SPECTATOR AUSTRALIA 13 February 2016
It is said that Daniel Andrews idolises Paul Keating. The Premier of Victoria is no Paul Keating, he is more in the vein of Cain and Kirner. Chaos and dysfunction are being inflicted upon Victorians suffering under the most ideologically left wing government in the country. The Andrews Labor government are economic vandals, misfits and cultural relativists. Governing a quarter of Australia’s economy and people, they’re pushing the once great state of Victoria into the abyss. No sane government in the Western world would spend $1.1 billion of taxpayer’s money to tear up a legally binding contract to not build a vital new road. However, this is what the Andrews government has done in cancelling the East West Link. So Victoria joins the likes of Venezuela and Kazakhstan where governments can and do tear up contracts on a political whim. Even in Libya after the fall of Qaddafi, Libya’s National Transitional Council stated: ‘All lawful contracts will be honoured’.
Andrews is from the socialist left faction, who gave us the Cain-Kirner government, and almost bankrupted Victoria in the early 1990s. Extreme ideologues, they are more in the tradition of Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn than of recent former Victorian Labor Premiers Steve Bracks and John Brumby, who were both from the right. Andrews’ leadership is underpinned by his factional relationship with the militant CFMEU, who maintain his numbers both in the caucus and at state conference. They are also a large donor to the ALP. Andrews has repeatedly refused to distance himself from the CFMEU, despite its leaders being charged with blackmail over a $12 million secondary boycott of cement giant Boral. Yet despite the CFMEU’s embarrassing influence over the government, Andrews does not have the ticker to expel these misfits from his Party.
Speaking of misfits, Cesar Melhem the former secretary of the AWU, and now Labor upper house MP has recently been referred to prosecutors after scathing findings by the Trade Union Royal Commission against him of possible criminal conduct. According to the Royal Commission’s final report, Melhem ‘has been responsible for numerous actions favouring the interests of the union over the members, which may be breaches of legal duty’. Yet the government is digging in to defend Melhem. Andrews will not do the decent thing, like former PM Julia Gillard did with Craig Thompson, and send Melhem to the cross bench. Along with its union baggage, the government has been beset by internal unrest that saw it lose Minister Adem Somyurek within its first 6 months over an alleged bullying complaint by his former chief of staff. Somyurek and his supporters allege he was the victim of a ‘factional hit’ by Andrews’ loyal lieutenants Deputy Premier James Merlino, and Chief of Staff John McLindon. In Somyurek’s resignation speech he accused Merlino of being ‘discredited and conflict-ridden’.
Ridiculous political correctness and an all pervasive cultural relativism are alive and well in the Andrews government. A directive was issued from the Minister for Education banning ‘music of praise’ in state schools from January this year, which is ‘any type of music that glorifies God or a particular religious figure or deity’. So ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ will be banned but ‘Jingle Bells’ still allowed. Carols are an important tradition that has coexisted with ease within our secular state school system for generations. Quite why the post-modernist killjoys in the Department have been allowed to get away with this confounds many observers.
However, the government has form when it comes to ideologically motivated decisions regarding music in state schools. Extraordinarily, Labor did not assert unequivocally that all children, no matter what their cultural background, are to sing the national anthem. This issue arose after a suburban primary school allowed Muslim students to leave the assembly hall during the singing of the national anthem. The students were observing Muharram, a period of mourning, where they avoid ‘joyous events’. The Minister for Multicultural Affairs said the school had shown ‘respect and sensitivity’ and that ‘schools often cater to the beliefs of religious and non-religious students as part of normal practice’. Mainstream Victorians found the government’s response entirely inappropriate. If Andrews’ first year is anything to go by Victorians need to buckle up and brace for another bumpy few years as this chaotic mess of an administration continues to erode the proud state of Victoria that was once ‘on the move.’