Roll up your sleeves, fight for good leadership

02 December, 2016

Lawyer, author, humanitarian and hostage survivor Rabia Siddique says people need to take action to stop the “sinister forces” and demand ethical and values-based leadership in a world that has now changed.

The former war crimes prosecutor, who famously survived a hostage situation in Iraq in 2005, says the rise of Donald Trump and other populist leaders highlights darkness in the world.

Perth-based Siddique will talk about her extraordinary life at a CCI-hosted An Evening with Rabia Siddique on February 23.

“What we are seeing now is what I would call sinister or dark forces at play,” she says.

“Like probably many other people I am still very shocked and almost still dazed by what’s been happening around the world particularly with the outcome of the US election, Brexit and now we’re watching with interest across Europe with some of their elections,” she says.

“This is where the importance of values-based leadership comes in now more than ever. I think our leaders and all of us, because we all have a sphere of influence, we now need to stand up and speak out and demand of our leaders more ethical and values-based leadership.”

Siddique says it’s no longer a case of talking about times are changing.

“The darkness that I talk about and we’ve been debating in society and the economy and communities, the darkness has now been brought into the light. And it’s here.

“We can either malign about it and be concerned or we can roll our sleeves up and get working harder than ever and I think it is down to us all.

“I suppose I am talking about a lot of communities that are marginalised and are being targeted so Muslims, asylum seekers, refugees even disable people, the LGBTIQ community, there are a lot of people whose voices aren’t being heard and who voices aren’t being given the platform that they deserve.”

Siddique, who in in 2006 was awarded a Queen’s commendation for her human rights work in Iraq, says the WA is a fertile ground for the right wing One Nation party to win seats in March.

“If you look at the evidence and the research the Scanlon Foundation released last week, when you break it down state by state we have to accept that WA is one of the most conservative states in our country ... with one of the highest levels of economic imbalance and inequality,” she says.

“So there is potential fertile ground for them to gain momentum and I think that’s why we really need to engage with leaders, and I don’t just mean our elected leaders, we need to redefine leadership to some extent to include community leaders, corporate leaders, and philanthropic leaders.

“The challenge for those who consider themselves educated, informed and enlightened is to actually open our ears and listen to what these people are saying without judgement and then to try and engage in conversations with people who are not feeling heard.

“I think that’s perhaps is one of the mistakes that’s been made that’s lead to the rise of people like Trump and Hanson.”