THE blame game can hurt, especially when it backfires.
The state government was incensed this week that The Examiner revealed its incompetence over deferred fuel- reduction burns.
From the ashes of devastating fires in Victoria, then premier David Bartlett requested recommendations to prevent something similar happening in Tasmania.
One of the major recommendations was to spend $25 million on major fuel- reduction burns over four years and the establishment of a special unit to oversee the burns.
Premier Lara Giddings says that 48 of the 67 recommendations were accepted and most others in principle - but not the critical fuel-reduction burns strategy.
Ms Giddings says that she received additional advice on the burns 12 months ago but cabinet deferred its decision.
We now know that Tasmania has endured a horrendous fire season with the massive loss of property at Dunalley and vast tracts of forests in the Central Highlands, South-West and North-West Coast.
The loss of property on the Tasman Peninsula, the cost of fighting the fires and the clean-up bill is likely to top $100million.
We will never know whether fuel- reduction burns would have saved Dunalley but locals are already on record as saying they were frustrated in attempts to reduce the fuel load.
Many of the recommendations, like the proactive SMS system and early evacuations, clearly saved lives at Dunalley and it appears that the Tasmania Fire Service provided a near textbook operation.
However, when initially quizzed on the topic in State Parliament, the Premier conveniently hid behind the truth by saying, "these questions were best left to the inquiry set up in January".
Sorry, the state government had this crucial information two years ago and it has nothing to do with the current inquiry.
The Liberals persisted in question time on Thursday and out came the truth - this key recommendation had been deferred, presumably because Ms Giddings and her cabinet colleagues could better spend the money on pre-election vote winners like the Bellerive Oval upgrade.
Perhaps the Greens' Nick McKim and Cassy O'Connor had their way in cabinet and doused the flames. Either way, they also own this decision.
The absolute low point of the debate was on Thursday when Ms Giddings accused Opposition Leader Will Hodgman of, "politicising the issue of the Tasmanian bushfires" by pursuing the issue.
Surely the cabinet decision in March 2012 to defer the fuel-reduction burns, against expert advice, is where the issue was first politicised.
Given that Ms Giddings and her cabinet had expert advice to undertake these life-saving measures, they stand condemned and embarrassed by their collective failure to act.