The power of choice

Monday 28 May 2007 6:10 AM

Anyone who thinks that Thérèse Rein has caved in to gender conservatism, joining the ranks of subjugated women, should think again. The nation has witnessed a transparent demonstration of true choice, so unlike the so-called assertiveness of popular acclaim. The latter is little more than a blend of insecurity and stubbornness. It captures much attention by bluster and spin. But it relies on retreating from relationships, thus existing only at the expense of mutual trust and regard. Ms Rein's considered response to the real dilemmas inherent in the juxtaposition of her business interests with her husband's prime ministerial aspirations, has been of quite a different calibre. Whilst later emphasising that she has never been "forced … or compelled … or pressured" by Mr Rudd in reaching her personal decision to sell her Australian businesses, in an earlier interview she stated "I am prepared to put Kevin first and my country first." To be assertive in the context of a healthy relationship - with a spouse or a nation - is to sovereignly choose, sometimes at personal cost, a path that will benefit the other, on a foundation of mature self-assurance. Amidst all the political and media spin, a refreshing reminder to us all. Relationships matter more.