And being PM means taking responsibility for handling what befalls the nation. Our history is full of Prime Ministers who had events turn against them, whether it was James Scullin becoming PM two days before the 1929 stock market crash, or Robert Menzies turning up just in time to have WWII declared on his watch, or Gough Whitlam's optimistic new government colliding with the Energy Crisis, or John Howard facing the horror of the Port Arthur Massacre, or Kevin Rudd being in the chair for the GFC.
All stepped up and faced the challenges, and in several cases paid a terrible personal and political price.
But until now no PM had ever responded to a devastating national emergency by denying it, then saying it was a state issue, then blaming their wife for them taking a holiday, then systematically failing to take timely action before waging a propaganda war starting with "arsonists" and ending with an attempt to spin it such a way as to benefit mining companies.
That takes a very particular type of coward.

Andrew P. Street

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