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Envious – The short-lived Battle of the Dans

May 10, 2020 - 16:04 -- Editor

The Morrison government attempt to crap on Daniel Andrews but only end up crapping in their own nest.

So not only is Australia a participant in the battle against Covid 19, we are apparently bearing witness to the “Battle of the Dans”, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan vs Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.

This far from epic battle saw the Premier come out victorious before he even had an opportunity to show up and join the fight.

The thing about most battles is there are usually at least two participants. However, this battle was different, while Daniel Andrews was busy doing his job running Victoria, Dan Tehan decided it was his job to wage war on the Victorian Premier over his decision to follow the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and leave public schools closed except for students in special circumstances.

Dan Tehan was interviewed on the ABC’s Insiders last Sunday morning and came out swinging. Slamming Daniel Andrews for his apparent “failure of leadership” in treating Victorian schools the same way Tehan’s superiors are treating federal parliament, skeleton staff and only open for emergency.

Daniel Andrews was of course following the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health officer and was proven to be correct almost immediately. Right after Tehan’s interview in which he questioned why Victoria’s schools remained shut to most students, it was announced that another school in Victoria was being forced to close due to Covid-19. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos holding a media conference explaining the school closure and to respond to any queries.

Dan Tehan within hours was withdrawing his comments in a lengthy media release that could have just as easily said: “Sorry for my idiotic and irresponsible behaviour this morning”.


Dan Tehan and Dan Andrews  Image – AAP

This “Battle of the Dan’s” that was over before it began is interesting for two reasons that I haven’t seen explored by the mainstream media.

The reason that Tehan came out determined to dump crap all over Andrews and only ended up crapping in his own nest is that the Morrison government appear to view Daniel Andrews as not just the Victorian Premier, but also the Federal Opposition Leader.

Ever since the bushfire crisis which saw Daniel Andrews take charge while Scott Morrison took off for Hawaii, Morrison has been fixated on Daniel Andrews and his reputation for getting things done.

Covid-19 has provided Morrison with an opportunity to make up for his many failings during the bushfire crisis, an opportunity he is relishing. So far he’s done fairly well for himself, after a pretty awful start with confusing press conferences, he finds himself in a position now where the public seem under the illusion that he’s doing a good job with this crisis.

The public has seemingly forgotten the failure to provide personal protective equipment for our emergency services, a failure that sent many a doctor and nurse to Bunnings for the safety equipment Health Minister Greg Hunt couldn’t supply. Also on the backburner is the red carpet hand-woven by Peter Dutton that was rolled out to the virus when the Ruby Princess docked in a decision that costs more lives on an almost daily basis. The government has even convinced some to download a spyware app on their phones, and while saying that it is safe and nobody can access the data the Victorian Liberal Party appear to be confirming the opposite by indicating they think the Deputy Health Officers will have access to personal details of those who have downloaded the Covid spyware.

Perhaps Morrison’s biggest success has been his silencing of Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Albo is still there but were it not for social media this is a fact that could be easily missed. To the majority of the public, Albo may as well be the Invisible Man. This is something Morrison is milking for all its worth.

There is however, a fly in Morrison’s ointment, and his name is Daniel Andrews.

Andrews seems incapable of putting a foot wrong no matter how much pressure he is under. His messaging is always crystal clear and he sticks to that message. If Dan Andrews says he will do something, you can chalk it up as being as good as done.

The strengths of Andrews highlight the weaknesses of Morrison and this is why the Federal Coalition are treating Daniel Andrews as if he’s the Opposition Leader. Morrison though is smart enough to know he can’t attack Andrews himself however, so he sends out his minions to do the job. Last week that minion was Dan Tehan.

The other thing the Tehan incident highlighted is quite alarming.

The Morrison government’s criticism of the Andrews government has been based on their insistence that Daniel Andrews isn’t listening to the experts, that being advice from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. Instead he is relying on advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

Last Sunday we saw who is receiving the most up to date information.

The federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan and the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt both represent Victorian electorates. Yet the information regarding Covid 19 forcing the closure of a Victorian school was something of which they, their advisors, and their government were blissfully unaware. As a federal Minister was berating a Premier on TV for not acting in the public interest, that Premier’s team were organising a media conference to pass on vital information in the public’s interest. Information of which the federal government was completely oblivious.

Perhaps Morrison’s team had their priorities set to slamming tweets about Captain Crook? Or maybe Chief Medical Officer Murphy was in search of more rumours about Tasmanian emergency services workers having illegal dinner parties to spread?

Whatever it was it made Morrison’s team look like a team on crack rather than a crack team. Once again the first-grade team in Victoria were getting on with the job while the team on crack sent another reserve off the bench to try and take pot-shots at the first-grade team’s captain.

Someone wiser than I once wrote;

“It is never wise to seek or wish for another’s misfortune. If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang.”

Last Sunday Dan Tehan learnt that lesson.

We’ll wait and see how many more of Morrison’s ‘Minion’ Minister’s come out trying to throw Morrison’s boomerang of envy at Daniel Andrews.

You’d think they have more important things to attend to…


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