28 September, 2013

Some free advice for Tony Abbott

There are reports that at least 22 people have drowned and 70 more are still missing after their boat broke up and sank on their way to Australia.

Tony Abbott spent three years campaigning with a relentless mantra of Stop the Boats.
It would be awfully easy to play politics with this and rub the new government’s nose in the fact that their policies have not yet stopped the drownings but I will not do that, partly because a new government deserves time to let its policies (however abhorrent) work, but mainly because it would trivialise the death of children.

However, one aspect of Mr Abbott’s response – or lack thereof – to the tragedy cannot pass without comment:

When asked about the incident when he was leaving an early Grand Final function, Prime Minister Grownup ignored reporters’ questions and just kept walking.

Wrong response.

No fair person should expect the prime minister to be fully briefed on an event as it occurs or have a fully thought out reaction to it. It would also be wrong to say anything before seeing all the relevant information. But to simply ignore questions on the topic looks callous at best.

Here’s how a pro would handle it:
“We are deeply concerned about these reports. We will have more to say when we have all the information to hand. Thank you.”
Would that have been so hard?


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