Flat White

Andrews pandemic powers push voters over the edge

15 November 2021

6:10 PM

15 November 2021

6:10 PM

As Victorian voters show early signs of recovery from their 262 days in lockdown Daniel Andrews’ Spring Street outfit is showing clear signs of disarray.

Forget the state’s natural environment. It’s Victoria’s political ecology that is in dire trouble. We’re running a little low on democracy and the punters have (finally) noticed.

Whether the Premier and his supplicants look back or forward, left or right they (and we) can see and smell the distinctive whiff of decay. 

The preconditions for the end of Labor are coming into sharper focus. Imagine for a moment, if you will, life without the sanctimonious arrogance of our premier.

Daniel’s highly dubious pandemic management bill — already rubber stamped by the Legislative Assembly — heads to the upper house this week.  Changes to the Bill are inevitable.

The punters don’t like it and they came out in their tens of thousands recently to teach Dan a lesson in political reality. Change the planned laws or we’ll change the government.

Before things unravel even further the master tactician is now walking, crab-like, to rework the tiny print in the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021. 

Search as they might government ministers cannot seem to locate anyone who approves of this blatant, unwarranted and outrageous attempt to extend their democratic powers.

Civil liberties have never been Dan’s strong suit as we all discovered during the darkest days of the lockdown.  Now he’s got the lawyers up in arms over the Bill, with calls for significant changes being made by the Victorian Bar, the Law Institute, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, the State Opposition and many others besides. Rich listers have even taken to paid advertising to express their anger at Andrews’ idiotic play for more power.

Is it any wonder? Under the legislation, the premier (in consultation with the unelected chief health officer) would have the power to make a pandemic declaration and to extend it in three-month blocks for as long as the two of them felt it necessary. 

Additionally, the Bill gives more power to the Health Minister and would bestow on the government (read Andrews) the right to restrict movement, ban public gatherings, close businesses and issue quarantine orders without consultation. 

Matthew Guy, as opposition leader,  has confirmed the Bill (should it pass) will be shredded on the election of a Coalition government. Good call, Matthew. 

Try as the premier might to put the events of last week behind him (you know all that unpleasant stuff from former Labor cabinet minister Adem Somyurek to the IBAC anti-corruption hearings) Andrews can’t escape the shocking smell that keeps wafting through his Spring Street bunker. It’s a kind of rotting smell that instantly repels.

Just as Somyurek confirmed his difficulty spotting the difference between right and wrong when it came to the use of our money, so it is with this government. 

Andrews doesn’t have any hesitation plunging Victorians into vast chasms of debt and consigning future generations of taxpayers to repay it.  As for his hapless Treasurer — does anyone even care who he is any longer?

Equally worthy of note is Andrews’ undisputed politicisation of the once-proud Victorian public service. Public administration has dramatically declined under Andrews while becoming a recruitment agency for those ideologically sympathetic to Labor. Incompetence is rewarded and professionalism repudiated in exchange for loyalty and adoration.  

In no department is this more evident than in Health. Andrews and Foley have presided over the destruction of our public health system which, as we all know, has resulted in the deaths of more than 1000 people in the state due to flawed, pathetic decision making and the sheer incompetence of highly paid bureaucrats.

More than 20,000 more public servants have been recruited in just the last 12 months to steer not us but the government through the choppy waters of public antipathy.   

Among the epitaphs of unarguably Victoria’s worst-ever government will be one stand out. Over-reach. Andrews thrives on the grand plan, the sweeping unfunded roadmap, the undemocratic gesture and the final word.

Memo to Dan: It’s the voter who has the final word and it’s increasingly certain you won’t like what the voter has to say.

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