Flat White

The Cox Plate cock-up: another sign Dan Andrews’ crew is headed for the knackery

21 October 2020

3:50 PM

21 October 2020

3:50 PM

Another day, another cock-up, by Dan Andrews’ shambolic government. 

This time it was the ‘essential industry’ of horse racing that Spring Street had difficulty getting its mind around.

This Saturday sees the 100th running of the Cox Plate at Melbourne’s Mooney Valley Racing Club.  The Minister responsible — the very remarkable — Martin Pakula (in addition to Horse Racing he has five other portfolios) thought nothing of agreeing to five hundred (plus) owners and trainers gathering trackside to stir up some atmosphere for the event. 

Such a decision seems entirely fair to all right-thinking people.  Notwithstanding strict government limits arbitrarily imposed on the number of people at funerals, family gatherings, grand final BBQs and dinners at the family home, why on earth shouldn’t 500 horsey types get along for a few sherbets and a wager or two?  This is horse racing we’re talking about after all.

Hardly surprisingly Victorian punters of a genuine kind — voters — had just a bit to say on talkback radio about Pakula authorising the breathtakingly idiotic scheme.


Aside from being deeply insulting to all Victorians at this time of continued lockdown, it cuts a swathe through what remains of Andrews credibility and that of his ramshackle Spring Street outfit. These people are literally making it up, on the run, and pretending to we mere punters they are fully in control.

Of course, the oh so sincere Premier was out apologising for the “stupid decision“ of his Minister and even Pakula himself (not given to self-doubt) was squirming his way around microphones saying there’d been a ‘slip up’ in the original approval.  

Whatever explains this latest Spring Street shambles. Andrews ‘presidential style‘ announcements planned for this Sunday could have, and should have been announced and implemented last Sunday. There never was any substantive, credible reason to delay a significant easing of restrictions four days ago.

Never mind our distrust of Andrews, it is the Premier’s profound distrust of Victorians that has delayed further easing of restrictions. We are not to be trusted to behave when restrictions are ultimately eased.  The continued harsh and unnecessary restrictions are all about saving Andrews political skin. He knows, as we all know, his Premiership is over if there is even a hint of a resurgence of the virus.

All of us are pawns in Andrews complex web of deceit propping up his flimsy grasp on government. This ‘administration‘ is diminished, discredited and utterly untrustworthy. 

All the commanding, oozing, soothing words of Andrews (and there have been tens of thousands of them throughout his tawdry, stage-managed daily media briefings) have further weakened his leadership and revealed much about his style previously hidden from the electorate.

Andrews, Pakula and Treasurer Tim Pallas should all go immediately. They should buy themselves lawn mowers — as so many voters having nothing else to do have — and prepare to spend time in their leafy gardens relieved, as they will be, by the burdens of office. Their political careers are finished, whenever the electorate should choose their final demise.  

Having spent 24 hours apologising for his incompetence, Mr Pakula can have a sure bet on one thing on Saturday: whichever horse wins the 100th Cox Plate won’t save his political skin or that of this scandal-ridden, duplicitous government.

John Simpson is a Melbourne company director.

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