Daniel Andrews

Daniel Andrews’ Toxic Legacy

20 October 2023

6.9 MINS

Rarely has the resignation of a political leader in Australia been met with such resounding cries of collective rejoicing, but that’s precisely what has happened in response to the news that Daniel Andrews had resigned. As a mate of mine wrote on social media, ‘Good riddance to one of the worst leaders in the history of Western Civilisation.’

But is that just hyperbole, or is there actual proof for such a damning assessment? My friend went on to make a number of salient points which I have since followed up on…

First, disposable income per person in Victoria ranks second last among Australia’s states and territories. Victoria has gone from the fastest-growing state in income to the slowest under his watch, and for a while, the state has not been keeping up with inflation. Victoria has also gone backwards under many standard of living measures. As the economics editor, John Kehoe, wrote in The Financial Review:

The living standards of Victorians under Labor Premier Daniel Andrews have gone backwards compared with other states, after household disposable income per person fell to the second-lowest in the country.

The lagging household disposable incomes in Victoria marks a decade of financial decline in the nation’s second-largest state, which is battling the highest state government debt and most empty city offices in the nation.

In short, according to The Institute of Public Affairs, Victoria’s state finances are the worst in the entire nation, with every Victorian set to owe $30,000 and interest costs to rise five-fold.

Second, debt in Victoria is expected to reach more than 200 per cent of yearly revenue this year, and will be serviced at close to five times the interest rate that was promised when the money was borrowed. Not only did Victoria lose its AAA credit rating while Andrews was in office, but debt increased by almost $2,500 per Victorian, per year, since taking over and at a rate which will continue to rise unabated unless his grand schemes are cancelled. As reported in The Age back in June:

Victoria’s net debt will double over the next decade if the Andrews government does not start to significantly pay off its borrowings, the independent Parliamentary Budget Office has found.

Economists say the debt burden could rise even further if the government sticks to its current policy of stabilising the state’s debt ratio, especially if Victoria is hit with an economic downturn or infrastructure blowouts, forcing the government to further cut services or raise taxes.

The projections, contained in new analysis by the state’s independent budget watchdog, predict net debt will climb from $116 billion – which it is expected to hit this month – to $234 billion in 2032-33 if the debt ratio remains stable.

However, since then, things have only gotten worse. As this chart on Interstate Debt Comparisons by Adept Economics shows, net debt will rise by $10,000 over four years. The report also highlights that ‘Victoria will face a period with the largest non-financial public sector net debt per capita in Australia with $18,200 in FY2022 rising to $28,200 by FY2026, compared with $17,800 in NSW in FY2026.’

Third, almost all of Daniel Andrews’ infrastructure projects have blown out for time, cost, and will not meet the advertised levels of usage to justify their builds. And let us not forget the fiasco of reneging on hosting the upcoming Commonwealth Games while remaining coy as to what the financial cost of breaking the contract would be. As Judith Sloan wrote recently in The Australian:

When Andrews became premier some nine years ago, government net debt in Victoria was a tad over $23 billion. As he leaves office, it is $135bn. It has gone from 6 per cent of Gross State Product to 23 per cent of GSP. It is now close to twice government revenues.

And just in case you think that this fiscal blowout was all caused by Covid, think again. The rapid increase in debt caused by excessive growth in employee expenses and unsustainable spending on overpriced and much delayed infrastructure predates the outbreak of the pandemic.

But it gets worse: on the government’s optimistic forecasts, net debt is expected to climb to $171bn by 2026-27. There are however reliable estimates to suggest that the actual figure will be higher again – to above $200bn. 

The overspend on infrastructure projects – and not counting the totally unjustified and foolish Suburban Rail Loop – relative to the initial estimates is at least $30bn. Andrews’s deep connection to the union movement is key to explaining the explosion in infrastructure spending, as well as other government decisions.

Fourth, then you have Covid, where the fascist tendencies of the Labor government led to some of the harshest lockdowns in the world, culminating in a mental health epidemic that required him to pass a mental health tax to fund extra services. What’s more, as reported in The Daily Mail:

Victoria is an economic basket case compared to the rest of Australia as a result of Melbourne being the world’s most locked down city in a state without a resources boom.

As other Labor governments announce surplus Budgets, the state run by left-wing strongman Premier Daniel Andrews is targeting the rich, by hiking taxes on businesses, property owners and private schools in a bid to pay off – over 10 years – the $31.5billion in Covid debt it racked up during the pandemic.

Despite all of these draconian health measures, Victoria has still to this day, the highest case rate, death rate among cases, and hospitalisation rate from COVID-19 out of any state in Australia. By the way, the death and hospitalisation rates were both at their highest during the lockdowns. A lot of pain for arguably zero benefit.

Fifth, Andrews leaves behind the worst hospital wait times in the country, and the biggest decrease over a decade ever seen by any state in the country to not have voted out its premier. For example, Nine News revealed early this year that:

Thousands of Victorians are being left with pain and uncertainty as they wait for surgery well beyond the time period that is medically advised.

Patients whose surgery was deemed semi-urgent – meaning it was recommended to happen within 90 days – had waited an average of 307 days by December, according to Victorian government data.

Meanwhile , patients who were recommended to have surgery within 356 days had been waiting 648 days for their procedures.

Sixth, the Andrews government has introduced or raised over 50 taxes since 2014. This means that, as reported by the Herald Sun in April this year:

… Victoria is paying more per person in tax than any other state in Australia, with the Andrews government and councils pocketing an extra $7.3bn in land tax, stamp duty, rates, and other charges last financial year alone. 

And there are fears of more hikes next month, with the government under intense pressure to bring down its huge debts in an expected horror budget.

In 2021-22, Victorians paid an average of $5,638 to both levels of government, compared to $5,537 in NSW, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed. 

The total amount of money collected by the Victorian and local governments was $36.9bn, up from $29.6bn the year before – a staggering 24.6 per cent increase.

Seventh, less than 50 per cent of school students reached recommended minimum attendance targets in 2022 – the worst performance of any state in the nation’s history – with Andrews blaming the result primarily on the high Covid rates that lockdowns failed to stop and the high mental illness rates that lockdowns directly caused. In short, due to the highest administrative demand of any state education department, Victorian educational results have gone backwards faster and further than any other state or territory under his watch.

Eighth, electricity has gone from the second cheapest state or territory to the second most expensive, yet Victoria was the only state to not meet reliability standards on any financial year in the last five years. What’s more, according to the ABC, the increases in cost of living and power prices are driving Victorians into food relief programs.

Ninth, you have the gay conversion laws. We are yet to feel the full weight of this Orwellian program, which champions ‘love’ but really delivers ‘intolerance’. As this video makes plain, we are about to enter into a period when anyone not willing to affirm sexual diversity could be prosecuted. Even writing a sentence as I just did could be legally actionable.

Finally, tenth is the precarious predicament Andrews has left the Victorian people in regarding energy and the use of natural resources. There is much that could be said here, but there’s probably none who had summarised the situation better than Judith Sloan, who wrote in The Australian:

There is no mining to speak of in Victoria (there is wads of gas that could be exploited but Andrews ruled that out), the manufacturing sector is shrinking, there is some agriculture and lots of education, of variable quality. It’s a people-based economy. 

In the meantime, Andrews has pursued a relentless emissions-reduction policy but has failed to comprehend the risks. Energy prices have risen sharply and there is now growing resistance to any further renewable energy projects, including offshore wind, as well as new transmission lines. The future of the electricity system is very precarious, particularly given the delay and scaling back of the Marinus Link with Tasmania.

There is surely an irony in the fact that the Andrews’s Labor government is currently propping up two brown-coal fired plants (Yallourn and Loy Yang A) at unknown cost – commercial in confidence, you must understand – while banning the reticulation of gas to new homes. It must be the vibe, the look – politics has always been Andrews’s forte rather than sound policy.

There is a truism that politics is, in reality, downstream from culture. And that’s what can be clearly seen in Victoria. For sadly, Daniel Andrews was only giving the people what they wanted by following the policies of Woke politics. But even more seriously, it’s not like there is any other viable alternative. At least, not from within the current Liberal Party in Victoria – which is really just Labor lite.

You may not think Daniel Andrews is one of the worst leaders ever in Western civilisation, but it is clear he is leaving behind a state that is worse in almost every measurable way. This means that not only will Victorians be ‘enjoying’ lower standards of living for generations than they would have had Andrews never won office, but his successor has inherited one almighty hospital pass.

Judith Sloan makes the observation that the new Premier of Victoria is inheriting a ‘truckload of problems’. And what’s more, Sloan concludes by saying, ‘If the role falls to Jacinta Allan, it will be yet another case of the glass cliff – a woman being lumbered with a very large bundle of intractable challenges and being “thankful” for the opportunity.’


Originally published at The Spectator Australia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 20 October 2023 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Why did people put up with this for so long ? Why do they let bad leaders leave with a “Golden Hand Shake ” ? I think both a Leader who is so negligent or corrupt should be prosecuted and jailed while still in Ofice and have a sale of all their assets to pay the Taxpayers compensation and have their passports confiscated so they can’t escape.

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