For Prime Ministers, sorry can often be the hardest word of all.
John Howard resisted for years, refusing the recommended apology to the Stolen Generations and instead offering "sincere regret".
It was only in 2008 that Kevin Rudd righted that wrong with an apology to the stolen generations for their grief, suffering and loss - a momentous occasion that elevated his prime ministership. Julia Gillard did the same thing in March 2013 to the victims of forced adoptions - an apology shamefully overshadowed by a faux leadership challenge on the same day.
Prime ministerial apologies are landmark events that come rarely.
So when Scott Morrison offered his regrets - but no apology - to Christine Holgate on Wednesday it was hard not to think (at least momentarily) of Howard's approach. Of course, the apology to the stolen generations was more significant by orders of magnitude to thousands of people.
And yes, there would be legal concerns that a formal apology may open the "flood gates" to compensation for Ms Holgate - and perhaps have a knock on effect too - for other people seeking some sort of redress.
But here we are.
After two months of shocking revelations about bullying, harassment, sexual assault and misbehaviour in federal parliament, the Prime Minister and his government have been damaged as they have dug in and initially delayed tackling the revelations head on.
Once more, by digging in with Ms Holgate, the Coalition run the risk of damaging themselves by not doing the right - nee, the human - thing by the former Australia Post boss.
Ms Holgate's hurt was plain to see on Tuesday. She alleges she was "humiliated" and "bullied" into leaving her position over the Cartier watches scandal.
For her, in part, it was an issue of gender.
"I would love an apology," she told ABC's 730.
On two major occasions on Wednesday, Scott Morrison had the opportunity to apologise to Christine Holgate.
He said it was not his "intention" to offend her for his "very strong" language and he rejected her claim her gender played a part in her treatment. He pointed out Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese had also described Ms Holgate's position as "untenable".
He got as far as "regret" for "any distress."
But he did not say sorry.
So once again the Prime Minister is digging in.
"This issue was not about gender. This was about taxpayer organisations handing out Cartier watches to well-paid executives," he told reporters in Perth.
Like Julia Gillard's famous misogyny speech to Federal Parliament in 2012 - which transcended the fight over former speaker Peter Slipper - and the treatment of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, the Australia Post matter is about a lot more than whether some luxury watches should have been purchased.
For all her human flaws, Christine Holgate is now not just someone who has lost her job over questionable decisions and accusations.
She is a lightning rod for the aggrieved and deeply-underwhelmed forces in the gender wars.
She is another example - at least in the minds of some voters - of how women are treated by the Morrison government. Her exit stands in sharp distinction to Alan Tudge and Christian Porter retaining their seats in cabinet.
Once again, Scott Morrison gives the appearance of listening but not getting it.
There's a likely cost afoot, because disquiet over the mistreatment of women is not going away and the electorate is paying attention, as recent polling shows.