German Chancellor Angela Merkel knows a lot about leadership, having run the European Union powerhouse for 15 years.
She is not expected to seek a fifth term next year, but the country has benefited from still having her cautious, steady hand on the tiller during the coronavirus pandemic.
Other countries have not been so fortunate, and Merkel last week pointedly called out some other leaders' shortcomings. She did not name names, but she did not need to.
"As we are experiencing first-hand, you cannot fight the pandemic with lies and disinformation any more than you can fight it with hate or incitement to hatred," Merkel told the European Parliament.
"The limits of populism and denial of basic truths are being laid bare. In a democracy, facts and transparency are needed."
It is no accident that the top two countries for Covid-19 infections are the United States and Brazil, with four million cases between them.
Their populist leaders have consistently downplayed the danger of the coronavirus, spread disinformation, and ignored realities on the ground to reopen economies. But spin is useless in a pandemic. Health facts cannot be argued with.
As our September election nears, the pandemic and Merkel's words are a reminder that leaders' characters and methods matter, because voters find out the hard way in crises if there are major deficiencies.
Covid-19 has tested leaders on whether their basic goal is to do the right thing. Can they rationally plan, outline, and implement what is required, to do the best for the public and the country? And can they adapt to changing circumstances and fix problems in real time?
The best leaders manage to be authentically themselves while being strategically smart. They can make big calls and take sensible steps. They show at least some ability to anticipate and avoid political pitfalls.
Leaders who are basically competent and well-meaning can still make costly mistakes, appoint the wrong people, not think through the implications of decisions, get bad advice and be indecisive. Sometimes the experience of going through major difficulties can build knowledge and confidence for future challenges.
Just two months out from the election, our political parties are consumed by coronavirus fallout in the post-lockdown period.
The Government tried to staunch the wound of bad news seeping from the border on testing and quarantines, changing frontline personnel dealing with the brief.
Four cases of returnees escaping from managed isolation have stirred new outrage, although they represent a tiny fraction of the thousands of people who have passed through. There is still no evidence of community transmission and it is not as though we are alone in having these challenges. Two people were fined after fleeing Sydney hotel quarantine in the past week.
Yet, the risks are not trivial.
Victoria's new outbreak is a major wake-up call. It is believed to have started with a security guard working in a quarantine hotel becoming infected. The virus strain most likely came from overseas. The Australian state recorded another 216 cases and a death on Saturday.
The National opposition has also gone through upheaval with a change of leadership and a scandal involving private Covid-19 patient details that has undercut its credibility to attack the Government on border missteps.
It is not a good look for the party's new leader, who is basically still establishing his bona fides with the public.
One thing we do not want to do is introduce another virus from overseas: the politicisation of this health crisis.
Take a tip from one of the top leaders - pay attention to the character and approaches of our own politicians.