As part of our monthly segment, Our Community Leaders - Great Australian
Leaders in Focus, which features the thoughts of some of Australia's
great leaders, we chat, to Morry Schwartz.
Morry is Chairman of Schwartz Publishing and the owner of Black Inc.,
and has helped to spur a resurgence in quality quarterlies, literary
magazines and journals in Australia. In 2001, he launched the highly
influential Quarterly Essay,
a journal that has featured writers including David Malouf, Germaine
Greer, Tim Flannery, John Button, Mungo McCallum, Don Watson and Robert
Manne. Morry also launched the magazine of politics, society
and the arts, The Monthly.
He is is also the Chairman of Pan Urban, a major property developer.
Our Community: Who do you consider to
be the three great leaders of our time?
I'll restrict this to Australian leaders - and my three choices are
Paul Keating, Noel Pearson and Robert Manne.
These three people all created an agenda and had a clear vision for an
ideal - a reality that didn't yet exist, rather than responding to the
positions and realities of others.
Our Community: What are the three
attributes you would consider to be essential to a leader?
- A vision for a better world.
- The gift of capturing attention, a forceful personality: Nothing
happens without this.
- The drive and energy to create change: Without results,
leadership is barren.
Our Community: What are the three
greatest barriers to new leaders emerging in Australia?
- The haves look after their own and don't desire change - they
already live in the best of possible worlds.
- The power of the have-nots is diminishing - The historical
pendulum is well and truly with the money.
- There are currently so few inspirational leaders - a vacuum of
Our Community: What advice would you
give to a potential leader to take them to the next stage?
Identify and secure a platform from which change can be effected.
Our Community: Nature/nurture - are
leaders born or bred?
Both. The leadership gene, that is forcefulness of personality, I
believe is inborn; the commitment to a cause cannot be inherited, it
must be a response the world we live in.
Our Community: What do you consider to
be the three top leadership issues facing the nation?
Our Community: What insights have you
gained personally on your leadership journey and how have they impacted
on your style of leadership?
- Productivity - Low productivity leads to national poverty. But
not productivity at all costs. It must be through smart usage of our
assets, rather than at the expense of the workforce.
- Sustainability - National wealth at the expense of the
environment is short-term thinking; we mustn't enrich ourselves at the
expense of future generations.
- Safety net - There will always be a disparity of wealth within a
society, but a decent society must ensure that even the most
disadvantaged have a good life; education, healthcare, childcare
I don't consider myself a leader. To the extent that I have
influence through my publishing activities, I consider the most
important contribution that I can offer is to encourage an open society
by creating platforms for vigorous debate.
Our Community: Who have been your own
leadership mentors and how did they assist in developing your own
Given that I don't consider myself to be a leader, the best
answer I can offer here is to acknowledge my respect for parts of the
ABC, particularly Radio National, being the best of the media in
Published April 2006