Matters of Urgency: Victoria State Election, 22 November 2022

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (16:48): The Victorian premier, Mr Daniel Andrews, doing dodgy deals with election fixer Mr Glenn Druery: that is a classic case of someone shaking hands with the devil—that’s what that is. My problem is that I can’t tell which one of these two is the devil. Is it (a) Dictator Dan, (b) election rigger Mr Glenn Druery, or, as I suspect, (c) all of the above?

Mr Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, has a record that would make the devil himself blush. He has racked up the worst debt of any state by far: $170 billion of predicted debt.

Senator Scarr: Even more than Queensland!

Senator BABET: It’s more than Queensland, Tasmania and New South Wales combined. He has crippled our state’s health system. People are dying at home waiting for an ambulance which doesn’t even show up. That’s what’s happening. He has overseen the harshest and the longest lockdowns on planet earth. He was responsible for the highest COVID death rate in the country. He had a pregnant mother arrested in her home—but what for? For a Facebook post. He arrested and pepper-sprayed senior citizens. He kept you from seeing your dying relatives and mourning the loss of your loved ones. He had the police shoot innocent people with rubber bullets. He shut the playgrounds. He kept your children out of school. You were arrested for daring to go to the beach by yourself. He divided families and tried to keep you apart for Christmas. He used the pandemic as an excuse to turn my home state, the once great state of Victoria, into a living hell. That’s what he did.

As if that were not enough, he himself is mired in scandals and scams that seem to have no end. You know what? There’s something new in the paper every single day about Premier Dan Andrews. Here’s one: ‘Absolute disgrace’—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Sterle ): There is a point of order.

Senator Ayres: I’m sure Senator Babet’s aware that there are standing orders in relation to using props in the chamber.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: There are, actually, Senator Babet. Please continue.

Senator BABET: I withdraw. He is the subject of not one, not two, not three, not four but five IBAC corruption inquiries.

Senator O’Sullivan: How many?

Senator BABET: Five. That’s how many. Let me ask Labor members this: how many times should IBAC investigate your dodgy Victorian colleague before you find the moral courage to condemn him? How many times? Are you waiting for a sixth corruption inquiry before you find your voice? Well, you might not have to wait for long, as the Liberal Party has just referred Premier Dan Andrews to IBAC once again.

Senator O’Sullivan: No. 6!

Senator BABET: Exactly. How hellish does Victoria need to become before those of us here in Canberra will finally say enough is enough?

The scandal is not only about Dictator—sorry: Premier—Daniel Andrews’s deals with dodgy Glenn Druery. The real scandal is that federal Labor protect the corrupt and tyrannical Premier Dan Andrews as one of their own. That’s the real scandal. Mr Glenn Druery, this political fixer, has boasted on camera about creating sham political parties in order to fool voters into voting for candidates and parties that will be cooperative with Premier Dan Andrews, when these voters might have reasonable belief that they are actually voting against Dan Andrews. This election fixing is permitted in the state of Victoria, and it is outrageous. It is outrageous that we allow this to happen to the benefit of Daniel Andrews. It beggars belief.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Babet, you know where we’re going to go here. On a point of order, Minister?

Senator Ayres: Senator Babet is entitled to be disrespectful and use pejorative language to suit what no doubt is going to be a terrific post on Telegram or wherever the right wing are posting these days, but he is required to use the Premier of Victoria’s proper title, and he ought to show the chamber a little bit more respect.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Senator Babet, I would ask that you refer to whoever it is by their proper title.

Senator BABET: How many reports of corruption, election fixing and incompetence need to come out of Victoria before someone in the federal Labor Party finds the courage to say something? How many times?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took time out on Monday to thank Premier Dan Andrews on Twitter. He said, ‘Dan Andrews is building a better future for all Victorians.’ The PM is surely having a lend of us. Sixty thousand Victorians fled Victoria last year, the most on record in a single year. The future that Premier Dan Andrews is building is so good that Victorians see their future elsewhere! How can the Prime Minister support Dan Andrews and keep a straight face? This is the same Prime Minister who promised to elevate the tone of politics. When Victorians go to the polls on Saturday, they should not reward Premier Dan Andrews but instead sack him.