Mr Tony Abbott, while leader of the main opposition party in March 2010, announced a surprising new plan concerning maternity leave in his bid to win the next election. His party colleagues were astounded that he had not consulted with them before making the announcement.
His answer was:
“Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.”
This was not an apology. It was simply a statement of his view of expedient or pragmatic standards of behaviour in politics.
Mr Abbott has been our Prime Minister for about five months now. In that time we have seen some of his ministers governing in ways that suggest they now agree with their leader’s view of acceptable behaviour.
But the bit about asking forgiveness has been lost somewhere.