Flat White

Fiscal vandalism alive and well in ‘Danistan’

12 May 2022

9:00 AM

12 May 2022

9:00 AM

Dodgy Labor Party politicking and fiscal vandalism are the enduring hallmarks of Daniel Andrews’ leftist government which, in just six months, will seek voter support for a third term in office.

Both Andrews and his Treasurer, Tim Pallas, are hopeful the May 3 Victorian Budget will act as the launch pad for an election in which Labor will likely take all the worst political tricks to another level. 

Far from providing for future financial rectitude, the Premier and his pitiable sidekick have produced a State Budget that ought to consign their-third rate government to the rubbish heap of history.

Even the Reserve Bank of Australia has taken the highly unusual step of criticising the Victorian Government, saying rather than simply borrowing more money (thereby fuelling inflationary pressures), the state should be starting the process of paying down its whopping $167 billion dollar debt. Instead, Andrews has borrowed billions more, leaving the repayment problem to others in the decades ahead. 

Also capturing attention is Victoria’s truly astounding public sector wages bill – topping $37 billion a year – made worse by Pallas admitting that the 1.5 per cent public sector wage cap would be lifted just four months after it was implemented. These are the people who promised sound economic management and a functioning public health system…

Daniel Andrews has devoted his entire adult life to the Labor cause. It’s all he knows. 

Andrews appears to be mistrustful of anyone not of his tribe. He either ignores opponents or treats the Parliament as a side-show. Two years ago, one of Australia’s keenest national political observers (former federal director of the Liberal Party Brian Loughnane) said this:

‘Andrews ignores Parliament and limits the opportunities for the opposition to hold him, or his ministers, to account. He does not engage with the opposition or acknowledge any criticism from them. He dominates his party, caucus and ministry, expecting them to toe-the-line while otherwise ignoring them.’

Andrews and Pallas have been out and about since the May 3 Budget, boastfully parading themselves by making a virtue of the grotesque mountain of debt facing future generations of taxpayers. They have promised to spend even more by investing heavily in ‘public health’ should they be re-elected. The Premier even visited a public hospital to hug nurses and convey his abiding concern for them.

Nothing says ‘state-sanctioned con’ louder than a promise to ‘fix’ the health system which has all but collapsed under Andrews’ stewardship. Mental health services before and during Covid did in fact collapse, much to alarm of leading mental health professionals and those desperate for help. Let us not forget that Andrews has himself been either Premier or Health Minister for 11 of the 15 years since 2007.

Also not to be forgotten is that Andrews was Parliamentary Secretary for Health from December 2002 to December 2006 under then Premier Steve Bracks. 

Victorians should be under no illusion about Andrews. No single person has had a greater opportunity than he has to deliver reform to the public health sector and no single person has more comprehensively failed to do so.

Now, like some latter-day Svengali, he wants us to thank him for more false promises on meeting expectations for better public health infrastructure and better public hospitals. The public health system here was broken well in advance of Covid. The virus sent the system over the cliff without ropes or safety nets. Andrews must carry full accountability for this disgrace.

That the Labor culture in Victoria is rotten to the core is not news. But it is significant that IBAC has now confirmed in an ‘interim report’ that it secretly interviewed Daniel Andrews and that whether Andrews remains in office or not – there needed to be ‘significant cultural reform within the Victorian ALP’.

IBAC interviewed 26 witnesses in private – among them the Premier – while it interviewed seven witnesses in public hearings. IBAC concluded that the cultural failings within the Victorian Labor Party had been ‘condoned or even encouraged by party leaders for many years’.

True to form, Andrews refused to answer questions on the interim IBAC findings when fronting the media recently. Ducking and weaving, Daniel simply said, ‘I’m not playing these games and you may as well move on to subjects that I am prepared to discuss.’ Bizarrely – the parliamentary media pack meekly agreed. 

The Andrews’ government is on the ropes. The signs are there for all to see and the stench from the Premier’s office is starting to settle on a city and a state that, more than ever, needs so much more from its political leaders. It is entirely reasonable, is it not, for voters to conclude that if Andrews presides over a mess within the ALP – then he also condones it in government? 

Whether the State Opposition is yet match-fit for the massive task of managing Victoria back to some semblance of good health is yet to be determined, but what is unambiguously clear is that the Andrews Government is comprehensively unfit for public office.

Daniel Andrews has forfeited the trust placed in him.

Andrews and Pallas have trashed Victoria’s finances and consigned generations of debt repayments to people not yet even able to vote. Victorians have just six months before they are given the opportunity to ensure the end of this rotten, decaying government, their cronies, their socialist left operatives, and no doubt a sizeable number of sympathetic public servants as well. 

The choice voters make on November 26 matters for the state and the nation.

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