Australian Way of Life

Wash Your Hands Of It

Written by
21 October 2020

This article from the Spring 2020 edition of the IPA Review is written by Manager of Online Content and Audio at the IPA, James Bolt.

Tired of being blamed for problems you caused? Sick of having to admit to the mistakes you’ve made?

Enrol now at the Daniel Andrews School of Avoiding Responsibility.

This course uses principles drawn from the Victorian Premier’s daily press conferences to teach you the fine art of weaselling your way out of the spotlight, then leaving others to clean up your mess.

Our course looks at lessons such as:

Never say anything you haven’t rehearsed

Here are three simple things to say if you are ever in that awkward situation of being asked a question for which you weren’t prepared:

  • I’m not about to run a commentary on that.
  • Let me speak to someone who has that answer and get back to you.
  • This isn’t about the problem I caused, it’s about keeping the cases down.

Now your turn

“This isn’t about watching the next episode of our show without you, it’s about keeping the cases down.”

Pass the buck

If you can blame someone else—do so. It might just work. Watch how Daniel Andrews does it:

“Why did we have a situation where 10,000 people were allowed to attend a protest without being penalised? And a woman’s been charged with incitement over allegedly posting something on Facebook?”

“I will let Victoria police speak to the circumstances of the incident.”

Now your turn

“Why did we have a situation where you ordered your dish successfully, but what I wanted never arrived?

“I will let the restaurant speak to the circumstances of the incident.”

Admit and hope it stuns

Admitting to your mistake but not apologising can be such a stunning move it will stop your accuser in their tracks.

More than 30 people were infected in Melbourne as several households broke the rules, yet no one was fined. But this is why the Victorian Premier is the master:

“I’m happy to concede that might seem a counterintuitive point. Perhaps we would all feel a bit better if they got slapped with a fine, but the value of the information that allows you to take one test result and then find the 33 other people who’ve got it, is much more than $1652.”

Now your turn

“I’m happy to concede it might be a counterintuitive point to buy a Mercedes-Benz when I don’t have the money. Perhaps we would all feel a bit better if I didn’t, but the value of the car is more than $41,000.”

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James Bolt

James Bolt is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs

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