Flat White

How a premier should shoulder the burden of office

3 August 2020

7:02 PM

3 August 2020

7:02 PM

We can but wish…

“It’s only fair”, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said as he announced that he and his Cabinet would work for no payment over the course of the Phase 4 Shutdown he’d just introduced.

“Backbench MPs and their staff, who like a million other Victorians are unable to go to work, will surrender their salaries and accept the same JobSeeker payment as other workers no longer able to earn a living.  We are seeking to introduce the same conditions for all state public servants other than those in ‘front-line’ positions performing services that are even more critical in these troubling times.”


The Premier continued, “As a government, we believe in equally sharing the pain that we, as decision makers, have visited upon the state as a whole.  And the measures will assist in alleviating some of the costs to the economy stemming from these actions.”

The Premier added that he himself would personally repay the $133,812 he had received in salary for the four months to the end of July. “We believe in people taking responsibility for their decisions and clearly I am the person who fought hard to reach the position of Premier and the buck stops here,” he said. “As such I take the blame, especially since my colleagues advised against it, for the hiring bouncers to police lockdowns of apartment blocks.  That and other mistakes has led to a spread of the disease unique to Victoria which now accounts for 97 per cent of the nation’s cases.” 

The Premier contritely added that he may be liable for further penalties. “Victoria has proudly introduced criminal penalties for employers whose negligent actions cause death in the workplace.  Those provisions apply to deaths after July 1 and I have asked retired judge Jennifer Coate, in examining culpability for the bungled hotel quarantine, to consider whether jail time is warranted for those found responsible.”

The Premier said that he was sorry that his poor decision making, which he was convinced at the time was sound, had visited such distress upon his fellow citizens and that he would ensure that he’d do the right thing in discharging his duties in the future. 

Yet he added: “I am making a start already – we are allowing construction of buildings in excess of three stories to continue. Such sites are union sites and we are very thankful of the support of the CFMEU in this decision.”

Alan Moran is with Regulation Economics. 

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