A Peta Credlin investigation explores the motivations behind the Victorian Premier’s rise to power and his leadership of the state

Peta Credlin investigates.
Video 54 mins Sky News

Peta Credlin’s documentary, The Cult of Daniel Andrews, is a must-watch and does an excellent job in three respects.

First, it recounts some of the various scandals which have plagued the troublesome tenure of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Second, it offers a succinct overview of the myriad of serious challenges Victoria faces after eight years of his government. Third (and finally), the documentary implicitly provides a foreboding vision of the terrifying prospect of another four years of Andrews government.

Where is the accountability?

Where is the ABC in all of this?

Allow me to provide a concise recap of some of the important points and quotes articulated by a few of The Cult’s guests.

Michael Danby, Federal Labor Minister from 1998-2019

Danby’s appearance in the documentary provided the perspective of a long-time Labor member who is disenfranchised by Andrews’ authoritarian style of leadership. His section was powerful because Labor is notorious for being a party that does not tolerate dissent within its ranks; this is a party that will most likely expel you from its ranks if you dare to cross the floor of Parliament.

Danby called out his own state party’s leader, disparaging the ‘personal fiefdom’ of the Andrews government.

Andrews has become more powerful than the Victorian Labor Party itself, a party that the late ‘Bob Hawke would not recognise’ compared to the Federal ALP he led in his tenure as Prime Minister.

Indeed, Danby admitted the ‘anti-worker Woke ideology’ which pervades the Victorian ALP has rendered the ‘worker party’ unrecognisable to its past roots.

These are powerful words from a long-standing Labor man.

Most apt was his observation that ‘this is the first time ever in Australian history that at a federal and state level that the Labor Party is led by the socialist-left faction’.

The mainstream media do not stress this nearly enough.

Accountability starts with calling a spade a spade. Further to this point, this is the first time in Victorian politics that we have a Premier and a Deputy Premier who are both from the socialist-left faction. The unspoken tradition of Labor has been to have a Premier and their deputy from rival factions, in order to balance out power. Alas, no more.

Kel Glare, Victorian Police Commissioner from 1987-1992

It was remarkable to hear from Victoria’s former highest ranked Police Officer, the widely respected Kel Glare. Glare provided a candid assessment of the Andrews government, declaring that in his 84 years, he had ‘never seen a government as corrupt’ and that ‘there is a whole host of matters where they are seriously wanting in ethical matters’.

Glare spoke for voiceless Victorians when he asserted that ‘we are entitled to have governments that are ethical, accountable and competent. I don’t believe we have any of those things at the moment’. This is a damning evaluation from a man of integrity.

Ian Cook – Independent candidate for Mulgrave (the seat occupied by Daniel Andrews), founder of ICook Foods

Cook was a victim of the alleged and infamous ‘Slug gate’scandal which destroyed his $25m family business that had been operating for over thirty years. Watch the documentary on this disgraceful injustice here.

I admire the spirit and courage of Ian Cook, an honest, hardworking entrepreneurial Australian. He is running against the career politician, Andrews, in a David versus Goliath battle. For Cook, this is not about left or right, in his words: ‘It’s about right and wrong, and corruption is always wrong.’ Like Danby, Cook also asserts Daniel Andrews does not represent true ‘Labor values’.

Cook’s campaign is made all the more difficult given that due to Victoria’s election donation laws, imposed by Andrews – who he claims has ‘all the institutions in his hands’ – members can only receive donations of up to $4,000 from an individual. The union movement is exempt, protecting the ALP. Cook’s campaign has relied on generous donors from around Australia that want to see him give Andrews a run for his money.

Georgie Crozier, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Opposition (Legislative Council), Shadow Minister for Health

Crozier has been a fierce critic of the broken and incompetently managed Victorian health and ambulance system. ‘Far too many people have died’ due to unanswered triple 0 calls and ambulance response times are far worse than they were before Andrews was Premier.

In her opinion, Andrews operates only to retain power for himself, not for the wellbeing of Victorians and the betterment of the state, saying, ‘This is about politics, it’s not about what is right for the community and what needs to be done.’ Perhaps most damning of all, it is alleged that Andrews treats women appallingly behind closed doors, ‘I don’t think he has a regard for women.’

Though some individuals in the media have done all that they can to hold Andrews to account – Peta Credlin being one of them – the majority of efforts have seemed to come almost entirely outside the mainstream media. The ABC has been the greatest disappointment. They have a duty to keep both sides of government honest. Where the heck have they been?

Where are the Four Corners investigations into the alleged red shirts rorts? Why do they not question that Andrews has 90 staff, dwarfing the Prime Minister’s 50? Why did they not push harder into investigating the Hotel Quarantine disaster, one of Australia’s greatest public policy failures resulting in 800-odd deaths?

A robust ABC would have torn Andrews to shreds by now, based upon his record. There have been some notable exceptions, Leigh Sales made at least some effort. But by and large, it seems Andrews has had a free ride from the public broadcaster.

If Andrews was a Liberal politician, would he have received harsher (but fairer) treatment? Speculative, but probable. His lighter treatment may stem from the reality that, ideologically, Andrews is very often aligned with the opinions of the many socialist left-leaning lobbyist-style journalists.

This is not advocating for unfair treatment of any politician – or any figure for that matter. But the reality is the ABC has been conspicuously quiet, or at best light in their treatment of Andrews.

An ABC which does not remain impartial and committed toward keeping both sides of politics honest will only lead to greater polarisation in the community.

The loser in all of this is the people of Victoria. Victorians deserve better. As Neil Mitchell said, no matter who is elected next weekend, Victoria is facing massive financial woes. Let’s not forget who created them.