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72. Government Leadership During a Pandemic

by | Apr 4, 2022 | 0 comments

Podcast Artwork - EP72
Culture of Leadership
72. Government Leadership During a Pandemic



It’s useful to look back on a period of great crisis and analyze what was done right, and what lessons can be gleaned from decisions that didn’t work out as planned. My guest today is Scott Farlow, and he is going to do just that – look back on the pandemic and the New South Wales government’s responses and how they worked or didn’t.  

Scott Glynn Farlow is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since the 2015 NSW state election, representing the Liberal Party. Farlow grew up in Sydney’s Inner Western suburbs. He was the first member of his family to study at university, graduating with degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Sydney. He later graduated from the College of Law with a Diploma of Legal Practice.

In 2004 Farlow was elected to Strathfield City Council and became mayor in 2007. At the age of 23, Farlow was the youngest mayor in Australia at that time. Farlow was preselected by the Liberal Party to run as a candidate for the NSW Legislative Council at the March 2015 Election. He was subsequently elected and is serving an eight-year term set to expire in 2023.

In this episode, Scott and I will discuss how the pandemic unfolded in Australia in general, and New South Wales in particular. Farlow focuses on increasing efficiency and transparency in government expenditure, and we will hear about many of the governmental decisions he was privy to during the pandemic.

Discussion Points

  • Scott and his wife Penny had a “scrutineering” date in public
  • Scott takes us through his experiences in the early days of the pandemic March 2020
  • The playbook from countries like South Korea was helpful in the early months
  • What were your initial thoughts when asked to become the Parliamentary Secretary of Covid Recovery?
  • Was there one major decision you made that you’re proud of in retrospect?
  • Can you give us an example of using “clarity over certainty” in your role?
  • The decision to shut down construction work was major– can you tell us how that came about?
  • Why was such a “blanket approach” used throughout cities and regions?
  • Media– did it help or hinder?
  • Tell us why New South Wales has “got it” and can handle the next wave of the pandemic?
  • Do you have any government insight into certain businesses coming back, or failing, etc?
  • Any changes you’d like to see in government systems – local, state, or federal?
  • What are your thoughts about the ‘hidden costs’ or ‘shadow pandemic’ that are yet to be fully realized?
  • You and your wife had some time dealing with quarantine– any tips for us on how to make that less painful?
  • How do you maintain your humility as a public servant?
  • So in summary, my three key takeaways were:
    • Leaders focus on clarity over certainty
    • Leaders make the tough decisions
    • Leaders seek a variety of educated opinions


Scott Farlow Website 

Government Member Page

Scott Farlow LinkedIn 

Scott Farlow Facebook

Scott Farlow Twitter

Scott Farlow Instagram 

Brendan Rogers Website

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The Culture of Leadership Podcast Website

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The Culture of Leadership Instagram 

If you have any questions for Brendan around this episode or generally around culture, leadership, or teamwork, feel free to contact him here.

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