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Monday, August 02, 2010

Brumby's "Weasel Words" apology for Black Saturday disaster

The Age has reported today: "Beginning his promised round of community talks on the commission's recommendations with a visit to the Whittlesea CFA station, Mr Brumby said he was sorry for the failings on Black Saturday.

''There were system failures on the day … and for that all of us who were involved from me and everybody, are obviously sorry that those systems failed,'' he said. ''I personally feel the weight of responsibility to get the arrangements and systems right in the future.''


Mr Brumby, what about apologising personally for the failure to declare a State of Emergency on the day?

The weather was fully anticipated to be the worst on record. High temperatures and strong winds were predicted by the Bureau of Meteorology. Read my "real time" report here. Note that at that time, reports of the numbers of people dead were as low as 9. Shows how difficult the conditions were for finding out the real situation, and the actual number of persons burnt to death. But I was following it, in NSW, via the computer.

It is strange to realise (now) that when I was writing that report, Christine Nixon was out to dinner, and the Fire Chief apparently was not being properly briefed by his operational staff. And what was the Victorian Premier doing?

Is it any wonder I am not impressed with the Premier's failure to apologise for his personal failures on the day. I do not care to hear him apologise for "system failures".

Premier Brumby, what about apologising for what you personally did not do?


Russell Constable said...

Hey Denis I bet you aren't the only person who feels this way!
I certainly don't get a sense of remorse when the focus is placed on "systems failures".
Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear something like "I could have done better" but lets face it honesty is not a pre requisite for a career in politics!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Russell
Thanks - you picked up on my concerns precisely.
"Systems failures" is a totally impersonal apology.

catmint said...

In fact, pollies seem to be reluctant to be honest and take responsibility, I suppose in case someone sues. I think it is amazing and disgusting that CN went out to dinner that night. And met with her biographer and had her hair done during the day.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Catmint.
I agree entirely.
Total lack of personal involvement in the job.
Total lack of personal involvement in the apology.