Sometimes leaders are afforded an opportunity to step up. We are witnessing Queensland Premier Anna Bligh doing just that.

Yes, community sentiment tends to fall behind the government of the day in circumstances as dire as the current situation in Queensland. Think the Victorian bush fires — Premier John Brumby handled the immediate aftermath admirably but that didn’t save his government come election day.

But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Bligh is doing an outstanding job.

Sometimes it’s easier to assess the true measure of a leader during times like this. After all, it wasn’t Iraq that finally undid George W Bush in the minds of Americans. It was Hurricane Katrina and a cake. More recently, Pakistan’s President Zardari was heavily criticised for visiting flood victims — more than 4 million Pakistanis were left homeless — over a fortnight after the monsoon rains struck.

But true leadership requires more than just simply showing up.

Bligh has led the state over the last three weeks by being across everything and communicating vital information calmly, clearly and compassionately.

The latest quarterly Newspoll has Anna Bligh’s personal ratings at what Poll Bludger calls “terminal” levels.

Queenslanders may be looking at their leader in a different light after this.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey