A week or so ago, we discussed the union bashing disguised as concern for ‘essential workers’ from LNP MPs Andrew Laming and Peter Dutton. Unfortunately, the pitiful behaviours exhibited by these two LNP politicians is not reserved to the outer suburbs of Brisbane.
It is on the record that the Premiers of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria convinced the ‘national cabinet’ to impose tougher social restrictions on the Australian community earlier than others wanted. This followed the experts’ advice that social distancing was the correct method to ensure that our health care system was not overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. In comparison to a lot of other ‘first world’ countries, the strategy was successful, leading to us now experiencing a gradual relaxation of pandemic restrictions.
On 8 May 2020, Prime Minister Morrison released what he called ‘the roadmap’ to a reduction in social restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Morrison said in the announcement that
Australian governments are taking a measured approach. Our three-step plan provides a pathway for jurisdictions to move towards COVID safe communities in a way that best suits their individual circumstances. States and territories are able to move between the steps on the pathway at different times, in line with their current public health situation and local conditions. [Emphasis added]
When Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan let loose on the ABC’s Insiders on May 3, Queensland schools were open only as a last resort for children of ‘essential workers who couldn’t make other arrangements’ and New South Wales and Victorian schools were closed. However Tehan certainly didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story
Tehan: So, he said that when those seven national priorities were put out, and they had two very important conditions to them. Now, the question to Dan Andrews, is, sure, take a sledgehammer to defeating the coronavirus. But, why are you taking a sledgehammer, also, to your school system? When Mark McGowan in Western Australia, when Michael Gunner in the Northern Territory, when Steven Marshall in South Australia, have taken a sledgehammer to the coronavirus, but haven’t to their education system.
Speers: But he is receiving this advice from his chief health officer, that I just quoted. Should he ignore that?
Tehan:` That same chief health officer is on the national medical expert panel, and that national medical expert panel says that it’s safe for children to be at school, and it’s safe for teachers to be at school, with the right protocols. So, why don’t we …
The differentiation wouldn’t have anything to do with the New South Wales Premier being a member of the Liberal Party and the Queensland Premier, while a member of the ALP, doesn’t have a large popularity buffer over the LNP contender would it? Before you answer, consider this News.com.au report on a statement by Victorian federal Liberal Party backbencher Tim Wilson
As other states and territories took their first tentative steps into life after the pandemic, Victoria held firm.
The cautious approach has won the Andrews Government more support, but predictably it has also attracted detractors.
Among them is Victorian federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson.
And Wilson is quoted in the same article as saying
“The burden and the responsibility then has to be on Dan Andrews, when other states are allowing people to go and visit their mums on Mother’s Day, why can’t we go and visit in Victoria our mums on Mother’s Day?
“Why can’t we send our kids to school? Why are businesses being unnecessarily punished longer than in other states? And he has to come out and articulate that case and take responsibility for it.
Victorian Premier Andrews is not doing much different to New South Wales Premier Berejiklian or Queensland Premier Palaszczuk — primarily because their states have the majority of COVID-19 cases. And for the record, Victoria was still managing clusters of infection in mid-May, unlike the other states so logically Andrews is being cautious. There is nothing wrong with caution; the Prime Minister — a member of the same political party as Tim Wilson — flagged that different states would take action at different times.
Of course it’s political point scoring. And they don’t just do it to ‘the other mob’, they ‘eat’ their own as well! Recently the ALP MP representing Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly, retired for health reasons. Before Kelly actually resigned, the media was suggesting that NSW Deputy Premier (and State National Party Leader) John Barilaro would be the conservative candidate for the potential by-election. By 4 May, the story had changed
Mr Barilaro said he had not seen Liberal Party polling, but claimed Nationals research showed he could win the byelection, but he was not prepared to trigger a showdown for the seat against [NSW Transport Minister and Liberal Party member] Mr [Andrew] Constance.
“Andrew and I were never ever going to race or compete against each other. That is something we both honoured,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The polling clearly will show Andrew can win the seat and it clearly shows I can win the seat, but at the end of the day it’s not about winning the seat it’s about what’s right for the people of Eden-Monaro.”
And later on in the same report
“If anyone wants to try and put a wedge through Andrew and I good luck to them, but I know the friendship I have with Andrew.”
Constance did actually announce he would be a candidate for all of about half a day before announcing on a local radio station that he wasn’t going to do it (that’s another story altogether). While Barilaro might get on with Constance, there were clearly other factors in play for Barilaro’s withdrawal.
Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell has obtained an explosive text exchange between the two men in which Mr Barilaro says [Nationals Federal Leader and Deputy Prime Minister] McCormack was “threatened” by his plans to run. “Don’t hide behind the “members will choose the candidate’ rubbish, as you were the only one saying such lines,”
Mr Barilaro wrote in the leaked messages. “Don’t you think my branches would have backed me in? “To feel threatened by me clearly shows you have failed your team and failed as a leader. “You will never be acknowledged by me as our leader. You aren’t. You never will be. “The Nats had a chance to create history, to change momentum, and you had a candidate that was prepared to risk everything to make it happen. “What did you risk? Nothing. “Hope you are proud of yourself.”
You also have to feel sorry for whoever the Coalition does put up as a candidate in Eden-Monaro. Apart from the head start the ALP has on the campaign, why would you vote for a third or subsequent choice candidate representing a party that has a heated public slanging match (the obscene text messages within National Party ranks have deliberately not been linked in this article) over who should be the candidate?
Give us a break — we don’t need the points scoring or the second guessing. What we do need is a demonstration by politicians that they can work together to create benefit for all; without picking over the spoils of victory before the battle has even started and far less ideology for the sake of it.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword
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