It’s been a while now, but the Abbott Government is slowly slipping into a distant memory and for some, a soon to be forgotten bad dream.

Although I personally think that Tony Abbott, the politician, would have a lot to add in any front bench Government, I feel he did make a few key mistakes during his term. His leadership, direction and handling of a few key issues were constantly brought into question and ultimately led to his demise.

But what if the Liberal/National party of 2013 – 2015 decided to stick by its elected leader and simply bring in a temp to help out….?

What they did instead is not an uncommon course of action and we’ve seen it all before; a company (or in this case, a Government) makes a tough but critical decision to move on 1 or a number of senior level staff (Abbott, Hockey etc.) and usher in a new era of opportunity, prosperity and enthusiasm (The Turnbull front bench). When suddenly……


Things don’t go according to plan. Demand softens, competition increases and/or becomes more efficient, in-house fighting due to added stress takes over and staff start to jump a perceived sinking ship which ultimately leads to it sinking faster!

Although we haven’t quite seen the Liberal/National Government’s preverbal hit the gigantic fan, I think it has been or is being thrown in the fan’s general vicinity!

Turnbull, Susan Ley, Mathias Cormann, Chris Pyne; the list goes on. They promised so much and have seemingly delivered so little. So how does the current Federal Government steer their titanic away from the large piece of floating, frozen water in front of them before the violinists start to play their final song?

Enter the parachuting interim executive to save the day!

Or in this case, the interim Prime Minister!

We’ve seen it often enough in the corporate world, someone with a wealth of knowledge and who is an expert in their field comes in to right the wrongs and make the tough decisions. Someone void of any sentimental attachment to the company and who is there to get results.temp wanted

As part of a White-Collar HR Consulting firm based in Brisbane I have been a part of helping companies source and attract these highly sort after and skilful interim executives to help the business through a tough period. These projects can be on an ongoing, part-time basis or for a set period of time. They can lead to extensions or even permanent placements in certain situations. It can also lead to the interim executive making their own placement redundant and moving themselves out of the business in order to bring the correct person in on a more permanent basis.

In Turnbull’s case the decision is a difficult one and perhaps a slightly fictitious one. But let’s entertain my curiosity a little while longer.

The list of prospective candidates for a temporary PM would be long and distinguished in the Commercial market. Any number of former or current CEO’s, Chairmen/women, leading public figures or educated figureheads would be able to give a new and unbiased opinion on the best decision to make for the good of the country. Take away the hindrance of party policies and the threat of having to be re-elected in a couple of years and all of sudden some new ideas would be brought to the table and driven by people with a clear objective and less to lose.

Why couldn’t Malcolm call on an advisor (I’m aware all politicians already have several) in a more public sense and lean on someone else’s experience for a period of time under the guise that it is in the best interest of the country? Particularly if the interim Prime Minister was to work on a 3 or 6 monthly rolling basis and therefore not a long-term excuse.

One argument against this might be that a country needs a strong leader and to admit you need help might weaken his position overall. Surely we’re all working towards what’s best for the country and surely we can all agree it takes a pretty strong person to admit they need some help?

Either way, I think we all know that in reality this sort of arrangement wouldn’t happen in the office of the Prime Minister. It does, however, happen in the offices of a lot of commercial organisations here in Brisbane as well as all over the world.

Organisations see the massive upside of having an experienced interim executive come in and help to make a few crucial decisions. They understand their current leadership team may be lacking in one or two key areas and that an interim resource can help to upskill them and provide ongoing value long after the contractor has gone. Interim executive level placements is an ever-increasing area in the workforce and an area of particular focus for Optimum over the past few years. Perhaps it’s time to discuss what options are out there?

Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant

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