Daniel Andrews

Victorian Government needs to be accountable

Daniel Andrews
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. Photo: The Age

As a Victorian born and bred I’m really frustrated at what’s happening in my home state with massive lockdowns and a night curfew.

Why is Victoria the only state experiencing this?

There’s currently an inquiry under way, which will hopefully give some of the answers, but evidence so far suggests there’s been high community transmission of COVID-19 from bungled hotel quarantine security.

People who know me well realise that I’m not party political. I’m pragmatic. I’ve worked on both sides of the political fence and treat issues on their merits.

The fundamental purpose of state and territory governments is to keep their citizens safe. That requires having effective police and health services.

Australia has been relatively unscathed medically throughout the coronavirus pandemic thanks to being an island continent and politically bipartisan goodwill, despite Anthony Albanese, Michael O’Brien and Deb Frecklington heckling from the sidelines.

This is what I wrote on Facebook after reading a report from The Age:

A revealing report by my former Canberra Times colleague Noel Towell and Richard Baker into Victoria's bungled hotel…

Posted by Michael Gorey on Friday, August 7, 2020

Daniel Andrews needs to accept responsibility

That might sound harsh, but I’m angry that any State Government would allow people to be put at risk through ideology, whether left or right.

The Commonwealth offered support from Defence and Border Force to manage hotel security, which was declined.

Victoria thought it could do better alone and got it wrong. The consequences have been horrendous for individuals, families, Victoria and Australia.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has now admitted mistakes.

Good on her, but I’m worried she will be made a scapegoat, possibly along with public servants.

The Age report was detailed and fair. The Age is generally pro-Government in Victoria and I suspect the information came from a controlled leak.

The way that crisis management works in politics is to blame someone. It seems that Mikakos and possibly a senior public servant are being hung out to dry.

The buck stops with the Premier and he should accept responsibility.

Why do I care?

My elderly mother and sister live at Morwell. My 16-year-old twins live at Bendigo and they’re studying Year 11. I’ve been unable to see any of them this year, whereas I recently travelled from Queensland to South Australia and saw my eldest daughter.

I’m concerned that studying remotely is not ideal for Year 11 and 12 students.

Victoria had a huge challenge with hotel quarantine because Melbourne is Australia’s second biggest international airport after Sydney. New South Wales was probably more at risk of a massive COVID-19 breakout, but apart from the Ruby Princess debacle has managed well.

Unlike Victoria, the NSW hotel quarantine arrangements involved security firms working under supervision of Police and Border Force.

The Victorian Government has made a massive mistake and breached public trust; it should be held accountable.

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