Victoriastan

Daniel Andrews’ Bad Case of China Envy

Like many Victorians I tuned in to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ press conference yesterday morning, happy to hear the five-day lockdown here in Victoria is not to continue.

The Premier looked his best against a pretty green backdrop which I now know to be the Parliament House gardens. The setup was such that questions were inaudible and media invisible (at least as far as I watched). We just got Dan doing his rhetorical rhodomontade.[i]

He emphasised several times that his anti-COVID crusade had no political overtones. It was such a tranquil and balmy scene that you could almost forget that Dan and his team’s utter incompetence killed 800 vulnerable Victorians, and that his cabal’s incompetence with quarantine continues. Just watch other video of quarantined hotel people exiting to buses the other day with black bin-bags over their heads, either as Personal Protective Equipment or to protect their identity, who knows.

Andrews, who gets on well with Victoria’s docile media tribe, has not got over his humiliation by that scourge of the Left, Peta Credlin. You’ll remember how during the ridiculous inquiry into hotel quarantines, Credlin suggested the inquiry take a look at officials’ crucial phone records, a point Dan’s media chooks had totally never thought to ask about. Dan’s Premier’s Department secretary resigned virtually on the spot although the inquiry later found that nobody/nothing was responsible for anything/nothing.

Well there’s one serious journalist in Victoria, Avi Yemini, who is national bureau chief  for Canadian-based Rebel News, run by free-speech warrior Ezra Levant. Avi is disliked by Dan’s Praetorian Guard, aka Victoria Police, but he has no fear of them, despite the previous encounter in the clip below.

He says his Australian channel has hundreds of thousands of fans, especially in Victoria. Since he’s been an Israeli Defence Force marksman, I imagine he’s dealt with tougher opponents than VicPol medium-weights. I must say his calmness under pressure is astounding and on top of that he can produce a stream of witticisms while daring coppers to arrest him and tangle with his lawyers.

Well, he’s the last person Dan would want at his press conference yesterday. Yahweh knows what embarrassing stuff Yemini might bring up.

So here in a nutshell is what was happening behind the scenes during Dan’s tranquil presser yesterday:

1/ Yemini was admitted to Parliament Gardens with his federal-government-issued media pass.

2/ But before he could reach the soon-to-start press conference amid its bucolic surrounds, he was swarmed by five Protective Services Officers (specialised quasi-police officers)[ii] who ordered him out because they believed “on reasonable grounds” that he threatened the “good order and security of Parliament”.

3/ While he was explaining that he merely intended to ask Dan some questions, Dan and his troupe approached from the other end of the path and passed within about 10 metres of Yemini en route to the presser. Yemini was able to ask Dan almost without raising his voice, whether Dan approved him being shut down from the presser to avert critical questions. Yemini also managed to ask Dan whether Dan’s tactic was more Chinese Communist than Victorian. Dan studiously avoided eye or any other human contact with Yemini and by-passed the Yemini/police crowd en route to his serried ranks of TV cameras.

4/ The PSOs, while unable to provide any ground for expelling or arresting Yemini, pleaded with him to go quietly so no media sensation would occur.

5/ Yemini got his lawyer Madelaine onto his cellphone loudspeaker. She asked the PSOs trenchantly what their “reasonable grounds” were for expelling him. Their leading light replied that Yemini wasn’t invited to the presser and might disrupt it. And he added, let’s hope he doesn’t get fired for it, “And the Premier’s Personal Assistant doesn’t want him here at the conferences.” (See transcript below).

6/ As Yemini can now truthfully assert: Dan’s satraps ordered PSOs and coppers to get rid of one of Dan’s politically-critical media attendees. That’s an interesting coda to Dan’s claims at the presser maybe 15 minutes later that his covid work was utterly devoid of political stagecraft.

7/ The embarrassed and jittery PSOs then called in the heavyweight coppers to get Yemini off their hands. The leading copper didn’t just get Yemini removed for no overt reason and banned from Parliament precincts for seven days. This police paragon claimed innocent citizen and reporter Yemini had entered via a fake pass and he (the copper) was going to, or had, revoke/d the fake pass, which as Yemini says, is a curious thing to do.

8/ All along, of course, the PSOs and police had their orders from Dan via his office to mis-use the Parliamentary Precincts Act (Section 16) to get rid of a reporter “on reasonable grounds” that the reporter might ask wrong questions.

9/ That’s Victoria, yesterday and today, or should we call it, “Danistan”.

All we’re waiting on now is saturation coverage of the affair by the ABC 7pm News, Leigh Sales’ 7.30, Laura Tingle via indignant tweets, Media Watch and Four Corners. Nor likely to make mention of this disgrace is The Australian, since it’s gone decidely left of late.

The video of the encounter is embedded at the foot of this page. Watch it by all means, but do make a point to first read selected excerpts from the transcript, which lay out in blunt and brutal black and white what happens when an arrogant premier, knowing his fixed four-year term means he cannot be turned out out of office until November 2022, uses a tame and trained VicPol as his personal bully squad.

Tony Thomas’s new book, Come To Think Of It – essays to tickle the brain, is available here as a book ($34.95) or an e-book ($14.95)

 

[i]  rhodomontade – vain and empty boasting. braggadocio, rodomontade, bluster. boast, boasting, jactitation, self-praise – speaking of yourself in superlatives.

[ii] PSOs are sworn and armed officers with the same powers of arrest and use of force as police, but usually guarding specific official locations.

________________

Transcript Excerpt
by Tony Thomas

Avi Yemini: This morning I was forcibly ejected from Daniel Andrews press conference on the order of his personal assistant.

Policeman: “The Premier’s PA doesn’t want him here at the conferences”.

AY: So, the Premier called his press conference for 10.15am in Parliament Gardens, so I got there a few minutes early…

After Security comes to the gate his identity and media credentials are double checked, signed off by a Protective Services Officer and he is allowed in].[i]

AY: But as I approached the garden where the rest of the media were waiting for the press conference to begin, a different group of PSOs suddenly surrounded and stopped me.

PSO: For security and good order I am an authorised officer under the Parliamentary Precincts Act, we are asking you to leave.

AY: I don’t understand, isn’t there a press conference…?

PSO: In the interests of security and good order of Parliament House.

AY: Hold on, you can’t shut down certain media. Hold on, I want an answer. You know who I am, Avi Yemini. On what grounds…?

PSO: As an authorised officer in the Parliamentary Precincts Act in the interest of security and good order…

AY: Is there a  press conference here now?

PSO: Yes

AY: I am press. This is my press card.

PSO: That’s fine but I have just told you under Parliamentary Precincts Act…

AY: You can’t shut down media that is at a press conference.

PSO: I am not having a conversation with you now, I have asked you to leave.

AY: I am here for the press conference, just like all the other media.

PSO: So under powers of an authorised officer I am directing you to leave, not to enter. I believe on reasonable grounds ejection is necessary for the good order and security of Parliament.

AY: How is that in the best interests of good order?

PSO: I have just told you.

AY: How are you going to justify that? What am I going to do that is going to affect the good order…Asking questions to the Premier, is that? …

Yemini calls his lawyer, Madelaine, for advice. Five PSOs surround him. A call on their radio can be heard:

PSO: Are you guys on channel?

PSO to AY: Stand by, mate.

AY: I am not going anywhere, I am happy here, I am going to wait because what he is trying to do is unlawful. We are not in…You don’t have to like our network but you can’t expel us from a press conference.

AY to camera: Then suddenly I see Dan Andrews himself  walking towards me.

Andrews and his close team walk down the path directly towards Yemeni’s cluster . At a distance of about 10 metres Andrew’s group turns onto a side path to the conference.

AY: Mr Premier, do you think it is OK for the media to be shut down at a press conference just because they criticised you? Mr Premier, are you OK with this? It seems a bit like Communist China, not Victoria.

AY (to camera): I didn’t realise at the time, why he didn’t even look my way as if purposely avoiding me. But as you are about to see, not only is the Premier personally OK with  it [his office ordering Yemini’s removal]

… I have never seen such a thing from a democratic leader, removing journalists they don’t like.

AY to PSOs: Who is in charge? I can’t understand why I am not being allowed access to the press conference like all the other media.

PSO: No, it is not for me (to say?), it’s because you are disruptive.  

AY: No, how was I disruptive if I was not even in there.

PSO: Let’s go. I am told you have been disruptive in the past.

AY: On what grounds when I have not even been to a press conference? ….

PSO: As an authorised officer I have said that was… let’s go. It is in my power to make you leave.

AY: And if I don’t leave?

PSO: You will be arrested.

AY: Under what…

PSO: Parliamentary Precincts Act for failure to comply with the Act.

POLICE RADIO: The Premier just now is doing his press conference.  A male there is causing trouble.

AY: Your radio just said I am here causing trouble. How am I causing trouble? Why are you removing me?

PSO: In the interests of security and good order you are hindering us from doing our job right now.

AY: What is your job?

PSO: I am speaking to YOU

AY:  I want to do MY job.

PSO: You can’t do that here, you can do it outside

AY: Why not?

PSO: Because I have said so.

AY: We have hundreds of thousands of followers. It is a news company.

PSO: I have seen you at events, mate

AY: Do you know that the only other police that remove media from press conferences to protect leaders is Communist China. Do you work for the CCP [Communist Party of China]?

PSO: Of course not.

AY: So why are you acting like it?

PSO: I am not.

AY: You are. Have I disrupted? I am absolutely not here to disrupt.  I am here to ask questions for our thousands of subscribers who are Victorians who have the right to have their preferred news network at the press conference just like all the others (media).

At this point the PSO receives call on his two-way radio of which this can be heard: “He is not violent … not permitted”.

AY (to camera): “Not permitted”? It’s mental! You don’t have to like me, my style or my politics. I have never ever disrupted a press conference. I have never been violent on the job, in fact I am often the victim of violence and disruption at work.

Most importantly every one of our Victorian subscribers, all of you, deserve your preferred media outlet to be able to hold the government accountable. This is literally the point of  press in a free society….

It gets worse as Yemini calls his lawyer.

AY: It would look pretty bad for you if you arrest a journalist at a press conference … What is it you are asking (for)?

PSO: You are not violent. I am not disputing that. (But) good order and security. I don’t know what questions you are going to ask….

PSO: I can talk to her ( lawyer Madelaine) if you like.

AY: Hi, Madelaine. So I was let into the grounds of Parliament with my press pass for the press conference with Dan Andrews. As I approached the actual conference I was swarmed by PSOs who are citing…

Madelaine to PSO: Are you citing the Parliamentary Precincts Act? What is it you are citing?

PSO: I am an authorised officer, I have the powers of an authorised officer. I am not saying removing, I am asking you to leave. If you don’t, we can forcibly remove you … If you don’t leave we can arrest you or forcibly remove you which we don’t want to do.

AY: What section (of the Act)?

PSO: Section 16, I think.

AY: He thinks! It is always a good sign when they think. Mate, I am not going.

PSO: How did you get in?

AY: My passes.

PSO: Your pass has been revoked.

AY: No, it is not

PSO: Yes it is.

AY (to camera): … that media pass, you all saw it and how I got in. I used my government-issued media pass, like any other journalist, a pass that he suddenly threatened to revoke on top of arresting me. You can’t make this stuff up.

AY (to PSO): What I have learned doing this is you guys don’t know the law.

PSO: I have just told you.

AY: She [Madelaine] is reading and reviewing it. We are going to see what their powers really are.

PSO: We know what our legal powers are.

AY: Mate, I have been arrested so many times by cops who don’t know their (legal) powers and currently we are fighting (cases) in the Supreme Court. You don’t know your laws. I think I will trust my lawyer…..

Lawyer Madelaine: So what is the belief?

PSO: I believe on reasonable grounds that he may disrupt  the press conference. On those grounds I am exercising my powers as authorised officer under the Parliamentary Precincts Act in the interests of securing good order, I am asking him to leave. If he refuses to leave…

Madelaine: You don’t need to quote it, I have it in front of me. What are your ‘reasonable grounds’?

PSO: That he might disrupt the press conference and also he was not invited to these press conferences and the Premier’s Personal Assistant doesn’t want him here at the conferences. So they are the reasons.

Madelaine: OK, have you got a direction, have you been given a direction yourself to remove him?

PSO: No no, I am an authorised officer so I am giving that direction. I don’t want to arrest him physically nor forcibly remove him., which I have the power to do. I am just asking him if he can leave now.

Madelaine: No I just want really to clearly understand what the issue is. Basically, the Premier’s Personal Assistant doesn’t want him here, that seems to be the real trigger. OK, thanks, all right.  I will have a chat to Avi.

Here, all decent Australians, be they left or right, should pause, collect their breath and note what has transpired: acting at the direct instruction of the Premier Andrews’ chief gofer and dogsbody, a member of the press has been singled out and banned because he might ask the questions that tame members of the press gang never do. But back to the transcript.

AY: The cops are here now

Police (correcting AY): “Police”.

AY: Police. A sergeant.

Sergeant: Start walking. You have to get off the grounds.  You are not meant to be here.

AY to Madelaine: OK. Bye.

Sergeant: Let’s go for a walk, Avi, outside the grounds.

AY: Do you want to ‘cuff me and take me…?

Sergeant: No. You are also banned from here for a period of seven days, you are not permitted to return here for seven days. It is on film (presumably security cameras).

AY: Who advised that as well?

Sergeant: Authorised officers of Parliament House. That is me.

AY: Where are the boundaries that this journalist can’t…

Sergeant: You are not allowed on the footpath. [Points].

AY (to camera): An authorised officer of Parliament has banned a journalist that the government doesn’t like (laughs), (Dan or Sgt) doesn’t even seem like a fan, he’s watched a few (of AY’s clips?)…

Sergeant: You have come in here with a fake pass on, you have accessed grounds…

AY: Hold on! no no no no no no no no!

Sergeant: You are being removed…

AY: Hold on, how is it a fake pass? It says on the top there…

Sergeant: It is not a security pass. It says that on the top.

AY (to camera): They asked me for my media pass, how is that (pass) fake? It is issued by the Federal Government.

First he claimed it is being revoked, I am not sure how a ‘fake pass’ can be revoked, but we all know the truth that they were ordered to remove  me from the press conference by Dan Andrews’ personal assistant. Now they are banning me from the entire grounds including the footpath out front, for goodness sake, for seven days on the command of the Premiers personal assistant.

[i] PSO’s are sworn and armed officers with the same powers of arrest and use of force as police, but usually guarding specific locations such as railway stations.

15 comments
  • Harry Lee

    Underyling cause of destructive features of the Australian polity and the civil order generally:
    The Constitution, and legal system based on the Consitution, do not provide for any defence against the rise to full and final power of marxist-inspired anti-Westernists -such as Andrews and almost all denizens of the ALP and Greens.
    That the Libs and Nats now embrace many policies of the neo-marxist forces is simply a sign of how defenceless we are.

  • DG

    A tactic worth of ol’ Schicklgruber. He’s turned the police etc into a latter day SA. Truly horrifying.
    The trouble the docile and applauding latteleft in Victoria may one day face is that if you don’t stand up for general rights, one day, you will be next.

  • DougD

    Confirmation yet again that Victoria Police is just the uniformed branch of the Victorian ALP. A police sergeant doing without question or thought what he’s told to do by Dan Andrews’ personal assistant. At least Andrews’ armoured blackshirts [the Victoria Police Public Order squad ] were not mobilised this time. Andrews has been nominated above all other state premiers for “a prestigious Political Leader of the Year award” – the Benito Mussolini il Duce award – sorry, the McKinnon Prize. Will he for his next act, follow Gillian Triggs with Liberty Victoria’s Voltaire Award for championing free speech?If he nominates he’ll be a shoo-in.

  • en passant

    Let’s hope this goes viral through Rebel News. Perhaps the UN will mobilise a military rescue package to save us from tyranny?
    Today I received an email from Michael O’Brien, the Liberal Enabler, asking for my opinion as to whether or not he should support an extension of the Emergency Gestapo Powers Act until December 2021. The fact that he asked says it all – and why the Liberals are not the answer as they don’t even know the questions.

  • Harry Lee

    Big deadly error:
    Treating the ALP people, and the Green people, and all their agents in the mainstream media, in the education systems, in the law industry, and in the public services as legitimate, worthy actors in a Western democracy.
    The naive idealism that treats these marxist-inspired power-mongers as acceptable has just about destroyed the place.

  • Peter OBrien

    Tony, yet another great article and critically important Do you ever sleep? This is astounding. A year ago I would have said ‘this is unbelievable’. Unfortunately, I can’t say that today because it is now all too believable. But that doesn’t make it any less outrageous. I imagine Avi will pursue this to the end and your efforts will no doubt help.

  • Doubting Thomas

    The problem is that the left renews its supply of young radicals at a much faster rate than age, maturity, experience and personal responsibility tends to tranfer some of them to the conservative side of politics. As is well known, radical leftists lack any sense of responsibility, proportion or proprietary and, most significantly, no “off switch”. They will push all the boundaries of civilised behaviour, secure in the knowledge that conservatives will not be allowed to respond in kind even if they were inclined to. In our society, we have no way to deal with those who have no limits to their behaviour.

  • padmmdpat

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I have always believed that a given of the Westminster system of government is that there is a separation of powers and jurisdictions between the parliament, the courts and the police and that the Premier and the government cannot control the police – or the courts. Is this correct? And if it is – is Dan Andrews violating and trampling on the Westminster system of government and in doing so, on the rights of citizens who have a right to be protected by that system? And if he is – what is the legitimate response?

  • DougD

    What the conduct of Andrews and Victoria Police regularly demonstrate is the stupidity of people who think that the existence of a human rights act will restrain politicians in power and a politically subservient police from doing whatever they want to do.

  • Stephen Due

    That much-used photo of Daniel Andrews in holiday mode at Tiananmen Square is a perfect symbol of his political ideology. First, the square is site of the great victory of the Communist Party’s tanks and guns against dangerous protesters armed with bicycles and protest signs. Secondly the square is pristinely empty, symbolising the erasure from the face of the earth of all political opposition.

  • Biggles

    A minor point, Tony, mate, but could we ditch the American term ‘presser’ for something more Australian? Presso comes to mind; there will be others.

  • Geoffrey Luck

    Sorry, but everyone here has the bull by the tail. As a journalist for a quarter of a century, I can assure you that prime ministers, premiers or anyone else who holds a news conference has every right to decide who can attend. Such events are not just open to anyone who announces himself a journalist and would like to ask a few questions. The criterion for admission is accreditation, and Avi apparently did not have it. Waving a claimed “Commonwealth Press Pass” means nothing, and anyway we have not been told what facilities it purported to validate the bearer to enjoy. Avi was obviously being provocative; some previous experience had seemingly decided the Premier’s office to deny him entry, and was perfectly within rights to do so. What was the big mistake was not stopping him at the gate, creating the scene of confrontation with polite policemen. But that suited Avi and the Andrews government cares nothing for appearances. It will have been noted that Avi’s lawyer concluded the force was acting correctly under the Act. No reputable news organisation picked up the story, because it wasn’t a story.

    • Roger Franklin

      Geoffrey, couldn’t disagree more about Avi’s right to be there. A press conference, especially one convened by an elected officeholder on public land, is a forum at which he or she seeks to inform the media’s heralds of truth (yes, okay, typed with tongue jammed hard in cheek), who then pass along and amplify the message. The speaker, in this instance Daniel Andrews, even if he doesn’t know as much, is asking for the help of news people to spread his message — determining who spreads that message isn’t, or shouldn’t be, his call.

      Throughout the lockdowns, Spring Street’s docile press gang was treated daily to the Premier’s obfuscations, misrepresentations and flat-out lies, which to their shame they accepted, usually with the submissive smiles of kept creatures who know they are kept and want things to stay that way. It was only when Peta Credlin turned up, armed with an analysis the hacks could and should have done themselves, that Andrews was obliged to answer in terms other than onanist summations of his own heroic leadership. Should Credlin be banned because she made Andrews uncomfortable, what he no doubt regarded as a ‘provocation’?

      Not even Andrews would dare ban Credlin, but Avi is a smaller fish, even though the questions he was unable to put would have been of similar mien, so he gets the shove from police officers acting not in accord with any law of which I am aware but because a political operative, Andrews’ COS, told them to do so. Political hacks giving VicPol its riding instructions should alarm everyone; it certainly scares the daylights out of me.

      Worth noting here is that on Saturday two newspeople covering the anti-vaxxer ratbags’ protest were taken into custody. First they nobble Avi, and emboldened by that success, take aim at the mainstream press.

      The real villains here, though, are the members of the working press, who should have rallied behind Avi as a matter of principle whether they like him or not. That was never going to happen, sadly, because careerwise there is too much at stake. Imagine you were, say The Age roundsperson, you spoke up and then returned to the office. Guaranteed your editor would have had one of Andrews media goons on the phone by the time you got there. Beyond that, there would be the enmity of newsroom colleagues who, it is important to note, were fulsome in their twitter denunciations of Credlin.

      Yes, Avi is a provocateur. But lord knows, in Daniel Andrews’ Trashcanistan on the Yarra, where I can’t think of a single institution that hasn’t been debased or corrupted by his actions, policies and appointments (from the state library — yes, really — to the bench to VicPol to, well, you name it) there’s a lot of provoking that isn’t being done and needs to be.

  • Tony Thomas

    Thanks, they’re good points Geoff. I’m no lawyer but why didn’t Andrews’ people just say, “We don’t want you at our press conference. And your claimed accreditation is invalid.” If Yemini then became unruly/defiant he could be arrested for being unruly. Instead Dan’s crew used police to enforce some Precincts Act involving “reasonable grounds to believe he might create disorderliness”. I’ve yet to learn what the “reasonable grounds” were. Yemini’s had confrontations with coppers in other political contexts but it might well be that the coppers not him were being unlawful. Especially when five of them threw him to the ground while he was trying to report on a demo before he could even produce his press credential.
    Re your “It will have been noted that Avi’s lawyer concluded the force was acting correctly under the Act.” Do you have new info re that or are you interpreting that from the transcript? I can ‘t see where the transcript concedes that. The lawyer is saying to them, “OK I hear what you’re saying”, that’s all. Not “OK you’ve won the argument.”

  • irisr

    Rue the day when we allowed our Police Force to become a militia of the Government.
    As for freedom of speech + freedom of press, they are gone.
    Diktator Dan did not/could not have Peta Credlin removed, but somehow somewhere they made sure she never came back to any of the pressers.
    And they arrested and handcuffed a Herald Sun female journalist and her cameraman. Surely on exactly the same “sound” grounds as Avi: not from the “Approved” media.
    Seen that happen behind the Iron Curtain and now in Dan’s friend’s empire.
    You guys will never know what hit you.

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