What if 768 Victorians died due to the actions of a business? By Janet Albrechtsen.
Ask what would happen if 768 Australians died due to the actions of a mine owner, or a bus company, or an amusement park. If a chorus line of executives fronted an inquiry saying “it wasn’t me” or “I don’t know anything”, how would we respond? If the CEO claimed no knowledge, couldn’t pinpoint who did what, and put it down to a “creeping assumption”, there would be hell to pay. And then some.
Slide down the scale. Just recently, Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques signalled his resignation after the destruction of an Aboriginal heritage site. David Murray resigned as AMP chairman after the board promoted an employee who, several years earlier, was guilty of “relatively modest” breaches of AMP’s code of conduct.
But when Victorian politicians and public servants masterminded a hotel quarantine system using untrained private security guards that, not surprisingly, led to 768 deaths, to say nothing of other damage done, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, it’s terrible — then wave it away as politics.