Insights from Quadrant

Slippery Dan

From not too far north of the Victorian border, beyond the reach and jurisdiction of Daniel Andrews’ police force and its door-kickers and pregnant-lady-arresters, Peter O’Brien writes:

Yesterday, Alan Jones highlighted an example of Chairman Dan’s bullying that deserves to be more widely known.  The person at the centre of the report, The Australian’s Rachel Baxendale, asked Andrews the following question. Take particular note of the underlined words:

Premier, Judge Coate has already (been) told (by) counsel assisting that she should find that your three key public service chiefs failed to keep you and key ministers informed about major problems in hotel quarantine that have claimed 768 lives and caused more than 18,000 people to become infected. Why do you need – I mean, is it even – given those findings, is it appropriate for you to maintain confidence in those people?

A perfectly valid question but, delving into his voluminous toolbox of obfuscation, Andrews found a way to avoid answering it. Seizing upon Baxendale’s use of the word “findings” — a subsidiary and conversational reference to her earlier statement that it was the suggestion of counsel assisting — Andrews treated the question as if Coate was being said to have made ‘findings’ against the bureaucrats.  When she tried to correct his misrepresentation of her question’s theme, he rode roughshod over her. In a performance that would have been assailed as ‘mansplaining’ had he been a Coalition premier, Andrews insisted he always listens carefully (although not, apparently, when someone is suggesting untrained private security guards be used in quarantine hotels) and went on to lecture Baxendale that ‘accuracy is important’.

Why is that the old expression, ‘more front than a rat with a gold tooth’ came immediately to mind?

I found this exchange highly offensive and did a quick Google to see how many outlets had reported it.  Only, as far as I could ascertain, but I did find a couple of obscure websites, one of which featured a story headed ‘Dan Andrews Shut Down A Journo’s Weird Question About Face Masks & It’s Already A Meme’.  That story was about an earlier Baxendale  query concerning the alleged need for farmers to wear masks in their paddocks and on their tractors.  Another perfectly valid question, which Andrews treated with bullying contempt:

What’s the issue, Rachel? Seriously. What’s the issue? Why is it such a massive issue to have to wear a mask?

It seems the Twittersphere agreed with Dictator Dan.  Here is an example of the thinking from Junkee:

While there are probably hundreds of random scenarios that one could think of where a mask isn’t exactly necessary, it does seem like a waste of time to bring them up during a press conference about a pandemic plaguing a state. Sure, you may think a mask might not be necessary in certain situations, but it literally doesn’t hurt anyone to put on a mask just to be safe. However, Rachel Baxendale believes that her question was reasonable and not esoteric

Junkee claims to be in the business of doing journalism. Apparently these days on the Left the word means rallying to defend the indefensible. Truth? Junkee don’t need no stinkin’ truth.

Well, I’ve got an answer.  Masks are  a massive issue because wearing one for any length of time is most unpleasant. The longest I’ve managed was on a three-hour flight and I could not wait to be rid of it. The editor of this site is a confirmed casualty. He tells me he has scabs on both knees, a sore chin, a bag of spilled groceries and a pair of torn jeans as a consequence of  falling heavily when blinded by the fogged-up spectacles above his obligatory mask. I expect Ms Baxendale chose the mask as the most obvious, and most inexplicable, example of the massive overreach of this Victorian lockdown. 

I will wait, in vain I expect, for Junkee et al to call Andrews out for his egregious and rude misrepresentation of what Baxendale asked in regard to the Coate enquiry.  Ditto for an Andrews apology.

Another ‘meme’, for want of a better word, that really gets my goat is discussion of the way in which Andrews and his crew have managed his state’s so-called ‘second wave’. Victoria did not have a second wave. The fact of the matter is that Andrews & Co so comprehensively mismanaged COVID’s eruption that we are still in the drawn-out and tragic grip of the first wave. It wasn’t a second wave that killed the 800 Victorians (the state’s toll as of Oct 1) — it was the first and original wave that Premier Andrews allowed to become a tsunami.

Were Andrews’ incompetence not exceeded by his arrogance he would have resigned by now. That is what an honourable man would do — which no doubt explains why the thought has never crossed his mind.

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