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Today is [was] Doogan Day – UPDATED

By johnboy - 21 December 2006 89

[First filed: December 19, 2006 @ 08:20
Again filed: December 19, 2006 @ 11:15
And: December 20, 2006 @ 10:05]

At 10 this morning Coroner Maria Doogan is expected to publish the findings of her inquest into the 2003 fires.

Here comes the circus kiddies!

UPDATED: And it’s out! There’s a page full of links.

From the prelims:

I conclude that the failure to aggressively attack the fires in the first few days after they ignited on 8 January 2003 was one factor that led to the firestorm on 18 January 2003…

… I conclude that the failure to warn the community – despite senior personnel of the Emergency Services Bureau having knowledge that the fires would burn into the suburbs – was a factor that exacerbated the property losses and resulted in panic and confusion…

… I note too that, in accordance with the long established Westminster convention of responsible government, the responsible Minister at the time of the firestorm was Mr. Jon Stanhope

Well he did tell us he was to blame.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The ABC has a mostly colour piece on the mood in the courtroom and some of the findings related to the Emergency Services Bureau.

FURTHER UPDATE: The ABC has another story in which Our Brave Leader comes out swinging and saying the coroner has it all wrong.

Reaction: Bill Stefaniak has stepped up his rhetoric and is now impotently demanding that the Chief Minister resign. Simon Corbell is promising to respond to the recommendations in 2007. Deb Foskey is concerned but not enough to do anything, not that she could if she would. Deb’s also worried that “the bush” has been “proven guilty before it’s even tried” and is upset it might be returned to its natural state of continual low scale burnoffs.

Best of all is Canberra’s biggest ever dummy spit by the Chief Minister who informs us the coroner is wrong wrong wrong and we should trust him over her. That argument might work on Bill Stefaniak but seems a little strained when applied against a respected jurist.

Canberra Times kicks into gear: The Canberra Times now expresses surprise that the Chief Minister has not resigned. They also cover his attack on the umpire. Pryor has Our Brave Leader looking silly.

The ABC also has Prime Minister Howard opportunistically putting the boot in. They also report that the Liberals are warming up to the independence of the ESA. The reason this is a big deal is that to say the ESA needs to be independent is to concede that political interference was detrimental in 2003. The Stanhope Government is not at all keen to concede that point.

Chris Uhlman’s 2c: On Newsradio they had Chris Uhlman put together a masterful summation [MP3] of the tragic dishonesty and neglect which the Chief Minister is willing to take only notional responsibility for. (including a shout-out to the “tiny group” of people who pay attention to ACT politics)

One more update for the road: The Chief Minister has pushed out a media release linking to statutory declarations from Bill Wood and Ted Quinlan stating that they, like the rest of the Stanhope Ministry, were too dopey to understand the gravity of the pre-fire cabinet briefing. Despite the Cabinet Secretary writing a note about the threat.

Also Al-Jazeera are on the story and Mr. Stanhope will be relieved to see they’ve gone easy on him personally.

What’s Your opinion?

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89 Responses to
Today is [was] Doogan Day – UPDATED
terubo 2:46 pm 19 Dec 06

Who gives a stuff about the blame game. The most important part about this report should be the (73) recommendations – so that it don’t happen again.

youshould_knowthis 2:36 pm 19 Dec 06

You obviously didn’t read the parts about Stanhope, his evidence and his applications to have the Coroner disqualified, areaman.

Chapter 7 makes particular mention of Stanhope, as does Chapter 3. Once I finish reeading more of the report, I’ll get you some more page numbers.

Kerces 2:31 pm 19 Dec 06

Coroner Maria Doogan found 15 causes of the fires and made 73 recommendations in relation to all kinds of things, including fuel reduction, the communication (or lack thereof) between the various fire bureaux and about the bureaucracy and cabinet. (and no I haven’t read the report in full yet. It’s got 800 or so pages)

Bill Stefaniak says (slightly predictably) the report is an indictment of the government and that Stanhope should resign. On the whole I got the impression that residents and various other interested parties were generally happy with the coroner’s findings but think it won’t do any good unless the recommendations are acted upon.

And I think JB was a little unfair in his judgement of the ABC story above (unless the online people added to it after he linked) — it’s got plenty of responses and the stuff about Stanhope and other bits and pieces.

Kerces 2:24 pm 19 Dec 06

She said at least twice that Stanhope knew two days before that the fires would threaten Canberra and that he failed to give adequate warnings. The relevant sections are on p62 and p166 of Book 2.

areaman 2:14 pm 19 Dec 06

It doesn’t need to, this line is the killer.

despite senior personnel of the Emergency Services Bureau having knowledge that the fires would burn into the suburbs

Occurrences of “Stanhope” = 1, which you then quoted out of context.

youshould_knowthis 12:48 pm 19 Dec 06

SHe also clearly says that the Cabinet of the time (Wood, Quinlan, Corbell and Stanhope) knew at their meeting a couple of days prior that the suburbs in Weston Creek, and Dunlop, were most in danger of the fire reaching them.

And that they chose to do nothing about it. She also reflects on Mr Stanhope’s apparent inability to recall that the suburbs of Canberra were mentioned as being at risk.

They knew and did nothing.

johnboy 12:19 pm 19 Dec 06

Occurrences of “Castle” in the preliminaries = 0!

Wash your mouth out AM.

areaman 12:13 pm 19 Dec 06

Pretty selective quoting there JB, mainly she blamed the Emergency Services and and Mike Castle.

Mr Evil 11:35 am 19 Dec 06

Appeals forthcoming?

Swaggie 11:25 am 19 Dec 06

Looks to be spot on from what I’ve read so far. A damn fine read actually, she’s done a top job.

Absent Diane 11:16 am 19 Dec 06


VYBerlinaV8_now_with 9:10 am 19 Dec 06

This could be a disco inferno…

CouldExpire 9:07 am 19 Dec 06

well this should be interesting!

Maelinar 8:43 am 19 Dec 06

HER: They say we’re young and we don’t know
We won’t find out until we grow
HIM: Well I don’t know if all that’s true
‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you

HIM: Babe
BOTH: I got you babe
I got you babe

HER: They say our love won’t pay the rent
Before it’s earned, our money’s all been spent
HIM: I guess that’s so, we don’t have a pot
But at least I’m sure of all the things we got

Danman 8:33 am 19 Dec 06

D day eh ?

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