OPINION: Today, as still more died and the economy shattered, Victoria's premier stood in front of his people and promised to run for re-election in just over two years' time.
In the middle of a second wave of coronavirus, a wave we did not have to have, it was a new level of arrogance from a man already remarkable for his lack of humility.
He says he is accountable, but does he really understand the word? Does he not get it?https://omny.fm/shows/mornings-with-neil-mitchell/the-covid-19-testing-an-infectious-diseases-expert/embed?style=cover
Poor decisions and sloppy organisation by his government are essentially responsible for the horror show that is Victoria today.
For that, he must be responsible.
And that means responsible for death, suffering, and people struggling to buy food.
He shouldn't be planning another term. He should be planning his departure.
Already the bungled hotel quarantine system has been shown responsible for what Victoria now faces.
The premier and his government did not create this pandemic but it looks certain they have mismanaged it.
Remember, other states used the ADF for quarantine and had few problems.
Because Mr Andrews did not like the "optics" of troops on the streets, Victoria used private security and invited disaster.
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One piece of evidence to the current inquiry into quarantine sums up the bureaucratic mess.
A guard, seconded from elsewhere in the public service, quit after a month because it was so badly organised he knew it was dangerous.
His training for managing quarantine included one hour of how to use an app, and one hour of training in "equity and diversity".
There was nothing on infection control or managing people under intense stress.
He went off to work effectively without protection but fully armed with an arsenal of politically correct platitudes.
It was straight from every satire about government and public service indulgence.
But it was true, it cost lives, and we still don't know where it will all end.https://omny.fm/shows/mornings-with-neil-mitchell/neil-mitchell-exposes-most-horrendous-case-of-cont/embed?style=cover
And that is probably the most unsettling and crippling element of life in this corona based leper-colony - the uncertainty.
When will it end? What happens next? Are those figures good or bad? What level of new infection is low enough to allow at least some reopening?
And the answer is: nobody knows.
Theoretically midnight tonight marks the halfway mark of this Soviet-style curfew and the laws that mean police can give you grief for being 5.5 kilometres from home without the appropriate piece of paper.
Theoretically, we are halfway through the greatest insult to democratic liberty since Australia was founded on a base that thought liberty was having the leg irons loosened slightly.
Maybe soon we will be allowed out the front door for more than an hour a day, we will be allowed to invite family into our homes and drive more than spitting distance without being arrested.
Maybe. But maybe not. We don't know.
In some ways we are realistic.
Victorians are intensely proud of their sport.
But we have given up on the AFL grand final. It won't happen in Melbourne.
And we know if the Boxing Day Test and Melbourne Cup do go ahead it will be to almost empty stands.
It's sad, but we have come to terms with that.
We have now been in some form of strict lockdown in Melbourne for an unbroken eight weeks.
Masks have been compulsory for a month. They will be with us for years.
Many people have been working from home for five months. The human suffering has been overwhelming.
All this matters more than a game of footy or a horse race and through this enforced isolation we can see that.
We also know we must keep going. There's no option.
So we keep saying we will come out the other side eventually. But when?
Every epidemiologist has a view and who would have thought a year ago Australia employed enough epidemiologists to fill that empty MCG.
But like the economists on budget night they can't offer promises, only very well educated guesses.
The consensus is that despite bouncing around the infection numbers are coming down, but several other factors like community transmission are crucial to any reopening.
Many Victorians don't hear that and are focused on the planned end of these stage four restrictions, due in three weeks.
They will be ready to leap from their houses like racing dogs after the lure.
But that won't happen. Even if this stage four is lifted it is most likely stage three will continue, with restrictions only slightly less onerous.
Daniel Andrews may not know how to run safe hotel quarantine but he does know how to spin and his spin yesterday was effectively "this is not over yet".
He even started to give the virus a character.
It exploited complacency, he said. It was stubborn, he said. And determined.
All descriptions are correct, but it was as though he was talking about a cunning human enemy, not a virus susceptible to science, and logic and environmental change.
He was also right that the people are lockdown weary.
There's a sense of despair emerging about the present and the future.
The government is fighting that with a series of advertisements from well-known comedians, although in part the joke is on us because some of them have accepted payment for doing it.
In this environment surely even a comedian has a social conscience.
But the more positive change from the premier was his first, careful, talk about the future.
Previously he focused on the daily battle.
Today he talked about rebuilding Victoria's economy and helping business to do it.
"No effort will be spared," he said.
He launched a "Click for Vic" campaign to encourage Victorians to buy Victorian.
It sounded sensible.
But never doubt the cynicism behind any decisions from a government that already deserves a world title in cynicism.
God forbid, but it may have been the launch of a two-year election campaign from Daniel Andrews.
With his political arrogance, anything is possible.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-neil-mitchell-opinion-daniel-andrews-election/839fc412-cdf8-4329-b73e-0f3d27f6e938