There was no bigger symbol of John Brumby's imminent demise than the scene outside Melbourne's Treasury Place this morning as hundreds of soon-to-be-sacked staffers huddled nervously as their boss' private office was raided by anti-terrorism commandos.

As wave after wave of federal operatives stormed the building just as the shredders had begun to whirr, the conversation outside on the grass swiftly turned to what went wrong.