Let's talk: Why don't our pollies apologise more often?

Bronwyn Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull, Theresa May
Bronwyn Bishop was forced to say sorry over her travel expense scandal.

British prime minister Theresa May has gone where few other politicians are willing to go and admitted to a colossal failure in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Speaking in Parliament today, May said the government’s response to the deadly blaze was inadequate and neglected to give survivors the help they needed.

“The support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough,” she said.

“That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most.

“As prime minister, I apologise for that failure and as prime minister, I’ve taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right.”

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The humble admission came as a surprise to many, considering it’s not too often we hear politicians grovel for forgiveness.

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In Australia, the most recent political apology came from former Health Minister Sussan Ley after she was caught misusing taxpayer funds on a work trip to the Gold Coast.

Prior to that, it was former Speaker of the House Bronwyn Bishop saying sorry for her personal expenses blunder. Both women resigned after they apologised.

More often than not, it seems our pollies are only willing to bite the bullet and admit they got it wrong when there is no other option on the table.

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Recently, voters were left furious after the failed Centrelink robo-debt recovery scheme mistakingly claimed hundreds of people owed money they did not.

Despite a Senate inquiry into the matter determining the system was “so flawed it was set up to fail”, the government is yet to formally apologise for the anguish it caused.

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Similarly, neither Labor nor the Coalition said sorry after ousting their respective elected prime minister and installing their own preference as Leader Supreme instead.

The Coalition had promised the country it would not see a repeat of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd debacle, but just two years later, Tony Abbott was out and Malcolm Turnbull was in.

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Rather than ‘sorry’, the language we often hear from politicians is along the lines of “I made a error in judgement”, “I apologise if anyone was offended”.

It’s no secret it takes a lot of ego and self-righteousness to become a politician, but shouldn’t they at least be able to call a spade, a spade admit it when they’re wrong?

What are your thoughts on this? Would you trust pollies more if they apologised when they stuffed up? Should they say sorry more often?