So now we look forward to another four years of Labor government. Covid was hugely divisive – Dan Andrews attracting a lot of support for what many saw as his decisive if unpopular leadership in an effort to keep us safe whilst the opposition and the usual media suspects were doing their best to undermine him and the measures he implemented. His strategy has been vindicated. As a regular correspondent put it in a letter to The Age:
Daniel Andrews won because he builds things you can see: roads, railways, hospitals. When COVID-19 arrived he ignored the complaining and did that “making the hard decisions” thing people talk about. He got on my nerves but he got on with the job. PJ Bear, Mitcham
On the other side – from the Herald Sun and Sky News journos – there was lots of noise. But arguably all they were doing was talking to the converted whilst repelling those they should have been converting to their cause. When yet another letter gets printed in the HS saying “I don’t know anyone who would vote for Dan Andrews“, all the writer is doing is displaying the limited circles in which they move.
As the Age observes, “Victory secured, now the hard part“. We are currently facing major issues arising from Covid, the Ukraine war, a possible slump in the housing market and/or recession. The only certainty is that in four years’ time things will be very different. Although Dan Andrews says that he will serve a full term (which would be unwise IMO: too many politicians fall into the trap of failing to quit whilst they’re ahead) I suspect that he will step down once the metro tunnel opens in 2025, rightly seeing this as his legacy and the culmination of his government’s massive investment in infrastructure.
Should Dan stand down, his likely replacement, Jacinta Allen, would then be up against the Libs newly-elected leader, John Pesutto who, unlike his predecessor, comes across well in the media. In the meantime Labor needs to note the large swings against them in some areas and address well-founded concerns re poor governance. During the election it was reported that the Labor administration employs 250+ special advisors, political appointments. What’s happened to the independent civil servants who gave unbiased advice to ministers, then implementing the agreed policy? If our ministers are open to frank and fearless advice from public servants who have long experience of their subject area we might get better decisions.