Flat White

Daniel Andrews: “You can now get a haircut. Aren’t you going to thank me?”

19 October 2020

1:30 PM

19 October 2020

1:30 PM

Precisely how many times did the ‘so, so sincere’ Victorian Premier, and his ‘stand-in’ Health Minister, thank Victorians in their much-heralded media ‘event’ on Sunday?

I lost count.  It was an unnecessarily long and entirely unremarkable hour of our lives that we shall never get back. This is precisely as the spin doctors in Andrews’ Spring Street bunker had planned it.  

The Victorian Premier has a communications unit more than 50 strong — and jolly fair enough too.  All those social and conventional media platforms to feed 24/7. Pumping up the flat tyres of this government needs all socially-distanced hands on deck. 

The overall plan was to have the electorate think the government had solved a major problem and to make voters, and their kids, forget that it was public service incompetence which created the problem in the first place. 

Andrews ‘comms strategy’ goes like this: flood the punters with data on the pandemic, tell ‘em they can now travel 25 kilometres from home (up from five), let ‘em see a few more people and make ‘em happy by being able to get a haircut or have a round of golf.

For all this, it’s us, who in turn, should thank the government.  It really is that simple.  Treating us all as if we are under the age of ten: teacher Dan promises that if we behave and keep up our finger painting we might, just might, be able to get out of school early. 

Little wonder business groups have denounced Andrews as treating big and small employers as ‘idiots’.  They claim the Labor Premier doesn’t grasp basic commercial fundamentals and that he believes it will all ‘snap back’ when restrictions are finally lifted. 

What other conclusion can explain the absurd set of announcements by the Premier and the new Health Minister?

Applying even the most elementary psychology, it‘s obvious that the government wants Victorians to be thankful for all it’s done for us.  After all, it’s Andrews stunning leadership — his earnest dedication to public administration — that will soon set us free.

Don’t buy it?  Hmm? Neither do millions of Victorians who have had their livelihoods, businesses, education and social lives shredded by the mal-administration in the Victorian Department of Heath and Human Services which led to more than 800 deaths and economic chaos. 

All Covid-19 media appearances by Andrews (there have been more than 100 since it started) have been patronising, obsequious and self-serving but this one stole the show. It was a Golden Globe performance.  

Telling an exasperated and exhausted electorate that skateparks, maintenance businesses and outdoor swimming pools were open again was merely a distraction from the reality that very little was announced.  The sector for which we do actually give thanks is that involving allied health services.  They are back in business. 

Martin Foley is an embarrassment to himself and irrelevant to everyone else.  Just 27 days ago he became Minister for Health, Minister for Ambulance Services and Minister for the Coordination of the Health & Human Services Covid-19 response.   

If Foley is the right person for these critical roles now he would have had the roles when Covid-19 first appeared.  He didn’t. Following recent senior Spring Street departures, Victoria is governed by a B-team struggling to locate the levers.

Andrews, Foley and the rest of the Spring Street B-Team will all eventually disappear – but what will endure are decades of economic damage, massive unemployment and wellbeing of the population in free fall.  

During the Premier’s interminable ramble he made the stunning observation that “all of us want us to draw a line under 2020.”  True.

Also true is that Victorian voters want to draw a line under the Andrews’ government. 

As I have written before – its epitaph reads: ‘The Government That Ruined Victoria.’

John Simpson is a Melbourne based Company Director 

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