After resigning yesterday, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews leaves a legacy of brutality, debt and corruption
The following blog post re Dan Andrew’s surprise resignation is syndicated from Rebekah Barnett, first published 27 September 2023
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who imposed the world’s longest Covid lockdowns on his state, officially steps down from his position today. Andrews earned the nickname ‘Dictator Dan’ for his strongman style of leadership during the pandemic years. He leaves a legacy of brutality, debt, and corruption.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews steps down today
As Andrews’ abusive relationship with Victorians draws to an end, some have responded with joy, some with relief, and some with gratitude to Andrews for ‘doing what was right’ and ‘keeping Victorians safe’.
I’ve previously covered Andrews’ legacy of brutality in my article, From Australia’s most liveable city, to the world’s most locked down hellhole. That article links to Topher Field’s documentary Battleground Melbourne, which covered Melbourne’s world-record lockdowns (clocking in at just over 260 days, cumulatively) and related protests.
Footage of police in full combat gear assaulting citizens with mace spray, batons and rubber bullets went viral around the world, it was so shocking. I said of the doco at the time,
“There are so many ‘I can’t believe that happened’ moments. A standout for me is a scene where a policeman in combat gear confesses to a protestor that he doesn’t want to be aggressively policing protests. His wife has lost her job, and he’s “f-ing over” the lockdowns too, but he’s not skilled to do any other job, and his family needs the income, and so he does it because he feels he has to. The hunters and the hunted – all victims of Dan Andrews tyranny and the vaccine mandate death lottery.”
Friend of DDU, MilkBar TV has a great collection of shorts showing the depravity of the Andrews government response throughout the pandemic. A little snapshot below (2 mins).
Listen for Andrews saying, “all of it can be avoided if people don’t protest.” He might as well have said, ’baby, you made me do this to you.’
Dan Andrews says he’s leaving on a high, but the Australian Financial Review says Andrews “trashed Victoria’s finances,” leaving behind “a nasty financial cocktail” of debt and high borrowing costs.
Aside from mismanaged pandemic spending, the AFR notes that Andrews essentially flushed public money down the toilet: “He blew $1.1 billion cancelling Melbourne’s East West Link road project and $380 million on compensation for cancelling the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”
This grim take on Victoria’s fiscal status is across the board in Australian media. See pessimistic articles about Victoria’s growing debt via The Age, The Herald Sun, The Guardian, The New Daily, and Nine News.
Dan’s stans say that Victoria’s fiscal situation is not his fault because ‘pandemic’, but there is no evidence that the excessive spending and harsh measures of the Andrews government achieved anything other than prolonged misery.
The only cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) of Victoria’s pandemic response that I know of were conducted by private think tanks and economists, because the Victorian government didn’t bother to do one themselves. I covered this in my article, Australia’s Covid response cost $934.8 billion and resulted in 31 x more life years lost than were saved.
Victoria was the biggest loser in the CBA by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which calculated that Victoria’s pandemic spending and costs were significantly greater than any other state or territory, despite Victoria being the second-largest state after New South Wales. The IPA described the Andrews government’s pandemic response as a “humanitarian disaster.”
The human cost of the Andrews government’s pandemic policies was grave. Victorian children lost more learning weeks than any other kids in the country. Attempted youth suicides almost tripled during lockdowns, and the state is in the grips of an opioid epidemic (ongoing since the late 2010s). Victoria is also suffering the worst excess death rate in the country second only to Tasmania.
Underpinning the brutality and fiscal recklessness is the Andrews government’s culture of corruption, secrecy and outright lying.
A pick-n-mix of the scandals Andrews has been embroiled in during his nine year reign:
- The Ombudsman found the Andrews government had “breached human rights” by confining over 3,000 Melburnians to nine tower blocks, under police guard, for up to two weeks.
- The Red Shirts saga, involving improper use of parliamentary resources for election campaigning
- Allegations of election rorting by means of potentially corrupt group voting manipulation (Central figure, ‘preference whisperer’ Glenn Druery, was later caught out in a sting)
- Branch stacking
- A bribery scandal, which Victorian anti-corruption watchdog, IBAC, said, “…showed how the corruption risks presented by [the Andrews government’s] conduct were exacerbated by the limited transparency and oversight arrangements governing political staff in Victoria.“
- Using tax-payer monies to run polls to decide Covid lockdown policy – but framing it as based on ‘health advice’
- ‘SlugGate’. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton identified catering business I Cook Foods as the source of contaminated food products that caused a woman’s death, leading to the collapse of the business. A subsequent Parliamentary inquiry found this to be false. The former owner of I Cook Foods contested Dan Andrews’ seat of Mulgrave at the 2022 state election, but did not manage to unseat Andrews.
- The sudden cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games by Andrews, which cost the state $380 million in settlement fees for breaking its promise to host
- Andrews’ inability to recall any pertinent details during a probe into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine operations
- 50 new taxes imposed despite Andrews promising no new taxes when he was elected into office
- The strange case of Andrews ‘falling down the stairs’, which turned out to be two steps off a porch. The injury sustained did not neatly fit the story, leading some to think that Andrews was not telling the truth… and to speculate as to who or what really caused the injury
- Another strange case, this time a car accident involving Andrews and a 15 year old cyclist. Again, the stories don’t add up, and there were reportedly lapses in regular police procedures related to the incident, leading some to suspect corruption
- Andrews’ most recent to China ‘shrouded in mystery’, with minimal details made public, and journalists excluded
- $4.37 million in WorkCover claims lodged by frontline staff in relation to Covid vaccine injuries after mandates were imposed in most Victorian workplaces
- A distressed Melbourne man set himself on fire in protest of Andrews’ vaccine mandates and passports
Andrews is not one to take full responsibility or wholeheartedly apologise for any of this. He has the slippery ability to deflect blame onto anyone and everything but himself – an aptitude that earned him his other nickname, ‘Teflon Dan’.
Dan Andrews’ resignation comes into effect at 5pm today. There will be a massive celebration on the steps of Parliament House. What a vibe.
One more video for the memories, from MilkBar TV, which creator Nathan shared with the caption, “Dan Andrews will be remembered for being a PSYCHO…” (2 mins).
After this, I hope to never speak about Dan Andrews again. I’m under no illusion that justice will be meted out by the system any time soon, especially not now that Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has explicitly excluded state-led lockdowns and other key actions of State Premiers from Australia’s impending Covid Inquiry.
As one of my Instagram followers said yesterday, “I hope Karma has cleared her schedule.”
You can read more of Rebekah’s blogs on The Aussie Wire here