Former NSW Premier Mike Baird has called on Dan Andrews’ critics to show their support for the embattled leader and save judgement until the COVID-19 threat has passed.
Mr Baird penned an impassioned plea over Facebook on Sunday calling on Australians to go easy on the Victorian Premier as he guides the state through a horror second wave of coronavirus.
The retired politician, who formed a friendship with Mr Andrews through his time in parliament, vouched for the Premier’s love of Victoria and desire to always act in its best interest.
He said Mr Andrews viewed his job as a ‘privilege’ and reminded people that ‘every leader’ is human and makes mistakes as they confront high-stake situations in their roles.
Former NSW Premier Mike Baird (pictured with his wife Kerryn at Roayl Randwick Racecourse in April 2015) has called on Australians to rally behind Premier Dan Andrews as he guides Victoria through its horror second wave of COVID-19
‘The political badge you wear should mean very little during this moment,’ Mr Baird wrote.
‘We are living through history, and there is no playbook they give you when you become PM, Premier or Minister on how to respond.’
‘Leaders are making dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of big decisions every day. And not all of them will be correct in hindsight.
‘Every leader around the world is learning on the run, and the stakes are impossibly high. ‘
Mr Baird emphasised the unprecedented and difficult circumstances Victoria is facing, where the country’s death count continues to climb.
He urged commentators to reserve criticism until after the state’s fight against the pandemic has ended, when errors can be reflected on those accountable be held responsible.
‘What is happening in Victoria is incredibly challenging and indeed tragic,’ the post continued.
‘I don’t know all the details of what has transpired but it is terrible and I think most people across the country are just waiting for some good news to emerge.’
‘It is not the time to second-guess or finger point. Yes we need to be agile and learn on the run, but a pile on helps no-one.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) has come under fire for failures in the hotel quarantine program which have been linked to the secondary outbreak as well as the subsequent tough measures implemented to battle the virus
‘When the dust settles, there will be time for reflection. And when mistakes are made, there will be accountability.’
‘But in the fog of this battle, I believe we should choose to stand in support of our leaders and offer our admiration, and our thanks.’
‘Let’s give them strength, not grief, as they try to make decisions for all of us.’
‘Let’s support him[Mr Andrews] as he tries to do the impossible.’
Mr Baird’s extended his praise to Gladys Berejiklian and Scott Morrison, who he said are also ‘working tirelessly’ to keep Australians safe.
Dan Andrews has come under fire for the botched hotel quarantine program which has been linked to the secondary outbreak smashing Victoria, as well as the subsequent strict measures implemented to battle the virus.
Private security companies, rather than the ADF or police as used in NSW, were contracted to guard return travellers serving mandatory 14 day quarantine in Melbourne hotels.
Mr Baird wrote that every leader makes mistakes during their high-stakes position but judgement should be reserved until after the state’s COVID-19 threat is defeated
A series of failures in the scheme have since emerged, including guards breaching social distancing, failing to enforce the rules, and accusations of some having sex with travellers- all which then allowed the virus to seep into the community.
In response to soaring case numbers, the Andrews government have rolled out strict stage four restrictions across the city and stage three restrictions throughout the rest of the state.
With the six week shutdown tipped to cost the economy up to $10 billion, there have been increasing calls for Mr Andrews to step down.
To lift Mr Andrews spirits, Mr Baird ended his post with sharing a Ted Roosevelt quote which he said ‘all leaders probably need right now’.
‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better,’ he wrote.
‘The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood… who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
Melbournians wearing masks walk across a crossing in the eerily quiet CBD on Friday as Stage four restrictions zap life across the city
Many flocked to the comments to praise Mr Baird’s words and rally their support behind the Premier.
‘Time to set aside politics across Australia and concentrate on defeating the virus. Every State Premier and The Prime Minister are doing their best under the most challenging circumstances in 75 years,’ one person wrote.
Another added: ‘Thank you, Mike! It’s about time the nation’s leaders in every walk of life stood up and led their communities. This is a mammoth effort!’
‘They’re baying for his blood this morning. If the poor man resigns then what then Victoria? I’m amazed he gets up there and perseveres each day. It’s a hellish time to be a state premier,’ a third comment read.
‘Ridiculous. We should not go out 8-5. Nothing right. Hotel quarantine failed. Masks on the beach and in the park. Hundreds thousands of our mates lost jobs. Are you serious?’ one woman said.
‘He puts our state in misery and allow grid addicts walk after 8. Wake up!’
‘This is their job that they are paid to do. If I continuously kept making mistakes in my role, my boss would pull me in and would want answers,’ another wrote.
‘We are talking about peoples lives here, their livelihood, their businesses, their bread and butter. Dan Andrews is getting paid far too much to be making “mistakes” that are causing Victoria to collapse.’
Police check details of residents in the Melbourne central business district on Sunday
It comes as Victoria recorded 17 new deaths- the deadliest day so far in the pandemic- and 394 new cases on Sunday.
Regulations have clamped tighter over the past few weeks as case numbers continued to soar despite government measures already in place.
Dozens of Melburnians were pictured breaching social distancing measures as they flocked to St Kilda beach hours before the city’s tough 8pm-5am curfew came into place last Sunday.
Under the latest lockdown, 197 people have already been fined for breaching the chief health officers directions.
Victoria Police did 3554 spot checks on homes, businesses and public places in the 24 hours to Saturday morning.
Sixty-two were fined $1,652 for breaching Melbourne’s 8pm-5am curfew, while a further 36 were penalised $200 for failing to wear a face mask.
Police issued a fine to a man breaking lockdown laws in Melbourne on August 9