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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
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teddy bear 9:48 am 24 Dec 06

I congratulate subscribers for many interesting comments. Would like to comment on some of them. A deficiency of the inquest is that Maria was not able to go into the detail of the Macintyres Hut fire. If it had been put out or controlled on the 8th January then we would probably not have had the firestorm. Talking to various firies in the area seems to reveal that the fire could have been put out at that point. The Wayne West case against Koperburg may reveal background to this. A similar situation occured at Tumut where the fire was first noticed at around 8.15 am but the first firefighting units didn’t arrive until 12.30pm. Then there were delays until a firemanagement plan was received. Communications systems, Section 44 issues and delivery of fire management plans are always going to cause us problems until the bureaucratic issues are solved. As for taking notes of meeting, I have been in many intensely busy areas and disputes and always took notes, if not at the time then shortly afterward. I did the same for a week after I lost my home and possessions in the fires and still have them. There is no excuse for not taking notes in a emergency services situation. As for memory loss, this is a typical lawyers ploy. The memory loss occurred in the early stages of the inquiry, not more recently as one subscriber suggested.

barking toad 9:56 am 22 Dec 06

And now on 666 the mayor keeps pushing his political responsibility for events but not personal or ministerial responsibility. He infers the minister (Bill Wood) should be responsible, not the Chief Minister – conveniently forgetting he was in the chair on the day in any case.

Still doesn’t address the fact that he was on air at about 3.00pm 18 January explaining that the state of emergency was an administrative matter, nothing much to worry about.

Except, as he spoke, houses were on fire.

OneVoice 11:25 pm 21 Dec 06

Who is YouShouldKnowThis? The media baron who “owns” this site seems to have dropped the ball.

Non-affiliated lefty.

johnboy 9:41 pm 21 Dec 06

You have to leave your phone on if you want to get advice as acting minister for emergency services.

This whole thing makes me very sad, Bill Wood was easily the best teacher I ever had.

barking toad 9:35 pm 21 Dec 06

But, according to the mayor, he hadn’t received appropriate advice about the imminent danger.

How could he be expected to look out the window?

At least some adviser suggested reading the crimes. Unless he took it upon himself to see if he got a mention or a photo for the day.

LIC 9:26 pm 21 Dec 06

The sad situation is that while Stanhope is undoubtedly incompetent and in the real world outside ACT politics would be forced to resign or be sacked, there are hardly any candidates lining up to offer a better alternative. Put it this way, he is the least incompetent of the Labor lot, and the Liberals are worse. My dog would be able to do a better job of governing, but unfortunately the electoral laws don’t let him nominate.

johnboy 9:16 pm 21 Dec 06

“He was doing his best to keep on top of the situation by reading the CT

Just a shame he didn’t look at the black sky like the rest of us did and ask “what should we do” at 10am.

TAD 5:26 pm 21 Dec 06

I think you are all being unfair to Stanhope. He was doing his best to keep on top of the situation by reading the CT.

ABC Stateline Interview 23.04.04

“KATHLEEN HYLAND: Okay, if we can move onto the day. On that Saturday morning, how were you keeping informed about the fire situation?

JON STANHOPE: Well, initially of course in the same way that other Canberrans had – through the paper”

johnboy 1:17 pm 21 Dec 06

One wonders if any in the ALP are contemplating tapping him on shoulder given that anyone should be able to beat the Liberals next time around.


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