I want to pick up on a point that Currency Lad made on an earlier post, namely that we should expect and indeed demand that politicians and political parties hold each other to account over the handling of the COVID pandemic. Democracy and good governance depend on it.
Unbelievably this is apparently a point of contention within the Liberal Party. There is a considerable voice within the Liberal Party of Victoria (i.e. Liberal Party of Victoria President, Robert Clarke) and apparently shared across jurisdictions (i.e. former NSW Premier Mike Baird) that the role of the Opposition is not to oppose the woeful failures of the Andrews Government but instead to offer solidarity like a good union member.
Daniel Andrews has already designated politicians (and hence the parliament) as a non-essential service. Liberal politicians are hence locked up at home and unable to hold the Andrews Government to account in the normal parliamentary way. To say that parliamentary democracy is a non-essential service is beyond a disgrace. It is the gateway to totalitarianism which is exactly what Victorians are now facing.
That the Liberal Party pathetically capitulates ands defers to Andrews thereby rendering itself non-essential is an even bigger disgrace. One of the more depressing aspects about the dire situation Victoria finds itself in is the total absence of any effective opposition from the Liberal and National Parties, with the notable exception of Tim Smith.
This absence of scrutiny / pressure is what emboldens Andrews to lurch from one disaster to another with unbridled arrogance and impunity. Just because Andrews scuppered parliament doesn’t mean Liberal and National parliamentarians should meekly settle into a fully funded house arrest and give up holding a blow torch to Andrews and his incompetent and corrupt cronies. It beggars belief that he still enjoys 61% approval for his handling of the pandemic. That figure is a total indictment on the lack of Liberal opposition. Last I checked we are not a complete despotic state (not quite anyway). Opposition is still allowed. But where is it?
The Opposition Leader, Michael O’Brien may as well be invisible and the two most senior Victorian Liberals with name recognition, being Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg are similarly missing in action. Worse than that, they actually provide cover for Daniel Andrews with the “we must all come together” meme that got us into this mess in the first place.
If Andrew’s hadn’t taken a swipe (deservedly) at Hunt regarding the Commonwealth’s inept handling of Aged Care, Hunt would have continued his National Cabinet solidarity “all in this together” protection racket for the worst government in Australian history, presiding over the single worst policy failure in Australian history. Even when Hunt finally through off the gloves the other week his retaliation had the ferocity of being hit with a wet lettuce. He made the mincing poodle look like a rabid doberman which is no mean feat.
As for Frydenberg it was though the Treasurer had to wait for former judge Jennifer Coate to give him the all clear last Wednesday to start asking questions or pointing the finger at Dan Andrews. God forbid Josh upset a former senior bureaucrat who whose entire legal career has been advanced by Labor nominations. Is it any wonder the Treasury officials love him. Having said that Andrews must answer some tough questions Frydenberg subsequently failed to ask any! He “didn’t want to get into a Commonwealth and State “slanging match“. Unbelievable.
Then of course there is SloMo who has bowed his head, doffed his cap and tugged his forelock to Dan Andrews from woe to go during this pandemic. SloMo has not been able to influence a thing of substance through the National Cabinet. He failed to achieve uniformity on quarantine, school closures, border closures, business closures or social restrictions. The only consensus achieved through the National Cabinet was that SloMo could present first on TV in exchange for Commonwealth funding every insanity offered up by the states. One suspects SloMo is loathe to criticise Andrews because he knows he should never have abdicated responsibility for quarantine in the first place. Had SloMo done his job Andrews would never have been in a position to royally screw up. Had SloMo shown any leadership in the National Cabinet, Andrews dodgy private security model would have been slapped down from inception.
If Josh Frydenberg or Greg Hunt or Michael O’Brien or Scott Morrison and all the other Liberal seat warmers (with the notable exception of Tim Smith) are unwilling or unable to hold the Andrews Government to account they should resign. Its bad enough that the people of Victoria have had parliamentary democracy classified as non-essential, it is insult to injury that the Liberal Party have decided to classify themselves as non-essential and have vacated the political field of battle. If you are not prepared to do the job you are paid to do, and which our democracy depends on you doing it, you need to go. And while your at it refund your equally non-essential pay-cheque!