Tragedies and Accidents

Prime Minister Morrison and Education Minister Dan Tehan (yes, it IS Dan, believe it or not) were visiting a primary school. They were taken into a classroom where the students were discussing words and their meanings.

The teacher asked the Prime Minister whether he would care to lead a discussion on the word “Tragedy”. Not sure where this was going, the Prime Minister asked the class to give him an example.

A little boy stood up, and said, “If my best friend, who lives on a farm, was playing in the field, and a tractor ran over him, and killed him, that would be a tragedy”.

“No,” said Scott Morrison, ‘that wouldn’t be a tragedy: that would be an accident’.

A little girl raised her hand: “If the school bus had fifty boys and girls in it, and it drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy”.

“I’m afraid not,” explained Dan Tehan; “That is what we would call a great loss.”

The room went silent. The children were convinced that most of what they though of as tragedies were not really tragedies. There were no other offers. Scott Morrison’s eyes searched the room. “Can no one here give me an example of a tragedy?”

At the back of the room, a little, be-spectacled girl put her hand up, and said in a quiet voice, “If a plane carrying you and Mr Tehan was flying over a Naval firing range and your plane was struck by friendly fire and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy”.

“Magnificent!” exclaimed Scott Morrison, “That’s right! And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?”

“Well,” said the girl with the quiet voice, “It has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn’t be a great loss, and it probably wouldn’t be an accident.”

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