Former Australian Defence Force Chief and head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre
(JACC) in the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, Air Chief Marshal (Ret’d) Angus
Houston, talks about the dangers of executing military and rescue operations, the harsh
realities of wartime loss and the importance of positive leadership, in his exclusive interview
with Channel Nine’s The Bottom Line (airing Saturday 26 April at 4:00pm).
Houston joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1970 and since his retirement in 2011 has
been a trusted advisor for the Australian Government as Chair of the Gillard Government’s
Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and more recently with the JACC.
“I always say to people if you work tirelessly for the welfare of the people that you are
leading and you empower them they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth…It’s all about
positive leadership. Negative leadership is usually counter productive.”
Having grown up in a military family, Houston admits it was likely his destiny to be a pilot,
describing how his time with the RAAF shaped his personal development and leadership
“I learnt the value of professionalism, the importance of being the best that you can be in
terms of professional standards… I applied that and of course that’s what the military is all
Well aware of the reputation the military has for bullying, Houston was happy to tackle the
topic head on in the revealing Channel Nine interview.
“I think it’s very, very important that you deal with what I call the negative forms of
leadership, harassment, intimidation and abuse, bullying as well if you like. There should
be zero tolerance to those sorts of behaviours and throughout my career I always stood for
Houston looks back with pride, but also openly admits that the excitement of flying and the
accolades of his successful leadership have come at a price – citing the burden of wartime
losses as the hardest cross to bear.
“One of the most demanding things that I had to do in my time as Chief of the Defence
Force was talk to the families about the loss of a loved one. The bereaved families were
always lovely people and it was very difficult for them to reconcile the circumstances where
their loved one had been lost,” said Houston.
Angus Houston’s exclusive interview with Alex Malley on The Bottom Line airs on
Saturday 26 April at 4:00pm on Channel Nine.
– ENDS –
Angus Houston in The Bottom Line is Episode 11 in a 24 episode series.
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