The NSW Government is in the process of publicly addressing the findings of an inquiry into the Ruby Princess debacle, which served as the direct cause of over 1,000 cases of coronavirus in Australia. And while Gladys Berejiklian is largely the focus of today’s proceedings, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has become the subject of some derision for using this extremely serious Government response to drag out the hugely dreaded corporate buzzword “learnings.”
Hazzard fronted media a short time ago to address the Ruby Princess findings, after Berejiklian offered an “unreserved” apology for the debacle. In doing so, however, Hazzard managed to turn the whole thing into an exercise in overstuffed corporate speak.
“I’m also sorry that people’s lives have been impacted by decisions in this 100-year pandemic,” Hazzard began, signalling nothing of the middle-management spiel to come.
“There were learnings obviously immediately from the circumstances which, as the Premier has highlighted, led to another 14, I think it was, ships not being allowed to come into Sydney,” Hazzard then asserted.
While one mention of the dreaded term is forgivable in this instance, the Health Minister followed that up by dropping it twice more in quick succession.
“I also want to stress that in this one-in-100-year pandemics, that there are learnings everyday by New South Wales Health and those learnings have continued to enable us to get to where we have got today which obviously in terms of the pandemic is a positive position,” he said.
Oddly enough he’s not the first person to refer to the Ruby Princess debacle – again, an absolute clusterfuck of a situation that caused a very large percentage of Australia’s initial coronavirus outbreak – as something from which “learnings” can be taken.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there were “humble learnings” – for NSW alone, specifically – to take away from the entire scenario; comments he deliberately angled at a state level to avoid staining the Federal Government with any responsibility, despite actively shielding two Federal officials with direct involvement from questioning.
Learnings. That’s what we’re taking away from all of this, apparently. A coupla learnings.