What a time to be alive

If I have ever read a more astonishing sentence, I can’t recall what it was:

… Justice Coate determined there was no conflict of interest in government lawyers interrogating government officials on government policies.

So this Judicial Inquiry we’ve heard so much about – the Victorian hotel quarantine debacle – is an internal review?

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30 Responses to What a time to be alive

  1. Lee

    I read somewhere that decisions made by ministers were being left out of the terms of reference.
    So Dictator Dan has already covered his and his ministers backs.
    The fix is in.

  2. 2dogs

    Justice Coate, a government employee, made this determination.

    And now, the weather forecast from the God of Rain …

  3. stackja

    ALP investigated by ALP.

  4. Mother Lode

    Well the end game is for everything to be ‘government’.

    Government lawyers speaking to government workers in government offices, making notes on government paper, and even drinking government coffee.

    Think ‘Victory gin’, ‘Victory cigarettes’, ‘Victory chocolate’ etc.

    And at length we will all look up to the televisor, to a vision which is shimmering with the tears welling up in our eyes as we realise we have one the final victory over ourselves, and that we all love Big Brother.

  5. Mother Lode

    won the final victory…

    Dammit.

  6. Gerry

    The interest shown in this debacle by our truth-seeking journalists will be interesting……

  7. Gerard

    Looks like an attempt to rewrite history. No, it wasn’t the protests or health department incompetence – it was all due to spreading from a single source.

  8. John64

    So the Enquiry is set up to protect the collective backsides of Chairman Dan and his Ministers?

    That’s how we roll here in Victoriastan.

    I’m astonished that you’re astonished, Professor.

  9. Speedbox

    The 271 pages of Victoria’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 are the source of Daniel Andrew’s power over Victorians during COVID19.

    Under the Act, a body known as the Consultative Council has unfettered control that cannot be challenged. No court, tribunal or board can compel the release of any decision, document, conversation or note regarding any decision or action of the Council, nor can any real person be compelled to attend a court and give evidence into those decisions. All documents are specifically exempt from discovery under the Freedom of Information Act.

    During times of real or perceived emergency, it is not unreasonable that a Government can act with very few limitations. It is simply not practical to get parliamentary approval at every turn. But, those decisions should be subject to consequent public review, and challenge if necessary. Overreach should not be acceptable and in any case, it will help us learn from any mistakes.

    But not under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. Daniel and the gang have unencumbered control with no prospect of some busybody subsequently asking them to justify their actions.

    That the Government chooses to interrogate itself when things go pear shaped should not be surprising, nor that it is given a ‘pass – nothing to see here’.

  10. H B Bear

    Democracy. Good and hard.

    Do you want virus with that?

  11. Slim Cognito

    It will also be reported on by government journalists. You know it makes sense.

  12. shatterzzz

    I thought these conditions were standard for any type of gummint, state or federal, enquiry regardless of the issue!

  13. Vagabond

    Ah well, now we know what the result of the inquiry will be. No need to wait until November or whenever they pretend to announce the findings.

  14. Suburban Boy

    Speedbox, the Consultative Councils you refer to have no power to makes rules or enforce them. They have nothing like “unfettered control”.

    The powers under the Act are exercised by the Minister, who declare a state of emergency (s 198); the Chief Health Officer, who may grant authorised officers power to exercise empergency powers (s 199); and the authorised officers (who may include police officers if they are appointed). The emergency powers are detailed in s 200.

  15. MACK

    Yes, the findings will be that quite a number of over-worked and stressed mid-level bureaucrats made some minor errors which compounded into disaster. And the response should be to hire more public servants, pay them more, and set up a monster pandemic planning bureaucracy. Betcha.

  16. Robbo

    Sinc you did not come down in the last shower. Surely you did not believe for a single second that this. “Judicial Inquiry “ was kosher. We all know that it is a setup by Andrews to clear him and his bunch of halfwit Ministers from any blame whatsoever for the hotel quarantine fiasco. Judge Coate may as well write her report now and save us all from witnessing the predictable circus she has been given to run. Most Victorians know what the truth is on this mess so Coate should spare us from again being treated as gullible fools.

  17. Suburban Boy

    Andrews uses a neat trick – slavishly repeated by the media – of referring to Ms Coate as “Justice Coate”, as quoted in the sentence above. In his announcement of the inquiry he referred to Ms Coate as “One of Victoria’s most experienced and respected judicial officers”, rather than a former judicial officer.

    That is as one with Andrews’ other neat trick of describing the investigation as a “judicial inquiry”. There is no such creature in Victorian law. The Order in Council setting up the inquiry describes it as a “Board of Inquiry”.

    The obvious point is to try to cloak this weak investigation with the majesty of the courts, and when it reports Andrews will be able to point to the report and declare it as holy writ.

    In fact the inquiry has no connection to the judicial branch (other than the fact its head used to be in that branch) – it is an inquiry conducted by the executive government of Victoria.

  18. Bronson

    Surely you didn’t expect honesty, integrity and responsibility from our elected members, the red shirts are a case in point.

  19. Zatara

    The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

    – Ronald Reagan

  20. Roger

    What are the Press and the Opposition saying?

  21. Grandma

    Many thanks Suburban Boy. Didn’t take much Googling to see where Ms Coate comes from, and therefore where her inquiry will go.

  22. Under the Act, a body known as the Consultative Council has unfettered control that cannot be challenged. No court, tribunal or board can compel the release of any decision, document, conversation or note regarding any decision or action of the Council, nor can any real person be compelled to attend a court and give evidence into those decisions. All documents are specifically exempt from discovery under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Good luck with that, Dan.

    The High Court loves judicial independence and will not brook with such silliness.

  23. Rob MW

    If I have ever read a more astonishing sentence, I can’t recall what it was:

    … Justice Coate determined there was no conflict of interest in government lawyers interrogating government officials on government policies.

    Compounded Sinc – Having lawyers interrogate a Gummit “Policy” is idiocy in the first place. A “policy” is not a statutory instrument with no force in law that an officer of the court (lawyer) could or should interrogate anyone on, let alone their own staff. A policy, any policy, holds no weight other than the desired outcome/creation of the designer subject to a statutory instrument. Policies are a dime a dozen !

  24. Speedbox

    Suburban Boy
    #3519288, posted on July 20, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Acknowledged. Looking back, perhaps I could have expressed it differently. I didn’t mean to imply that the Council had unfettered authority to make rules but rather, once the Minister declares a state of emergency, the Act consequently confers significant powers (including penalties for non compliance). My post was principally about the absence of any prospect for subsequent review of actions taken.

  25. Perfidious Albino

    I think I read that Ms Coates report is to be delivered to the Governor, of all people?!

    Of course, if your intent was to make complicit in your can kicking the only person with Reserve Powers under the Constitution, it’s a cunning gambit.

  26. steve

    Seriously, would you expect anything else? Here, award yourself an independent pay rise.

  27. Annie

    That sentence hit me straight in the eyes when I saw it quoted in The Australian. Appalling.

  28. Bribiejohn

    Dan believes the best way to keep the chickens safe is to lock a fox in their enclosure.

  29. Robbo

    Who made Ms Coate a judge?

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