I do have to say I am pleased to learn there is still an Opposition party in Victoria. The following is from Tim Smith, the Liberal member for Kew. There is an awful lot there that you normally never hear about that really is sickening. From The Oz, in full because you need to read it all to believe it.
Victorians are officially the pariahs of the nation, with NSW closing the state border. We Victorians are literally banned from the rest of our country. The border closure is a stiff economic penalty for regional communities along the Murray River, which are being punished for the negligence of Daniel Andrews and his ministers to manage hotel quarantine.
We also have 3000 residents of nine public housing estates under house arrest and the rest of our suburbs and an adjoining shire back to stage-three lockdown because Andrews decided to use bouncers who fraternised with returned travellers in quarantine and spread the virus into the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. The government proposes replacing private security with a mixture of prison officers and laid-off staff from Qantas and Jetstar to manage the mess. You couldn’t make this up.
The commonwealth offered the deployment of the Australian Defence Force, for free, to the states for the task of managing hotel quarantine. Every state that accepted this offer has not had one single transmission of the virus.
For ideological reasons Andrews’s gang-of-eight COVID cabinet refused the commonwealth offer, instead hiring private security. This turned into a fiasco with national implications and the three ministers responsible — Martin Pakula, Jenny Mikakos and Lisa Neville — should all have lost their jobs. It goes without saying that the Premier should resign.
In any case, why was Pakula, the Jobs Minister, and his department put in charge of co-ordinating hotel quarantine? Here’s a clue: many of the untrained and ill-equipped private security guards are members of Pakula’s union, the NUW/United Voice.
Equally odd was a sequence of events from June 25 when a panicked request was sent by the Victorian government to the ADF for immediate assistance with hotel quarantine. The next day Defence Minister Linda Reynolds told Melbourne radio: “Last night we received a request from the Victorian government … we’re looking to rapidly mobilise 1000 ADF personnel to be on the job from tomorrow in support of Victoria.”
By the following day, that request had been rescinded. A ludicrous turf war had erupted between the Police Minister and the Health Minister, and finally Andrews caved in. Yet on July 1, when Neville fronted Neil Mitchell’s 3AW radio program, he asked if “at any stage early, was it ever discussed, the possibility of bringing in the Australian Defence Forces to run quarantine, as happened in NSW?”. She said “no”. Surely she knew this was not correct, and if she has misled voters she should resign or be sacked.
Senior Department of Health bureaucrats, including Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, were warned of problems with hotel quarantine as far back as April but Sutton distanced himself from it.
“It (the decision) wasn’t mine, I haven’t been involved in the governance and operation,” he has been quoted as saying. “But it was jointly oversighted by emergency management within the Department of Health and Human Services, Emergency Management Victoria and Department of Jobs Precinct and Regions.”
Health Minister Mikakos and Pakula — jointly responsible for this fiasco — should resign, but no one in the Andrews government is willing to take responsibility for this recklessness. There is an inquiry being undertaken by a former judge — a political tactic to deflect questioning, and the findings won’t be known for months.
The Jeff Kennett-led Liberal Party won the 1992 state election with the slogan the “Guilty Party”. Back then Labor had bankrupted the state and trashed its reputation. Fast-forward 28 years and this state Labor government has done it again. It is guilty of this second wave of COVID-19 and Labor’s negligence will set our economy back years.
And as hard as it is to believe, the Daniel Andrews lot is even worse than the last lot. And the damage will be even greater this time than last time.