173 people die in a terrible natural disaster. A Royal Commission is established by the relevant government to “investigate the causes and responses” of the disaster. Evidence emerges of systemic failures — including failures of leadership at the very top —  that may have prevented some or many of the deaths. The government’s barrister tells the commission, in his summing up yesterday:

“We don’t see the issues that this commission is concerned with are issues of leadership … Notions the captain going down with the ship and leading the charge from the trenches — some sort of romantic notions of military leadership — don’t have anything to do with the sorts of issues this commission is concerned with, or with the solutions.”

A government that establishes a Royal Commission to investigate the causes of a major disaster, yet believes the commission should not be concerned with “issues of leadership”, sounds very much like a government bereft of leadership, whose captain may well find himself “going down with the ship” when he faces the voters in November.