Yeah, “I’m sorry” would have been kinda nice. But those aren’t the missing words.
It was always too much to expect even a façade of contrition from Morrison or Tudge or Miller or Benson, or at least a dozen other down-punching sociopathic thugs. So, although the words of regret are blaring in their absence, the words were not to be expected, they’re not missing as such. The missing words are:
As we wrote, it was all obvious. Always. Robodebt was obviously immoral and obviously illegal, and it was obvious from the very beginning, from the first moments that the elements of the appalling scheme came out. And still it went on for years. And why? Not because of Morrison and Tudge and Miller and Benson and all their fellow goons: there will always be goons attempting to do goonish things. It went on for years because supposedly better people let them. As we wrote,
Robodebt was only permitted to continue for the insane number of years that it did because of the obsequious and trivialised and goldfish-memoried news media. The publishers and reporters who covered Robodebt like a forgettable football match rather than as the great travesty that it was are almost as culpable as the gargoyle ministers and DHS goons.
So, to hear Laura Tingle sermonise now about Morrison being a liar and of the perversion of the public service? Of course she’s right, and of course it’s good that she’s saying it. The Royal Commissioner was great. But Tingle failed. The ABC failed. They all failed.
Of course Tingle and the others are not nearly as responsible, are not nearly as reprehensible as Morrison and the other Robothugs. But Tingle is a respected human, and we hold her to a high, human standard. She failed, as did, almost universally, her colleagues.
If the Robodebt post mortem has included any proper discussion of the failure of the media, a single note of responsibility or remorse from the too-silent media big shots, we have not heard it. To hell with them. Too.