Bruce Billson spent over 10 years in political office across his roles as federal member for Dunkley, minister for veterans’ affairs, and finally, minister for small business. During that time, one lesson has stuck with Bruce and he’s keen to share it with others.
That lesson, according to Bruce, is the simple yet effective power of turning up.
“I have this saying, ‘The world is run by people who turn up’. You've got to turn up to have an influence or some kind of impact,” he shares on the My Business Podcast.
He says the same philosophy is what makes some politicians more successful than others in representing their electorates in Parliament.
“In public life, for all the foibles and all the faults that people point out about persons in public office – elected officials – they've turned up, and therefore have the honour and the privilege to be in a position to actually do something,” he says.
Bruce says that being in any leadership position provides the capacity to deliver tangible and meaningful change, whether that be for voters in your electorate as a politician or for your customers as a business owner.
“That chance to actually bring about change, to have an influence that's durable and will improve people's lives, that is incredibly satisfying and fulfilling. I miss that part of it,” he says.
There are aspects of political life that Bruce does not remember fondly, but he explains that, as with all things, the good has to come with the bad.
“It's a bit like saying you want to be an explorer of Antarctica, but you hate the cold. It kind of comes with the traffic, so no point complaining about it.”
After his life in the government spotlight, Bruce is looking at new ways to turn up and make positive changes for business owners, such as through his work as an ambassador for export credit agency Efic.
“Post-public life, I said I wanted to keep trying to energise enterprise,” Bruce says.
“I know I'm a step or two removed from where the decisions are made, so that can be a little frustrating at times. But you know, you still turn up.”