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  • Writer's pictureAisling Salisbury

He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

Daniel Andrews is the leader of the government in my home state of Victoria that is an absolute disaster right now. Yet I am puzzled by how people are still standing by him? So I think it's time to call "Bull-Dust" on him and his government which will no doubt cause some angst amongst his following.

Before COVID, Daniel Andrews had always been the most unaccountable and worse leader in Australian political history. I find it ironic that he won the State Election in 2014 on a base of accusing the Baillieu/Napthine government of being unaccountable. Well if unaccountability is an issue with the Victorian Government in general, then Andrews has found a way to exploit it the most. For the record, I think the Baillieu/Napthine Government was right for the moment but was the most disappointing and unaccomplished government the state had. It's no wonder they lost in 2014, so ultimately Andrews wasn't entirely a surprise.

As a laugh here, I always thought Baillieu, in particular, was Randall Winston from 'Spin City' and Andrews was Paul Lassiter. Both polar opposites in the political spectrum, but just as clueless in their roles.

You see! The resemblance is uncanny.

But, back to the man of the hour, Daniel Andrews. Also once known as 'Teflon Dan' because nothing would ever stick to him. Andrews is where he is simply because he is a master deflector. I have seen David Copperfield in Vegas, twice, and I think Andrews would give him a run for his money. Andrews also knows how to play the media cycle and combine it with being backed up (or run?) by his Union mates it's no wonder he is where he is right now. Even before COVID, he knew to avoid any interviews that were considered "hostile", simply because an interviewer would call him out for dancing around a subject, not doing Neil Mitchell anymore comes to mind. Mitchell is "hostile" to any politician. you just need to see him get stuck into Tim Smith's dramatics and calling him to account. If there is anything good about COVID it's that it's starting to expose the charade that is Daniel Andrews.

Now in State Politics, it is always hard for the Opposition to get any airtime in the media cycle. So at the state level, it is a case of Governments losing due to being poor performers, instead of Opposition being a better alternative. Although an Opposition does have to bring a Government into line and keep it in check. At the last State Election in 2018, there was so much that could've been thrown towards the Andrews Government. Including to name a few:

  • Tearing up a contract for the East/West link and thus paying a $1Billion for a road that was never built;

  • The Skyrail project. An entire belt of people went to the 2014 election being told that the project would be underground to have that backflipped;

  • There was also mass law and order issues that were being denied by the Andrews government, but ordinary people saw, yet their government was denying it.

At the last State Election, I was at my work Christmas party that night. I remember one of my colleagues and friends came up to me. I knew they were always a "Labor girl" because Labor was for the worker. They didn't pay much attention to politics but would always vote Labor. This was the first time she hadn't voted for Labor and for her it was exactly as Borris Johnson once said: "your hand was probably shaking as you marked the ballot paper". When the result came in she came up to me and asked: "how could this happen?" Well, the Opposition were poorly lead and virtually silent throughout the whole campaign. I think they thought they would just glide in. Then add a splash of Teflon it's understandable why Andrews got in.

However, Andrews didn't just win the election. He won it in a landslide and I believe it added in Andrews mind and his government's that they were invincible. Now with COVID, we are getting an insight into how poorly run the state has become under his leadership. Now before we go anywhere, I get it. He is Human, he would be feeling the pressure right now and has to make very unpopular decisions. However, these decisions are having to be made because of his Government's mistakes in decision making. If you haven't read my post on this, then please do. Click Here to read 'Errors Like This Means A State Full of Holes'

Identity politics has massively taken over in Victoria. As too the "keyboard warriors" who are attacking journalists for simply asking legitimate questions, these journalists hound Andrews because they aren't standing for his deflections anymore. Victorians do have a right to know why their businesses are getting devastated, especially in regional centres where there is no virus. Melbournians have a right to know as to what has to lead to their city becoming a ghost town with people facing charges if they put their bins out on the curve at one minute past 8 pm.

Recently a hashtag of the "right" came out #danliedpeopledied. This caused much angst for the #standwithdan crowd.

Well here is the truth and they are hard-hitting facts. Victoria is where it is because of a bungled Hotel Quarantine programme. Rightly so, people are wanting answers as to why decisions were made that were different from other states and who made or approved those decisions. It doesn't matter your side of politics. Daniel Andrews has indeed lied and to a Parliamentary committee. It even contradicts many statements that were made by himself prior.

I do feel though that I need to add something here too. When it comes to the Ruby Princess I am personally disgusted that no one has lost their jobs over that. The politicians didn't even have a spine to say something like "even though the report may have cleared my department I feel it's not appropriate for me to continue in this role and I will be stepping aside." Considering the State's Health Minister is planning to retire in 12 months, what would he be loosing? It must be the extra pension or something. Look at Tony Abbott, he fell about two days short of getting the PM's pension. So this isn't a Labor bashing post either, although it's a Victorian Labor bushing one. I'll give you that one sunshine.

Victoria is gross negligence of many government departments. Let's look at the rest of the country, despite the ridiculous border restrictions some have between states. WA (Labor), NT (Labor), QLD (Labor), NSW (Liberal), TAS (Liberal) they ultimately nailed and protected their citizens against this virus with good contact tracing and strict quarantine rules for those at risk. Majority of them did it without creating mass hysteria or going beyond Stage 2 restrictions. Victoria was also the only state that declared a “State Emergency” and yet it's a disaster

So has Daniel Andrews lied to Parliament? As my previous post has shown the reason as to why Victoria has entered a second wave was due to the State's bungled Hotel Quarantine programme. People either with the virus or at high risk of the virus were showing up at your doorstep from overseas and needed to be quarantined. Effectively they were volunteering for it so they could be on their home soil again. So you had the source coming to you! Yet, failed to prevent it from getting out into the community.

An inquiry was launched, rightly so, in regards to the State's Hotel Quarantine programme. Although it lacks many of the powers that a proper Judicial Inquiry would have in regards to compelling witnesses and documents. What is in the public domain already states a massive failure. On Day One Counsel assisting the inquiry Tony Neal QC stated . . .

“Comments made by the chief health officer to the media have suggested that it might even be that every case of Covid-19 in Victoria in recent weeks, could be sourced to the hotel quarantine program.”

The Hotel Quarantine was a programme that was agreed to by all States and Territories and the Federal Government outsourced it to the states and territories to run. I disagree with this approach, however, this did not mean that the Federal Government weren't going to assist the states. They offered the Australian Defence Force (ADF) in all its might to assist state authorities even well before the announcement. To a Federal Senate Select Committee on August 18th, Lieutenant General John Frewen stated that as early as March 21st the Defence Department had . . .

"Augmented each of the state and territories with additional personal both liaison staff and planners to get ahead of what requirements the states and territories may have with anything related to COVID".

So it is clear that the ADF was mobilising to assist states with their COVID plans. When the mandatory Quarantine programme was announced, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland were going to be the main ports for international arrivals. This meant that a large contingent for the programme would be required at short notice. So why would only Queensland and New South Wales utilise the ADF? Well, apparently Victoria wasn't offered any assistance according to Andrews.

On August 10th, when Andrews was asked in a Parliamentary committee as to why the state hadn't used Police OR the Defence Force for security in the hotel quarantine he replied . . .

"I don't believe ADF support was on offer. It's been provided in limited circumstances in New South Wales, not to provide security as such but to provide transportation from the airport to hotels. I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no. That's not, in my judgement, accurate."

So under Andrews statement, it would suggest that the Australian Defence Force was not available in any form to Victoria?

Lieutenant General John Frewen admitted that he was not privy to discussions in National Cabinet but the Hotel Quarantine programme was agreed to by all the Premiers and Chief Ministers. Stating . . .

"On the 27th of March, I understand it was raised at National Cabinet. After that the Prime Minister made the announced that ADF would be available to provide support with the mandatory quarantine arrangements that had been agreed and were been brought in to effect across the country."

That afternoon a press release was released by Andrews' own department saying . . .

"It has also been agreed that the Australian Defence Force will be engaged to support the implementation of these arrangements."

Also, that day in an interview with the ABC Andrews stated that the programme would be . . .

"a true partnership between Victoria Police, our health officials as well as Australian Defence Force"

So Mr Andrews, how can you stand by your statement to the Parliamentary Committee? Would you like to redact your statement? How could either yourself or someone in your department not have briefed you properly before going into the Committee? Instead, you continue to state that the ADF wasn't available in any format at that time to assist Victoria. Andrews also stated that when it came to New South Wales that ADF personnel were used for transport to the hotels and were very limited in their services to the state.

On August 18th Lieutenant General Frewen stated when it came to New South Wales:

"We have received people into hotels, we have done concierge-type services if you like in hotel foyers. We have been involved in checking people are not trying to sneak out of the hotel or people are trying to sneak into the hotel."
"been involved in distributing of food and other sort of welfare supplies inside the hotel as well."
"our support was broad-reaching."

When asked by the Senate if on March 27th if at least 100 members of the ADF was available to be deployed to Victoria immediately Lieutenant General Frewen simply replied "yes".

The Federal Defence Minister, Linda Renolds has even provided a timeline on what was on offer to Victoria from the get-go.

"On 28 March 2020, Victorian authorities advised that Victoria was not seeking ADF assistance with mandatory quarantine arrangements."
"On 12 April 2020, Victorian authorities reaffirmed to ADF officials that all quarantine compliance monitoring operations were within Victorian authorities’ capacity."

I ask the Twitter-verse who #standwithdan how can you not agree that he has lied? The facts are in and he has lied when it comes to ADF personal not being available. This comes back to his unaccountability, it's as if he is going down the "Sgt Shultz" path.

One thing you have said Mr Andrews is that you are the captain of the ship. Well, when the responsibility of Hotel Quarantine was turned over to the states and you all agreed to run it. Then how could you not be made aware of what was going on in the programme? There were concerns about the running of the programme at multiple times during the programme and, no one brought it to your attention? It's hard to buy that you weren't getting updates. Now yes, an inquiry is underway but Mr Andrews, you can't keep hiding behind it. Closing Parliament House too and avoiding questions in the media just add fuel to the fire that you are covering things up and are refusing to show any form of accountability.

The inquiry has also stated:

"From the beginning, it seems there were multiple and potentially overlapping areas of responsibility between the departments,"

Mr Neal QC also adding:

"There were multiple command structures within departments and between departments. There is material suggesting that for some participants in the program it was not clear who was in overall command of the operation."

It seems that the management of this programme was not like other states where one Department was held ultimately responsible to run it, putting one department in charge of the programme means there aren't multiple layers where things can go wrong. It means better accountability and better oversight. For example, in New South Wales this was put in the hands of the Chief Commissioner of Police which was understandable. At the time their State's Health Department had a lot to answer for over the 'Ruby Princess'.

In Victoria, the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions was put in charge of hiring security guards and getting hotels. The Health Department had "some responsibilities". So effectively knowing that. You had two Ministers who were working together on this programme. The Inquiry heard . . .

"Evidence will be called in due course about the roles that some departments envisaged playing . . . and how they differ from the roles that they played as the program commenced."

It appears that this programme was run in this way to avoid accountability. By having multiple departments meant that there is no sole person responsible and means that there can be "deniability' and that is certainly what it sounds like. If anything would go wrong then one department could go "I didn't know. How did that happen?" and the other department could say "I thought that was their duty." All of this reminds me of the scene in 'Chernobyl' when all the ministers were saying "it's under control" and Gorbachev accepting this immediately. Where was the one person to speak up in this case though?

It suggests problems deeply embedded with poor leadership and decision making in a government that is leading us down a dark path. We have a state that has infrastructure crumbling, projects over budget and delayed, budget mismanagement, signing up the Chinese 'Belt and Road' initiative, government corruption and unaccountability.

So when it says #danliedpeopledied. It is true! It is not a NewCorp evil, it's the truth people. Andrews has lied! For this piece, I have watched Senate Committees in full, read press releases as well. It's not a rehash of evil "NewsCorp" articles or "Right-wing" propaganda. It is simply the facts. When those call for Andrews to resign, they are justified. Let's not forget that the Premier of NSW had to resign for lying about a bottle of wine.

As for the "people died" part of the hashtag. Well, deaths aren't just going to be due to COVID but mental health and other medical ailments. We know that shutdowns to the extend of Victoria have contributed to delays in surgeries. In the UK the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that 12,000 more people have died of illness not related to COVID. This was attributed to the unavailability of care as the Health System went into a COVID only stance and thus many speciality services weren't available and patients were also reluctant to go to the hospital. It is going to be frightening to consider the number of suicides that are going to jump in numbers over the years as people succumb to financial stress. Those figures have been released recently, I am yet to read the report in full.

I am not going to go far as saying "Andrews has blood on his hands" as I know many commentators and even a Member of Parliament have dramatically stated that. But his Government has had monstrous failings that are going to impact people dramatically and it comes from poor leadership and decision making. If you wanted to have as much of a private sector involvement in the programme to keep people employed, that's a great idea. Why didn't you use the Australian Defence Force and Police to start the programme with a goal of the getting private sector involvement in the programme done within six weeks? This would've allowed better training of personnel unfamiliar with how to handle biohazards and the correct use of PPE. Instead, people were quickly hired off Social Media platforms and received "diversity training" as more of a priority instead of the requirements of PPE and proper quarantine procedures.

One of my friends said to me that Andrews had done a lot of things that might "seem far too left for my views" stating that he had done well for rental assistance and addressing many LGBTQ issues. To which I said, "yeah I agree that is good, I also agree with his assisted dying laws and the level crossing removal works". In the grand scheme of things though, a few good points doesn't result in forgiveness for massive stuff-ups, especially this one that has resulted in a second wave and a sledgehammer to the state's economy, jobs and citizens who will have to pay for this over generations.

Twitter-verse, Andrews is not the Messiah, he is a very naughty boy! Andrews leads a government that has failed its state in a time of crisis. Pandemics do catch us off guard and mistakes will be made, however, there were multitudes of failures leading up to this situation and nothing was done to combat it. Instead, you blame the populous and lie. One of your justifications of going to Stage Four restrictions "house-arrest" was that at least 27% of people with the virus were not following the quarantine rules. Well, Victoria Police have stated that it was less than 1%.

At the start of 2021, there needs to be a Royal Commission, audit and a clear out of all departments of your government. As I have said, it's not one problem under your tenure, it's dozens upon dozens and it rots from its head.

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