An era is about to continue or end in Victoria.
I preference the latter.
Victorians are a measured lot and rather like being treated as adults. Most don’t appreciate the use of fear as a mechanism for sway or political purchase.
And yet fear is the tool of choice in Victoria. We have been made to fear Climate Change and its predictions of a catastrophic conclusion. We have also been made to fear the coronavirus.
Both these fears are unwarranted and unnecessary.
Climate Change itself is as evergreen as the Queen’s outfit on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
The fear of the coronavirus is unjustified, given what we know now. While many have died from this virus, many more have not, including myself. For me, my recent cold was much worse.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes the 2,639 deaths from, or with, Covid in Australia up until the end of January 2022, represent just 1 per cent of all deaths since the start of the pandemic. Strangely, we didn’t lock ourselves up, or shut down our economy, or close schools, for the ailments that caused the other 99 per cent of deaths.
But Covid fear was largely generated from on high in Spring Street. They observed Wuhan’s welding-in of its residents and opted for a similar lockdown model (with fines instead of welding equipment) rather than the Swedish inclination to keep calm and carry on.
Fear is the Victorian government’s great friend and the Pandemic Bill, its talisman.
November looms big in Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews knows the troops are restless. He knows he has been criticised of ruling by decree with the expansion of emergency powers long after any vague state of emergency vanished.
However, the surest sign that this leopard will not change its spots is Daniel Andrews’ request to his national executive that it continue controlling the Victorian Labor Party via administration.
This move would stop branch members from having a say in who they want to represent them in an election and then, with the voter’s fancy, in Parliament.
It is a request that shows the Premier doesn’t want his people to make decisions about the party even though the party is meant to belong to them.
For the man who claims to take responsibility for everything that happens under his watch, he has taken none at all. Victorians are used to responsibility in word, but not in action.
It is responsibility in action that our Westminster system of government demands. Responsibility in action would therefore demand Daniel Andrews step down.
He says he accepts ‘full responsibility’ for scandal after scandal, detailed in the Operation Watts IBAC/Ombudsman report tabled on July 20, 2022.
Former New South Wales Premier, Barry O’Farrell, resigned over the failure to disclose a bottle of wine. Daniel Andrews clearly thinks 801 lives, and shameful bludgeoning of democracy, are less to worry about.
The contrast between these two men and their values is stark – and no slippery-tongued hot air will bridge that gap.
Victoria has become a joke.
Line up at a hospital to see the queue for emergency care or the ramping of ambulances outside. Go to a school to see that the curriculum is failing and so are students. Go to the home of a pensioner to feel the freezing air because heating is too expensive.
That’s the state of the State – and we didn’t need Insights Victoria to tell us.
Damage ad infinitum is Daniel Andrews’ greatest triumph.
The Premier is busy playing distraction, subjecting the Victorian Parliament to a Bill to establish an ‘independent’ Treaty Authority which will oversee a Treaty with ‘First Peoples’.
What does that even mean? I intend to ask that question when it reaches the Upper House next month.
When the Premier strikes this cultural pose, and discusses ‘truth-telling’, one can only turn the question back around.
Perhaps he ‘can’t recall’?
You don’t unite a state by dividing it. And you don’t create freedom with fear.
We should take a moment to consider why Ukraine is fighting like hell to stop Russia taking over. Ukrainians know communism and control, and they don’t want to see it again.
Victorians have the luxury of using pen and paper instead of the mayhem taking over Europe.
In November, Victorians alone will determine an era’s extension or exile.
Bev McArthur is Liberal Member for Western Victoria and Shadow Assistant Minister for Scrutiny of Government.
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