Jeff Kennett has called Melburnians a bunch of "squealers" for the public outcry yesterday when a technical fault forced the closure of Melbourne's two busiest road tunnels for most of the day, bringing parts of the city to a standstill.
The former Victorian premier, whose government approved the construction of CityLink, said he was surprised by the amount of over-the-top whingeing by the public and commentators, including Derryn Hinch, who he claimed was "almost blowing his tubes".
Mr Kennett's answer to the meltdown on the roads? Listen to "the wireless".
The 64-year-old said he rose early yesterday, had a shave and turned on the "wireless", where he learnt that both the Burnley and Domain tunnels had been closed, the first time it had happened in CityLink's 13 years of operating the toll roads.
"I left home at 6.30am to get to a meeting at my office at 8 o'clock. I left early. Wireless proved its value yesterday, but wireless then in the main responded by leading the squealing," Mr Kennett told wireless station 3AW.
"You know what surprised me yesterday? The reaction of people. The reaction of Derryn Hinch yesterday almost blowing his tubes. The community, the commentators squealed. I've never heard such squealing. We've become so complacent. Yes there was a glitch. Yes they closed it down for reasons of safety. And what did we all do? We squealed."
While recognising that people had been inconvenienced, he said the shutdown was an emergency and and was for safety reasons.
He accused Neil Mitchell, on whose program he was appearing, of being among the worst offenders.
"You're a squealer, you're a squealer," he quipped.
But Mitchell hit back, saying Mr Kennett's out-of-touch comments were exactly the reason why he had lost power.
"You live a privileged existence. You're not in the real world. You live out in your upper class suburbs and you drive your expensive cars and you don't have to be at work at 7.30 in the morning ... You don't have to answer a boss. This is why you lost power, you're out of touch with people."
Mr Kennett said there would always be glitches with new technology, using an anecdote from his father to make his point.
"My father said to me once when we went from a wind-up window (in a car) to an electric window, 'It's just something else to go wrong'. So there's always going to be unexpected failures unfortunately. It's part of life."
His rant on CityLink ended when a talkback caller, Simon, said he remembered Mr Kennett making similar accusations about public whining in 1998 when a major gas shortage resulted in Victorians having cold showers.
"I just remembered why I did change my vote against Kennett the last time," Simon said, before asking Mr Kennett: "Jeff were you having cold showers (in 1998)?"
Mr Kennett: "Absolutely".
Simon: "No you were not."
Mr Kennett: "What, were you in my shower with me Simon? I don't remember you being there. You're making accusations you've got no proof of at all."