The Andrews government has gone the full Wuhan in its response to the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in that state – and once more demonstrated that the most authoritarian states are almost always the worst-performing.
From the beginning, Andrews has slavishly followed Beijing’s lead: cover-up, clamp down and stuff up at every turn. Now, he’s even gone as far as locking thousands of people up in high-rise towers.
No word yet on whether they’ve welded the doors shut.
Daniel Andrews is now clearly the worst-performing, most unsuccessful premier or territory leader in Australia in managing the COVID-19 outbreak, despite being the most authoritarian.
The Victorian government’s failure is damaging for Victorians and for the whole of Australia.
Thanks entirely to Victoria’s massive failure, state borders which were scheduled to open are staying firmly closed. Keeping other restrictions in place, because of Melbourne, is expected to cost the national economy even more billions.
Andrews’s failure is broad, and is both political and technocratic.
The most shocking technocratic mess remains putting untrained security guards into high-stress, technically demanding roles managing sometimes difficult people in hotel quarantine.
Other states used some security guards but they were always supervised by police officers or soldiers or other uniformed personnel. That made all the difference in the world[…]the Andrews government chose the least-trained workforce it could possibly imagine for the job.
This is staggering incompetence[…]Guards were given 30 seconds training, meaning they just signed a form saying they’d read a piece of paper, or sometimes three minutes training, for the hotel roles. And this on the watch of the Premier who set up a regime that fined people for going to Bunnings when Bunnings was legally open.
Victoria acted in the most draconian fashion, fining people for so much as washing their car.
If you go out shopping, people will die, no pair of shoes is worth a life, etc. And he positively excoriated golf, apparently the devil’s own pastime.
Yet politically-favoured groups were allowed to behave with impunity. At the same time as a handful of anglers were being forced off jetties at the end of a truncheon, tens of thousands of leftists were allowed to jam into Melbourne’s CBD without censure or consequence.
All the way through this crisis, Andrews has spoken in the most melodramatic terms about the life-and-death consequences of everyday decisions[…but] if you go shopping, people will die, never translated into: if you go demonstrating, people will die.
Following the CCP playbook, Andrews has retreated to the Forbidden City on Spring Street and put on a front of stony silence.
Now in its customary politburo style, the Victorian government has decided it doesn’t need to answer a single question, nor accept a single iota of democratic accountability for this debacle until an official inquiry reports, presumably when the heat has gone out of the issue.
This is, of course, classic Andrews: when police summoned Labor politicians and staffers for interview over the “Red Shirts” scandal, the Labor party simply gave them the collective finger and refused to show up for questioning.
Whether this inflicts lasting damage on Andrews’s reputation amongst Victorians apparently struck with a collective bout of Stockholm Syndrome remains to be seen. In the short term, the premier has suffered a sharp downturn in opinion polling – yet, even after a 13 point drop, 72 percent of Victorians still think Andrews is doing a “reasonable” job.
Speaking to a Victorian friend on the weekend, she was adamant that Andrews had done a good job of running the state. Fishing for something positive to say, she noted that he had removed a lot of level crossings. Which is something, I guess. Although, on my most recent visit there, it didn’t seem to have made a jot of difference to Melbourne’s Auckland-level traffic problems.
Whether Red Dan had also made the trains run on time, she didn’t say.
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