It’s all in a day’s work for the still absent, highly paid Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.
While Dan comfortably takes home between $450k – $500k per year, hundreds of thousands of people have had their businesses damaged, their incomes terminated and their hopes for the future dashed thanks to the uncaring, incompetent conduct of his government.
For the absent Premier, it’s simple. Take a few calls from his dithering deputy, take another call or two from the hapless Health Minister and hey presto — seven million people are again thrust into lockdown.
Having already endured some 130 days of lockdown thanks to his shambolic administration — another 14 days ought to be no great hardship for the punters, so judged Victoria’s inner sanctum of elected and unelected officials.
As if making a public declaration on how comprehensively ‘out of touch’ Andrews‘ Ministers are with business, industry, all three levels of education, retail and hospitality, the Victorian Labor government, with not a moment’s hesitation, placed the entire state under the dead hand of lockdown.
How thoughtful then of the ailing, absentee Premier to send (via Facebook) to Victorians (who use Facebook) his inner thoughts, warm wishes and his banal urging that “we keep fighting.”
Without a shred of sincerity, Andrews went further with this piercing insight. “Just because we’ve had to do this before, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do it again,” he said.
“Some of us will be tired. Some stressed. Some sick to the back teeth of this pandemic. Maybe a mix of all three,” the Premier said to ensure he’d left no-one out. There’s more.
“But please know that every individual effort you make today, and everything you’ll do tomorrow and every day after will save lives.”
From the lying position, Andrews finished his homily with this entreaty: “Be proud of what you’ve achieved and be proud of our state too.” Thoughtfully, he added that he is due to meet with his medical team sometime this week, who will advise him when he can be back on deck.
For the record Premier, I, along with millions of others, are not ‘proud of Victoria.’ We are ashamed of the incompetence and ignorance inherent in those charged with governing and we’re appalled by the shameful, massively costly, woefully inadequate state of Victorian public health delivery.
The indications are that the latest lockdown is — yet again — the result of hotel quarantine failures.
The truly pitiable place in which Victorians finds themselves is entirely the doing of the Andrews government.
Not the Commonwealth, not South Australia, not slow supplies of vaccines, not the absence of remote quarantine centres. None of these can credibly be attributed to the cause of what has occurred — again — in Victoria. Not even one of these approach, even remotely, the culpability of this government and in particular the monumentally ill-prepared, ill-equipped decaying health bureaucracy.
The edifice that passes for a health department barely functions in non-critical periods but when we needed it most the house of cards on which the state’s health system is built came crashing down. Andrews knows this to be true. He was, after all, a former Health Minister. In 2020 he sacked several senior people in health — including his minister — and he did so because he wanted punters to believe he was ‘actively’ doing something. It didn’t work Premier. You know it. We know it.
To think that the livelihoods of millions should now be in the hands of Martin Foley, Brett Sutton and the irritatingly garrulous Jeroen Weimar instils horror rather than confidence, anger rather than understanding and pessimism rather than optimism.
When casting their votes at the 24 November 2018 state election, Victorians did so presumably believing they were voting for opportunity, economic prosperity, debt and deficit management, sound decision making and strong public policy.
The government, under the leadership of the discredited Daniel Andrews, has spectacularly failed on each of these core elements of public accountability. That Andrews, Merlino, Foley and frontman, Jeroen Weimar, believe they can use highly spun, soothing words to talk their way out of their humiliation, reveals all there is to reveal about their operation.
For Andrews, it has always been about what the punters ‘think’ is happening. It’s never been about what is actually happening. Only this reality can explain the grotesque lengths to which the government will go to manage the message, spin the story, shift and counter-shift blame, create distraction and duck accountability.
The Andrews Government will carry the permanent stain of inflicting economic and social harm on Victoria on a scale without precedent.
The die is cast for Andrews. Whether he returns to his desk or not, will make not the slightest difference to the disgrace that is his government.
Why voters appear not to comprehend the signals, such as the eye-watering state debt, stratospheric infrastructure cost-overruns and the downward spiral in the mental health of young people – remains a mystery the Opposition must quickly solve.
Meanwhile, the ‘true believers’ continue to feed off the verbal excretions emanating from Spring St. They, and we, get to cast our votes again on November 26, 2022.
John Simpson is a Melbourne company director.
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