies cleaning up the State.  This movement has continued, with the Baked Relief movement supporting the NZ earthquakes earlier this year.  There was also the #volunteeringQLD movement that directed helpers around the State and across the country.  Her message was simple:  “During the qld disasters, the technology that connects us made us more human, not less”.

Like many Australians, I like Anna Bligh.  I don’t know what her political future holds – Queensland’s tourism industry employs more people than any other industry and it’s still on it’s knees, while its coal industry will no doubt be impacted by the proposed new carbon tax – but irrespective I’m sure we’re just beginning to see what she’s capable of.

I was particularly inspired during the Queensland disasters by the public leadership Premier Bligh displayed – hence my closing question (the last question on the podcast) about where her inspiration for that leadership came from.

What do you think – are you a fan of Anna Bligh? What do you remember about her leadership during the disasters?  Is there something you’ve learned from her leadership style?


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