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Thread: The Australian politics thread

  1. #3931
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    Well, you're calling for her to be made to resign - she resigned of her own accord about a year ago, so it might be worth doing a little more reading up before getting fired up about it.

    You say this is not about politics, but I respectfully do not believe you would be interested in this if the Victorian government was of the Liberal persuasion.

    There are always procedural mistakes made during major catastrophes like this. That's why they hold coronial inquests, internal post-mortems etc etc. The objective/outcome is not normally that someone is culpable, but rather that there are lessons to be learnt for preparations against any future similar disaster.

    With respect to your point about the Chief Commissioner being the Central Commissioner for Emergency Management, the Chief Commissioner is the titual head of a number of responsibilities that involve life or death manners. You can't personally make sure everything is running properly - you'd get nothing done and be counterproductive. What you do is make sure that your Asst Chief Commissioners and Superintendents are focused and on the job and have everything they need to do the job, and then let them do it. There's no indication that she was meaningfully derelict in any aspect of that role.
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  2. #3932
    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt79 View Post
    Well, you're calling for her to be made to resign - she resigned of her own accord about a year ago, so it might be worth doing a little more reading up before getting fired up about it.

    You say this is not about politics, but I respectfully do not believe you would be interested in this if the Victorian government was of the Liberal persuasion.

    There are always procedural mistakes made during major catastrophes like this. That's why they hold coronial inquests, internal post-mortems etc etc. The objective/outcome is not normally that someone is culpable, but rather that there are lessons to be learnt for preparations against any future similar disaster.

    With respect to your point about the Chief Commissioner being the Central Commissioner for Emergency Management, the Chief Commissioner is the titual head of a number of responsibilities that involve life or death manners. You can't personally make sure everything is running properly - you'd get nothing done and be counterproductive. What you do is make sure that your Asst Chief Commissioners and Superintendents are focused and on the job and have everything they need to do the job, and then let them do it. There's no indication that she was meaningfully derelict in any aspect of that role.
    There is mate, and she admitted it

    CHRISTINE Nixon and other senior police failed in their responsibility to oversee warnings on Black Saturday, the former chief commissioner told the Bushfires Royal Commission yesterday.

    ‘’There should have been a follow-up and I should have done it,’’ she said, acknowledging that police did not check that fire-agency warnings were adequate…

    Under questioning by Rachel Doyle, SC, for the commission, Ms Nixon said she left emergency headquarters at 6pm and had not asked senior police if they had checked warnings, a responsibility emergency protocols gave to Victoria Police.


    But look, if you think that going home at 6pm when your State faces the biggest national disaster in our history, is good practice, then we'll agree to disagree.

    And, you are wrong - I don't care if she was a Labor appointment.

  3. #3933
    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    She admitted under cross-examination that she did not attend the State Emergency Response Co-ordination Centre until noon on Black Saturday, despite knowing the fires were already out of control on a day the Government warned would be “as bad a day as you can imagine”.

    Not once did she check if police had fulfilled their formal responsibility to issue warnings to towns in the path of the fires.

    From 1.30pm to 3pm, she actually left the SERCC and retired to her office to clean up paperwork, neither seeking nor receiving in those 90 minutes a single briefing or call on the fires.

    Nor did she call any police in the fire zones to check their wellbeing, ask for news or offer help.

    She did not call the Premier once, even to discuss - as is her job - declaring a state of emergency.

    She did not call in her Deputy Commissioner in charge of disasters, Kieran Walshe, and he himself - perhaps following his boss’s example - did not turn up at work until nightfall, and only to give a press conference.

    She failed to check that every regional commander in the fire-prone areas was at their post, and to this day does not know if they were.

    It was as if she were a mere spectator. Not once did she seem to actually do anything to help. And it got worse.

    On returning to the emergency headquarters at 3.30pm, Nixon did not ask for another briefing on the fires, even though she says she heard the staff say: “This is looking terrible; there are many more fires.”

    “I should have, but I didn’t,” she told the commission, explaining that everyone seemed “very busy” and “carrying out their responsibilities”.

    They acted. She watched. And was treated as a mere watcher, too.

    Her senior officials didn’t bother to tell her that nursing homes and hospitals were being evacuated in Neerim South and near Bunyip. She also didn’t check how police planned to protect fans at a country music festival at threatened Whittlesea.

    Nor did she ask for or read the police log in the room that noted what her officers were battling to do.

    “It sounds rather passive, Ms Nixon,” the startled counsel assisting the bushfire commission exclaimed.

    At 5pm, the fire service chiefs did at last brief the paralysed Nixon, warning her the fires seemed about to burn Strathewen, and there was a “real potential for people to lose their lives”. Worse, a change of wind later that evening threatened Kinglake and other towns and “we were facing a disaster”.

    The Police Minister had been called in to help co-ordinate the effort.

    It was now about 5.30pm. And what did Nixon decide to do at this moment of crisis, with lives to save?

    She asked an Assistant Commissioner, Steve Fontana, to brief the Police Minister in her place while she went out to dinner.

    She deserted her post. And didn’t return that night, not even after hearing whole towns had been destroyed.

    Column - Why Nixon fled her post | Herald Sun Andrew Bolt Blog

  4. #3934
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    She ****ed up mate, but she's already resigned hasn't she? How is this a political issue given that's the case?
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  5. #3935
    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    It's political now because Brumby appointed her to head up the reconstruction taskforce.

  6. #3936
    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardj View Post
    It's political now because Brumby appointed her to head up the reconstruction taskforce.
    Fair enough.

    How's that going out of interest? Amazing how quickly these things go out of your head when you don't live in the areas where it happened. Such a horrendous thing it was. That photo of the fire truck racing away from the black clouds of smoke and the hellish orange glow was one of the more amazing photos of recent times imo.

  7. #3937
    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgey View Post
    Fair enough.

    How's that going out of interest? Amazing how quickly these things go out of your head when you don't live in the areas where it happened. Such a horrendous thing it was. That photo of the fire truck racing away from the black clouds of smoke and the hellish orange glow was one of the more amazing photos of recent times imo.
    Generally depends on what areas you ask; some parts of the reconstruction are much further progressed than others. Kinglake would jump in front of trains for her, whilst Marysville would push her in front of it.

  8. #3938
    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    Yeah, I know it's hard to believe as I am very passionate about politics, but I don't see this as a political scalp. Most punters, including me until I was reminded of it a few days ago, are not even aware the Comissioner gets appointed by the Government. It would hardly be a fatal blow to Labor in Victoria for her to be sacked or to quit. Like when Hollingworth (who was appointed by Howard) was forced to resign, the punters would see it as more a reflection on Hollingworth than on the Government that appointed him. The police commissioner is hardly seen as a creature of either side of politics or as a scalp if they are dethroned.

  9. #3939
    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    Environment here is rather different with the police commissioner. Nixon was seen as being far too cosy with the government, and was in a rather strong rivalry with the police union. Overland is in a similar position, and trying to distance himself from this in recent times, with slight criticism of the government in recent times.

    I think that Nixon is seen by a large percentage as a political appointment, especially considering that she walked straight into the job after resigning.

    Nixon's decision making seems completely in line with her organizational manner throughout. She was big on empowerment and delegation. It was credited with great progress in the early years of her time, and was a cause for much concern from the members of the police union in the later years, as paperwork and bureaucracy increased. It would appear that this is what shot her in the foot in this instance.

  10. #3940
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Oh FFS, that old chestnut? What Police union members rail at as 'bureacracy' is usually a synonym for 'accountability'.

    TBH, and I don't know whether this is good or bad but I'd hazard a guess that just about every other Police commissioner in the country would have gone the same way as she did. There definitely has been a huge culture change in terms of how present Police heirarchy need to be when they're only a phone call away. Have seen the change in just about every operational area. Flexible arvo shift = start at 11, knock off at 7 and if you get a call after that on the bat phone (when quite a few calls come), even for 10 mins, 3 hours of recall/overtime. Ka-jing, $$, etc..
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 08-04-2010 at 11:19 PM.
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  11. #3941
    Global Moderator vic_orthdox's Avatar
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    All I know is that the police union seems to have developed the ear of the newspapers in Victoria. The calls had been getting louder throughout her term, and it was shown that while there were increases in police numbers, there were less numbers in active patrol, something that has been seen to be needing rectifiation in recent times.

  12. #3942
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    There was the whole Mullet/Ashby investigation going on during that period, and newspapers are always happy to listen if someone's happy to talk to them.

  13. #3943
    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Top_Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vic_orthdox View Post
    All I know is that the police union seems to have developed the ear of the newspapers in Victoria. The calls had been getting louder throughout her term, and it was shown that while there were increases in police numbers, there were less numbers in active patrol, something that has been seen to be needing rectifiation in recent times.
    Not at you but it's the same old argument, mate. Have been hearing it for years. Need more uniforms on the beat, etc. That's why we got in the UK coppers.

    Problem is when the pressure gets too great, stuff like 'Frontline First' happens as did in WAPol; all coppers, regardless of how long they'd been shoved in an office, are suddenly uniformed again and patrolling some red light district tapping drunks and Ben Cousins on the shoulder. Consequence? All long-term and forward-planning operations were decimated and organised crime is not just out of control but almost totally off the radar because D's are out there writing up people for drunk/disorderly instead of chasing the bikies who are providing the product for the same peoples' night out. Cue predictable rise in complaints against Police too.

    Honestly, I don't know exactly what the solution is but just putting more coppers in blue ain't it. There's a reason intel-led policing/corporate ops became so popular in police forces the world over; genuinely effective police work needs planning, not just action. Nixon appears to fail on both accounts here but this does not invalidate everything she did or the framework she did it in.
    Last edited by Top_Cat; 08-04-2010 at 11:32 PM.

  14. #3944
    Global Moderator Matt79's Avatar
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    I think we definitely do need more police 'on the beat', but the answer is not to strip the CID/specialist squads to find the bodies. Unfortunately, recruiting and training takes time. IIRC, Victoria currently has the lowest police/population ratio in the country.

  15. #3945
    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    Imagine if Howard had done this.

    I look forward to all the commentators, particularly Fairfax, condemning the Government as racist and inhumane.



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