Flat White

Five fixes for our failed state – and why they won’t occur

9 September 2020

5:00 AM

9 September 2020

5:00 AM

For any Australian not living in Victoria, particularly Melbourne, it’s impossible to understand what’s going on. The highpitched hysteria emanating from the state is effectively the cry of a people who’ve now realised that they are living in a thirdworldlike failed state.   

The closing of Victoria by the Andrews Labor government is the direct result of one thinga chaotic collapse of Victoria’s health administration—in other words, state failure. 

The evidence is stark.  

The hotel quarantine mess has proven not to be a oneoff event but rather the first example of failed health administration. The quarantine was shambolic from the start. No direction. No control. No monitoring. No response to problems. No communication.  

The Covid19 testing and tracking regime has been chaotic.  

  • The Victorian health department still refuses to test anyone not showing symptoms. Yet its known that non-symptomatic people are the most dangerous spreaders, simply because they don’t know that they have the virus. Knowledge is essential to willing compliance! 
  • Followup of testing has been chaotic. People have waited for up to a week to be told of test results, sometimes never told. Again, knowledge is essential to willing compliance. 
  • Covid19positive people have been left uncontacted for days, frequently alone, not knowing what they can/cannot do.  
  • Contacted people have been given conflicting advice. You are positive. Next, no you are negative. You can leave home. No, you must stay at home! 
  • Seriously ill positive Covid19 people left uncontacted have languished at home when they urgently required hospitalisation. 

Tracing of communicable diseases is a core function of health administration. Testing, reporting and tracing of HIV, STIs, hepatitis and so on have been required for decades. But what Covid19 has exposed is a Victorian health administration in collapse 

The outcome has been that Victoria’s health administrators have driven down the testing rate to a point where they might be able to cope. In just one day last week, New South Wales conducted 29,000 tests. Victoria did 10,000. This low rate is a conscious decision by Victoria’s health bureaucrats because they know they cannot manage the contact followup and tracing of higher test numbers. 


What this demonstrates is that Victoria’s health bureaucrats know or believe that large numbers of Covid19positive people remain in the community, most probably without symptoms and undetected. Given that the health administrators cannot cope, the only option they see is lockdown. What they hope is that, as the reported number of infections drops, the unknown, untested non-symptomatic infection numbers will also drop. But they won’t know. That’s why they have this two-week, locked-in delay trigger in the ‘road to recovery’ plan. They hope that non-symptomatic, unknown carriers will cease to be infectious.   

The health administrators are living on dangerous blind hope. They know that in releasing the state from lockdown it will take just one unknown, non-symptomatic Covid19 infectious person to start wandering the state, and Covid19 will re-explode across the state. The ‘road to recovery’ is a pathway of potential easing followed by reimposed constriction through to at least Christmas. No wonder the other Premiers are so scared of Dan Andrews Victoria. 

Effectively the ‘road to recovery’ is a declaration by the Andrews Labor government of the collapse of health administration. That is, Victoria is a failed state.  

This also explains why Victoria is now a dictatorship state. When a business fails, the people who created the failure never recognise that they are the problem and cannot fix the problem. That’s why failed business executives are sacked and new people come in. Look at the waves of bank executive sackings during 2019! But this does not readily happen with governments. Failure is locked in.  

This is the reason for the cries of anguish from the people of Victoria. They now sense that they are staring at the abyss of failure. The signs are all around. 

Last week the Andrews Labor government, with the support of The Greens, pushed through legislation removing parliamentary oversight of the emergency (dictatorship) laws (see the video). That is, democracy has been stamped shut. The arrest of ‘pyjama Mum’ for expressing dissenting views of dissent has sent shockwaves of police state fear through (not the radical) but ‘middle’ Australia/Victoria that they now live in a police state. People now genuinely fear the police and fear that their phones, emails and social media are being monitored for ‘thought’ crimes. The fear is totally rational given the evidence of ‘Pyjama Mum’. 

And, as with every dictatorship, the oppression of the state discriminates. Dan’s unionled public servants have been gifted a two per cent pay rise. Not one public servant has lost his or her job or income! Premier Andrews expressed hatred of, and intention to outlaw, self-employed, small business people is on display in his Covid19 regulations banning sole traders from working. For example, Jim’s Mowing independent contractor gardeners are not allowed to work. Yet governmentemployed gardeners are working, including those tending the gardens at the Premiers office (see the video evidence).  

In the immediate situation, there is only one way to fix the failed state of Victoria 

  • Premier Andrews resigns or is forced out by his state Labor MPs. 
  • The senior (even middle) management levels of the Victorian health administration are sacked. 
  • The Victorian public and privatesector unions are isolated from the health administration process.  
  • The Victorian government hands over its health administration of Covid19 (at least) to a Commonwealthled health administration taskforce drawing on the combined expertise and resources of the other state governments. 
  • The taskforce immediately implements a large scale Covid19 testing, tracing and follow system. 

On the evidence from the other states, within (probably) two weeks of this occurring, Victoria would be out of lockdown and operating like the other states. Australia would open up. Covid19 would continue but would be stomped on quickly as it popped up its ugly head. 

However, given the all-consuming seduction of total political power by every Labor Party operative and supporter in Victoria, there is no way that what I have outlined above will come to pass. 

Instead, the economic and health disaster that is now Victoria will grind on. The self-employed, small business people in Victoria are the one’s copping it in the economic neck more than anyone else.  

Witnessing the destruction of Victoria, unable to do anything, is like witnessing the destruction of Hong Kong, also unable to do anything. Two great and vibrant societies grinding into forced depression. 

But in Victoria, there are two longer-term triggers of hope. First, a Federal election is to be held sometime late in 2021. Second, a Victorian state election is due on 26 November 2022. Twice the voters will express their ‘fix’ for the failed state. Until then the pain will grind on. 

Ken Phillips is the executive director of Self-Employed Australia

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