Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

Dissent and the Failure of Leadership

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Edited by Stephen P. Banks

A timely discussion of dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes. This book explores the vital but largely unrecognized connections between leadership and dissent. From interdisciplinary perspectives the author demonstrates dissent as a critical factor that differentiates leadership failures and successes and examines how dissent is implicated in problems plaguing theory development in leadership studies. By way of conclusion new proposals for legitimating dissent as a unique instrument for advancing social development and avoiding failures of leadership are presented.

Chapter 12: Making a Place for the Practice of Dissenting

Robyn Penman

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Robyn Penman DISSENT IN THE MODERN WORLD It’s Just Not On We don’t think much of dissent in the modern world. Indeed, it has become increasingly apparent to me that some powerful elements in our society are actively seeking to silence dissent. As I was writing this chapter, two significant political events occurred that demonstrated quite markedly our current attitude to dissent – at least the attitudes of those in power in Australia. First, the New South Wales state government removed the requirement for unanimous jury verdicts in criminal trials. Previously in NSW jurors in criminal trials were required to reach unanimous verdicts. But on 10 November, 2005, the NSW Attorney-General declared he would change this to accept a majority verdict of 11 to 1 in criminal trials. This flew in the face of the High Court arguments and a Law Reform Commission review. Learned legal opinion had it that unanimous verdicts were justified on the grounds of historical legacies, legal principles and the rule of law. But despite the learned legal opinion, it was clear that unanimous verdicts were not justified administratively, especially in terms of so-called inefficiencies and failures. When the change was first proposed it was claimed that up to 10 percent of criminal trials in NSW will fail because the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict. When I read that claim, it struck me that something was very odd and I pondered it for some time. Why is the trial a...

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