Message from The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury

Transcript from a speech given on 15 June 2023 at the ASF’s Inaugural Not-For-Profit Leadership Awards. The Acknowledgement of Country has been omitted in this copy by request.

Good evening. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury. I’m coming to you from Ngunnawal Land. I acknowledge any Indigenous people present tonight and commit myself as a member of the Albanese government to the implementation in full of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

I want to congratulate Louisa Graham and the team at the Australian Scholarships Foundation for the remarkable work you’ve done over the last 14 years. You’ve partnered with organisations to deliver some 5,000 scholarships, changing lives and inspiring minds. These 5,000 people have then gone off to influence others. So you can only imagine the way in which the impact of the Australian Scholarships Foundation has rippled out across our community.

As a government, we’re passionately committed to building community in Australia. We know that over the last generation, there’s been a decline in the share of Australians joining volunteering and giving. Australians friendship networks have shrunk; we know fewer neighbours, we play less organised sport. And in that environment, it is more vital than ever before, to build the strength of the not-for-profit leadership sector. We celebrate those not-for-profit leaders, who are in many cases giving up a more lucrative job to give back to the community.

We celebrate those not-for-profit leaders, who are in many cases giving up a more lucrative job to give back to the community.

The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

The writer David Brooks once drew a distinction between CV virtues and eulogy virtues. CV virtues, he said, the accolades we might have won the awards, the promotions. Eulogy virtues, he said, are the things people will talk about when we’re gone. It’s those eulogy virtues that drive so many people to work in the community sector; to give back, to strengthen our ties, to build a nation not just of ‘me’, but also of ‘we’.

I want to acknowledge the remarkable scholarship recipients and leaders in the making. Leadership in the community sector is often less about telling people what to do, than sharing a vision. When I was taught leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, it was through Ronald Heifetz’s model of adaptive leadership. Heifetz distinguished between authority figures, those in command of others who can direct them as to what to do, and leadership, which is about getting a group of people to tackle a difficult problem. That notion of adaptive leadership strikes me so often in politics today, and I see it replete in the Australian charity and not-for-profit sector.

I wish you all the best in the vital work that you do as scholarship givers and leaders and community builders, strengthening our society and making Australia even more a nation of ‘we’. Thank you very much.

Read the full Press Release of the 2023 Not-For-Profit Leadership Award Winners here.

Read more on the Awards Celebration Event also.