I am less interested for the purposes of this column in Dan’s totalitarian credentials, impressive as they may be, than in the blind, Kool-Aid skolling fanaticism of his loyal army of followers, who would have to be the most rusted-on band of deluded halfwits this side of Pyongyang.
That must be best sentence I’ve read in a long time.
This is how he describes the quarantine debacle:
But on two key fronts — spreading the virus and tracking it once it spread — the Victorian government has been in a dunce’s class of its own through the absurd use of untrained private security guards and the inadequacy of its contact tracing regime.
I Stand With Dan? Read this.
In its hearings last Thursday, the Victorian hotel quarantine inquiry was told how two security guards, who were untrained subcontractors, were caught having sex while working at Melbourne’s Swanston Street Rydges Hotel, while others were hassling nurses for their mobile numbers so they could “hook up”; others were caught urinating on bathroom floors, and others still were caught stealing food out of residents’ bags.
At the same time, three young children in quarantine became so distressed by their incarceration that they started smearing the hotel room walls with their own excrement.
Their mother was hysterical and while the private security guards were busy putting the moves on nurses, one nurse managed to dodge their advances long enough to enter that infernal room and hoover up the shit with a vacuum cleaner.
Still standing with Dan? The answer for many remains: yep, 100 per cent.
Then Citizen Dan himself:
Like Dan Andrews himself — who made the transition from prefect to student politics to political staffer to backbencher to minister to premier — you get the sense a lot of these “I Stand With Dan” dopes have never done a real day’s work in their lives, never had to live with the panic and uncertainty of making a living under their own steam, rather than via the unyielding generosity of the taxpayer.
Speaking of descriptions of Dan Andrews – here is Brian Loughnane in The Weekend Australian:
Daniel Andrews is unarguably the leading centre-left political figure in Australia — and one of the most underestimated. His political style is emblematic of the best practice of left activist governments around the world. In fact, since the fall of the Wynne government in Ontario in 2018, Labor in Victoria is the most left-wing government in any significant democratic country. It is much more so than in any US state, or Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland — or any of the Green coalition governments in Germany.
Andrews is not one of those political figures who will regret wasting his mandate. He has successfully implemented the most wide-ranging and radical social agenda seen in Australia. He has been able to so, in part, because his style is deliberately low-key and non-confrontational to avoid attracting attention to just how extensive his actions are. His longevity and success owes a lot to this style, which was tailored to the reduced reporting of state politics over the past decade.
Labor has governed in Victoria for almost 30 of the past 40 years. They have controlled senior appointments across the public sector for most of that time. This trend has increased rapidly since the election of the Andrews government in 2014, with comprehensive control of key parts of the bureaucracy being a key objective. Andrews, and his office, are widely rumoured to be active in shepherding key appointments. Public servants are expected to be “on the page”, and the Premier has been ruthless in removing those considered ineffective or unreliable.
But until recently his daily press conferences have been a master class in diverting attention from unwanted scrutiny. He has projected a style which, as Graham Richardson has said, exhibits “modesty with confidence”. His self-discipline means he rigorously sticks to his message and avoids anger or over-the-top rhetoric. This allows him to talk difficult issues down.
He normally rations his public appearances, avoids long one-on-one interviews and refuses to appear on some networks (Sky) or to be interviewed by commentators (such as Neil Mitchell at 3AW) who may push him. He narrows his field of public engagement and the issues he discusses, and he simply will not engage on some difficult topics.
As we see in his daily press conferences, he goes immediately to technical detail, often in great depth, to desensitise an issue and to give the impression he is “across the detail” and to provide endless diversionary issues on which to be questioned. It is common to have “experts” attend a press event to keep the focus on the detail and not on governance issues or unrelated difficult political issues.
He plays to his own constituencies and completely ignores those parts of the community he does not consider part of that group. He uses the power of his office to legitimatise his support base, including unions and activist NGOs, by consulting them and including them in decision-making while delegitimising others, such as small business, who are seen as either opponents or irrelevant to his political objectives.
In return, he demands total loyalty. Should a matter risk overwhelming his core message, an “inquiry” is often established “independently” to provide a shield to avoid further questions on the matter “while the Inquiry is underway”. And, in a direct take from the Kevin Rudd playbook, he often finds “I’ve not been briefed on that”. He regularly refuses to release information (e.g. genomic data) if it may prove embarrassing.
But the power of his message should not be underestimated. It is sophisticated and manipulative. It is not off-the-cuff or spontaneous but developed from research and extensive analysis of data from social media and other sources. Terms frequently heard at the daily press briefings such as “the advice of experts”, “we’ve all got to work together”, and “slow and steady recovery” come directly from this work.
Social media, much of it very targeted and beneath the wider public radar, has become the preferred channel of communication, allowing the Premier to ignore established television, radio and newspapers if he wishes. Significant public resources underpin this operation, which has one of the most extensive social media reaches in the state.
Andrews ignores parliament and limits the opportunities for the opposition to hold him, or his ministers, to account. He does not engage with the opposition or acknowledge any criticism from them. He dominates his party, caucus and ministry, expecting them to toe-the-line while otherwise ignoring them.
That is a magnificent analysis of the man – until the second lockdown Dan Andrews had projected the image of being a competent technocrat. He is quietly spoken and speaks well so he comes across as being reasonable and sensible.
Cleaning up after him will be difficult and require a disciplined ruthlessness that the Liberals simply fail to demonstrate at any level and at any time.