Ed Killesteyn the AEC Commissioner was interviewed on Radio National on the decision by the AEC to declare the Senate result in Western Australia despite the disappearance of 1375 votes.
He began by acknowledging the 'gravity' of the situation and apologising to the electors.
He said that he was left with 'a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt' about the result of the WA Senate election.
The journalist then asked him if this was the case, 'Why on earth is the AEC going to declare the Senate result in WA this afternoon?'
'I have no choice,' Mr Killesteyn replied. 'I am obligated to declare the result. Legally I have no other choice.'
'So you need to do this so that it can be referred to the courts?' the journalist asked.
'That's correct. The 40 day petition period to the courts is only enlivened once the last of all the writs has been returned. '
The Commissioner then summarised to the Australian public, via the journalist, everything that he had done to find the missing votes.
The AEC had already begun an inquiry into the missing votes and was reviewing its procedures.
Mr Killesteyn understands that he is a servant of the Law, which says that he must declare the election. Despite some withering criticism, he recognises that he must make this decision to allow the consequences to begin flowing from it, whatever they may be.
He steps back from his own doubt and uncertainty and does his job. He produces his Widget so that others may produce theirs.
Like most good leaders, Mr Killesteyn is not in the heroic model. He is a career public servant who appears to have discharged his duties without fanfare or fuss.
In a 2009 speech he listed the four principles under which the AEC operated in order to build public confidence in its impartiality, one of which was 'decision-making in accordance with objective application of the law'.
He quoted from a speech given by the Indian Chief Election Commissioner, who said that the Indian organisation was able to retain the confidence of the electors because it was 'a listening Commission'.
The Indian Commissioner concluded by saying:
'Being human, we can be wrong sometimes, but our intention should never be impure.'
Mr Killesteyn's words and tone of speech showed that he understood and accepted that his organisation had failed in fulfilling its public duty to deliver on nothing short of the democratic process of a Federal Election.
Yet his voice during the interview was calm, measured, steady and without the edge that one expects from someone under so much criticism. Possibly because he was liberated by the knowledge that while he had failed in his Widget, his decision making was flawless.
His response today was even more remarkable given that it was he who decided to overrule the WA Electoral Commissioner's original decision and to allow the re-count that has ultimately revealed his organisation's errors and undermined public confidence in it, and in him.
Leaders are Brave.