Premier Daniel Andrews is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison, despite much evidence to the contrary, remains the mainstream media's golden boy, writes managing editor Michelle Pini.
IF YOUR HOUSE is on fire, would you rather an onlooker who runs away while musing that the structure mustn’t have been properly fire-proofed, or someone who helps put out the blaze?
BLAME DAN; REPEAT
For most Victorians – though, admittedly, Independent Australia has not interviewed everyone in Liberal MP and chief Dan-blamer Tim Smith’s electorate – Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has consistently displayed both true character and courage during this pandemic. He has taken responsibility. He has admitted mistakes.
Much in the same way that Trump has blamed Obama for COVID-19, however, Right-wing commentators and the mainstream media have excoriated Andrews at every move, while the conservative PM can do no wrong. The merciless criticism of Andrews has even led to the dedicated hashtag, #DansFault.
Yesterday, the Fin Review also shared a new survey that just happens to have found the Andrews Government 'the worst in the country'. (You can view our *Twitter poll on the veracity of such surveys and leave a comment here.)
PRAISE SCOTT; FORGET
Long forgotten is the “detail” that, just a few short weeks ago, the same commentators (such as Tim Smith) were calling for Dan’s head because he was the foremost proponent for lockdown measures and the last premier to ease restrictions.
Remembered no more are the contrasting “details” of the Prime Minister’s initial disregard of the pandemic, as he urged everyone to go to the footy and delayed lockdown measures until after the Hillsong conference.
Slipped from the memory banks is the Ruby Princess debacle that created the greatest source of infection in the country and for which the responsibility lies squarely with Morrison, his head bouncer Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian — all of whom managed to escape in-depth scrutiny, or even feigned outrage, from the commentariat.
Obliterated from recollection is the monumental failure of the COVIDSafe app and possibly its intended purpose, which, according to the Morrison Government and its mainstream media publicity department, was going to keep us “safe”.
Of course, “safety” was only metaphorical, since the clue was in the name but, apparently, not in the contact tracing application itself. Rather, like Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, to whom this measure was entrusted, the app was no more than a vessel carrying another empty marketing stunt dreamed up by the PM and serving no practical purpose whatsoever. To date, it has not detected one case of coronavirus, despite six million downloads.
EARLY ONSET MEDIA DEMENTIA
And finally, in a new category we will dub “Early Onset Media Dementia”, since it is happening right now but you wouldn’t know it, is the Prime Minister’s latest reaction to a second wave of the pandemic. This amounts to, See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya!
As Victoria began recording sudden alarming spikes in COVID-19 infections, the PM was nowhere to be found. Again.
After a few inquiries by someone, somewhere, it was discovered that Morrison, exhausted after having cancelled Parliament for most of this year, on top of 35 whole sitting days last year, taking three holidays in 12 months, including an overseas holiday during a national bushfire crisis, and attending every conceivable major sporting and recreational event, was taking a break to be with Jenny and the kids.
In an uncanny repetition of Morrison’s “I don’t hold the hose mate” exodus to Hawaii during the bushfire emergency, there was no official announcement and no passing of the baton to the Deputy PM on this occasion, either.
After all, Morrison is doing a good job, according to him. And so say all his disciples, who jumped to his defence. Again.
‘I think it’s OK for the PM to see his kids on the school holidays, especially if he is multitasking,’ said former News Corp, now ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas, who, incidentally, also defended his earlier Hawaiian escape.
"So basically, Daniel Andrews has ruined the first day of the Prime Minister's holiday."
Gushed The Australian:
'Scott Morrison will try to take a short break next week to join his wife and two daughters on their school holidays, but he will not be standing aside and has asked for the nation’s understanding.'
Any criticism of the PM was similarly dismissed by Nine, with this:
‘Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he remains "very connected" to national coronavirus operations despite taking a break to spend time with his family.
"Just because I'm not in front of a camera doesn't mean I'm not on task," Mr Morrison said.’
Except the former tourism official was in front of a camera. Not at home. And without said wife. Or kids. But with mates and beers. At the footy.
With Victoria heralding Australia's second wave, record unemployment, industries crippled, casuals left out to dry, penalty rate cuts imposed on the lowest paid, others facing reduced hours and pay cuts, more job losses imminent, and with looming "snap back" austerity measures, the Prime Minister (still on his full salary of more than half a million dollars) goes on a "staycation".
Many Australians are grappling just to keep a roof over their heads and are unlikely to be planning holidays for many years. But, nothing to see here, according to the media cartel.
We can only imagine what the Victorian Labor Premier would be copping if he had so much as been seen watching the footy on TV. Or if he had taken earlier Right-wing advice and eased restrictions sooner. Or if he was a woman. The publicity ramifications for Andrews taking a holiday of any kind are unfathomable, really.
As COVID-19 infections began to spike in NSW this week, Liberal Premier Gladys Berijiklian has done what conservative politicians do best and, in the spirit of claimed "bipartisanship", pointed the finger elsewhere. To Victoria. After all, everything else is Dan's fault. It will be interesting to see how the Right-wing media reports her response if NSW reflects Victoria's rate of infections.
Premier Daniel Andrews is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Perhaps this is why he chooses not to engage in petty squabbles with the likes of Tim Smith and the rabid Right-wing media.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the other hand, despite much evidence to the contrary, remains the mainstream media's golden boy. Because, "we're all in this together" — except you, Dan.
But in a crisis, such as this plague, who would you rather have in charge? The person who takes days off and goes to the beach or the footy, or the one who chooses to stay and do whatever it takes?
*Independent Australia is considering commissioning a poll to determine the veracity of surveys by mainstream organisations with an obvious agenda, such as News Corp and Nine. If you think there is merit in such a plan, you can leave a comment on our completed preliminary Twitter poll here, or after this article.
**This is only half the story! Read the rest of this editorial in the IA members-only area. It takes less than a minute to subscribe to IA and costs as little as $5 a month, or $50 a year — a small sum for superb journalism and lots of extras.
- Wren's Week: Conservatives blame Dan Andrews for second COVID-19 wave
- Wren's Week: Attacks continue as Daniel Andrews is branded a traitor
- Premier Andrews victorious in the 'Battle of the Dans'
- Wren's Week: Morrison's push to reopen schools sees Dan Andrews emerge a hero
- The Victorian election, the middle class and the Liberal Party
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