From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March I have received literally thousands of messages from confused, unhappy, frustrated and frightened constituents and non-constituents. These people have all been concerned about the way the Andrews government has handled this health crisis and the state’s economy and the way it included the Mornington Peninsula in Metropolitan Melbourne for COVID-19 restriction purposes.
No-one apportioned blame to the Premier or his government for the first Victorian wave of the pandemic, even when the Premier continually broke from the agreed and successful strategies of national cabinet. However, when that deviation involved the refusal of Australian Defence Force assistance for guarding returning travellers in hotel quarantine and use of inexperienced and untrained people in the roles of security guards instead, the consequences for our state became very deadly. The failures of hotel quarantine in allowing the virus to escape into the community began the second wave of COVID-19 in our state, and the failure of Victoria’s tracking and tracing system allowed it to spread out of control.
Australia’s other jurisdictions have all been able to keep the virus under control through well-managed hotel quarantine and effective tracking and tracing, managing to avoid a second wave and without the need for the harsh lockdowns and curfews imposed by the Andrews government.
While Andrews governments have lurched from failure to failure in the past, the cost to Victorians has been only financially. These most recent failures, however, have come at a far greater price, costing millions of people their freedoms, tens of thousands their livelihoods and to date more than 700 Victorians their lives. And despite all that, this man continues to carry on as if nothing has happened, standing up in front of the media every day as if he deserves to be there. The arrogance is breathtaking.
This Labor government’s disgraceful performance has continued with its shameful overreach for yet more power and control over the lives of Victorians. By using its numbers and the votes of complicit Greens MPs, Labor has doubled down, passing legislation extending state-of-emergency powers and its ability to impose more of the same harsh restrictions for a further 12 months, even in circumstances where there is zero virus in the state.
Then, to remove any doubt that this Premier is just making it up as he goes along, came his road map out, which was a road to nowhere and his captain’s-call curfew—a law imprisoning Victorians in their homes between 8.00 pm and 5.00 am. The Premier’s conduct has been unprecedented, unconscionable and very likely unlawful. So obviously proud of his curfew was the Premier that he tried hard to give credit for it to the state’s chief health officer, Victoria Police and then anyone else not in the room. In keeping with every other scandal the Premier has been involved in, he ducked and dodged and refused to answer questions, trying to weasel his way out of responsibility.
I’ve not seen anything like this government’s embarrassing performance. Labor has turned Australia’s leading state into the nation’s pariah.
I’ve been contacted by frustrated businesses wanting to restart, parents wanting schools to reopen, families wanting to visit sick and dying relatives and, very sadly, people so distraught they were considering committing suicide.
My community have had their lives disrupted and their liberties denied. Over the past six months we have seen businesses destroyed, schools closed and families not able to properly celebrate events such as Anzac Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and funerals.
Tragically, people have also been denied the opportunity to hold a dying loved one’s hand, to look into their eyes, to be with them and comfort them in their final moments.
Victorians are genuinely concerned about the lack of accountability and oversight of the government’s management and decision-making; they are dismayed that their Parliament has not sat regularly and that there has been no genuine attempt to provide real answers to the many concerns they have.
Our parliamentary system has been bypassed by the Andrews government, and in doing that it is in contempt of Victorians as well as our democratic system. The Premier and his gang of eight ministers have become drunk on the power they’ve stolen from everyday Victorians.
The government was already in grave financial trouble in having to borrow $24.5 billion to prop up its failing economic management, and now its poor handling of this COVID-19 health crisis has only exacerbated this dire situation for all Victorians.