4 Corners demolishes Andrews Government

The extent of Victoria’s catastrophic hotel quarantine scheme has been revealed, after it was confirmed returned travellers accounted for more than 99% of the state’s COVID-19 cases.

The inquiry into the bungled hotel quarantine program in Melbourne heard evidence from the Doherty Institute’s Ben Howden, who explained that its genomic sequencing data showed “these transmission networks could be collapsed into a single cluster for reporting purposes … All these transmission networks, the original cluster is the initial importation. All subsequent clusters within these networks are derived from that original cluster”.

The inquiry also heard security guards did not receive adequate training and there was no proper chain of command in place.

Meanwhile, Four Corners last night aired its damning investigation into the Victorian Government’s hotel quarantine program:

This report confirmed that NSW chose the police to run its hotel quarantine program, whereas Victoria chose private security firms:

STEPHANIE MARCH: In this war against the virus, the Federal Government offered the help of the defence force but it was up to each state and territory to decide who would run their hotel quarantine program. The NSW government put the police in charge.

COMMISSIONER MICK FULLER, NSW POLICE: We’re not getting the sort of compliance that I feel we need and that’s why its important tonight we really switch over to a much more controlled police style operation and again I acknowledge some people won’t be happy with that but I truly believe this will bring an end to this much, much quicker than just relying on individuals.

STEPHANIE MARCH: In Victoria, several government departments were responsible for the hotel quarantine program but its not clear who was in charge. Private security companies were hired to guard the hotels.

TIM KENNEDY, UNITED WORKERS UNION NATIONAL SECRETARY: My personal view of why it was contracted out, is because it was cheaper. They engaged these big national companies to provide private security and they allowed these big national companies then to subcontract out. Because you have got to remember, the entire cost of security is people. Workers who actually have to physically stand there and make certain that the, that the facility is secure. And so any way that these big companies can maximize their profit they will…

PROF. EMMANUEL JOSSERAND, UTS CENTRE FOR BUSINESS AND SOCIAL INNOVATION DIRECTOR: What’s actually quite disconcerting, is that the Department of Justice of Victoria had launched a review of the security industry, and they started to really look into it quite thoroughly. What’s really terrible is that the signs were there, and that should have been addressed not only by the Andrew Government, but all the states’ government and the federal government probably before that.

STEPHANIE MARCH (to Prof Josserand) : So the red flags were there?

EMMANUEL JOSSERAND: Yes, the red flag were definitely there, and there were ongoing inquiries about it.

Australian Medical Association president, Julian Rait, was especially scathing of the Victorian Government’s mismanagement:

JULIAN RAIT, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (VICTORIA): Well I was hearing from frontline emergency staff that they had concerns about the arrangements for transport of positive patients from the quarantine hotels who were getting medical checks at the emergency rooms. And so the concern they had was about the transfer arrangements. Often they could be transferred in the appropriate ambulance but would need to find their own way back to the hos- to the hotels themselves. And that would obviously either involve either, uh, a taxi, an Uber, or even, uh, prevailing upon family members…

We had a whole host of concerns around how the hotel quarantine system was being managed in terms of resourcing and also in terms of the protocols being used, of which infection control was one of the issues we raised. And, uh, we were obviously disappointed that, uh, those suggestions, uh, given in good faith, were not subsequently followed…

Well I was very concerned that we were going to find escalating levels of community transmission because I was aware, of course, that many of these people who were employed in security, of course are on a minimum wage. They also had a number of different types of jobs in the community, and as a result of that they would move freely through different types of work places…

PAT McGRATH, REPORTER: (To Julian Rait) So how would you characterize Victoria’s public health response to this pandemic?

JULIAN RAIT, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCAITON (VICTORIA) Well, it’s been inadequate, clearly. And the reason that that’s been the case is because it’s been woefully under resourced and compared to other states, it’s just a fraction of the resources that they’ve deployed.

STEPHANIE MARCH: The AMA says the Victorian health department has been weakened by years of budget cuts and restructuring.

JULIAN RAIT, PRESIDENT OF THE AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATON (VICTORIA): I think we’ve known for many years that the particularly the public health teams have been underfunded and under resourced in Victoria, and also the Department of Health and Human Services which was formed in 2015, really has what I would call a dysfunctional and byzantine organizational architecture so this has kind of given rise to I think the situation we’ve seen here…

Many of the health officers that have been seconded from other states to assist Victoria have noticed how much or how much further behind Victoria is compared to other states in terms of their IT preparedness for a pandemic. It seems to me that you know, Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services has almost like a fax machine style IT capability, compared to a more contemporary one that we see in other states.

The Victorian Government’s bungled contact tracing was also revealed:

STEPHANIE MARCH: As the number of new cases climbed the state’s contact tracing system was failing to keep up… There are multiple accounts of the contact tracing system’s dysfunction.
In July health care worker Kerry Shepherd was told by the health department her COVID test was negative and she went back to work. The next day she got an alarming message.

KERRY SHEPHERD: I saw that there were three missed calls and a text message saying, “This is from Department of Health. You’ve tested positive and you’ve missed our attempts at contacting you. Um, but you are required to quarantine. There was a moment of, “Oh no, I’ve gone to work, I’ve interacted with everybody.” Fridays are our busiest day by far in the clinic, so all our staff were there. I passed, you know, patients in the waiting room and I just thought, if I’ve brought this down on their heads and everybody in the clinic has to quarantine for two weeks now and all our patient surgeries have to be cancelled, it’s going to be a nightmare.

STEPHANIE MARCH: The next morning she was told she was actually negative. But her close contacts were still told to isolate.

KERRY SHEPHERD: So at this point, my colleagues and my partner had kind of a, an official SMS from the Department of Health saying, “You are required to quarantine,” and then they had a forwarded SMS from me that said, “No, everything’s fine. You don’t have to.” And I think some of them were ok with that, some of them were uncomfortable, with the lack of kind of official direction.

The whole Four Corners report is a damning indictment on the Andrews Government, whose failed decision making and systems imported one of the biggest public health and economic disasters in the nation’s history.

Unconventional Economist
Latest posts by Unconventional Economist (see all)


  1. Goldstandard1MEMBER

    I think Daniel Andrews and Morrison are two of the biggest pretenders of all time and are so representative of what it take to be a successful politician these days. They come across like they know what they are doing, strong characters and assertive….but when it comes to results and execution you realise quickly it’s all a front (Marketing).
    We need some old school leaders back, hopefully this crisis will bring some cream to the top

    • Sunlord BCNMEMBER

      You need someone running that show that really has experience in life, run a business, successful CEO etc.
      Andrews and Morrison
      Andrews studied Art at Monash and then went to some role in Admin in the labour party
      Scott Morrison research officer at property council and some sort of bureaucrat in tourism Australia

      Really they are both qualified to run the student council at Uni or be chairman of a body corp

      They both do not have the experience or qualifications to run a state or a country

      As the years have gone on our politicians are just getting worse. Noone with any real credibility wants to do it. They know it’s just a thankless job.

      • On the point on a thankless job.
        I feel that if someone who knows their sh1t actually takes the top job, they’ll look at “fixing” the ponzi… step 1 of fixing it, is crashing it. So by the way of consequence, the top job can only be taken by those who don’t have credibility or substance to lead this train wreck.. Anyone with any substance will know that it is a suicidal mission.

      • PaperRooDogMEMBER

        No! Business people make just about the worst operatives. Trump just the most recent in a long line of examples.

      • And based on the precedent of rewarding politicians for failure, Andrews will most likely receive an AM in the next round of Australia Day/Queen’s birthday honours…

      • You need someone running that show that really has experience in life, run a business, successful CEO etc.

        Trying to run Government like a business is what’s caused all these problems and you want to double down on that ?

        What’s needed are nation and society builders prepared to act in the best interests of everyone and tell greedy cvnts to get on board with that or fvck off.

      • Rightly said. Amateurs put in charge of running a country. Look at Putin, law degree, then training among the best and brightest they had, in how to manage a region or in our terms a state, or the country. Then in the 1990s he did a law thesis for higher degree in how to fix Russia when it had been stripped of 85% wealth. Plus learnt other languages, had spy experiance out of country, and could sing and play the piano. If we trained our people how to govern, made sure they cared about Australia….no Gillards sucking up to Clinton we might gave a chance. There is a guy whose name I forget, a country guy who could do it. We do have one bloke.But Buckley’s of him getting up.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Lol run a business? What good is that – you know to suck bankers off and dodge taxes. Whoopidi-doo.

        How about actually creating something, how about being capable of doing more analysis than is my bonus big enough??

    • Problem is that the major talent needed to win elections is Marketing. That’s what elections are all about.

      • Style over substance. Isn’t that what politics is all about in the modern era?

        Tony Blair at the vanguard of that movement.

    • To be fair, you could hurl the same accusations at many CEOs and leadership teams of listed companies also.

      Everyone’s just out to survive in their jobs at the end of the day, and the easiest way to achieve that is to put a positive spin on anything you do, obfuscate issues, and manage the perception of everything closely such that successes are your own and failures someone else’s, and you should be right.

      What is actually happening almost doesn’t seem to matter as much as the spin you put on it.

    • chadszinowMEMBER

      Lyrics keep ringing true these days. You look for cream rising
      “So tell me family now what do you think?
      Watch it all go down the great big sink.
      Watch how the scum it rises to the top.
      Don’t you wonder when it’s all gonna stop?
      Sometimes I wonder how we do sleep,
      Serving the dodgy companies we keep.
      All kicking and scrounging for the very first place,
      Dictionary definition of a rat race.
      Pay off those losers we elect to lead,
      Stealing from the mouths that we’re meant to feed.
      Enslaving the very clothes upon my back,
      I feel the sting but I hear no crack, no crack, ”
      Song by John Butler Trio
      Entire thing is heart breaking

  2. The Andrews government must be prosecuted under their own OH and S laws which can mean over $16 million fines for individuals and jail time. What is good enough for private or public businesses is good enough for this incompetent and corrupt government and their faithful public servants. One notes how Andrews has attempted to divert all blame for aged care deaths to the operators. He is not a suitable person to be Premier.

  3. Achilles Tskakis

    4 Corners went hard on Wilson security, even though they had no guards who caught Covid.

    They went very easy on Unified Security even though they had guards who caught Covid AND were the initial source of the outbreak. Unified security is “Indigenous owned” while Wilson is not.

    More Woke hypocrisy from the ABC.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Sounds like high time for Wilson to get an indigenous CEO and board, that will sort things out in the world of hotel quarantine.

    • Aren’t most guards vibrants? It’s a great job for someone fresh off the boat with no skills and poor english language – stand here and don’t let anyone do anything.

    • Which one donated the most to the Liberal Party and/or has the most friends there ?

      The ABC has been given its marching orders – support the current Government or be destroyed.

      (Catch: it’ll be destroyed anyway, but until the axe falls the Coalition will use its high trust status to push their agenda.)

      • Are we to deduce here that indigenous-owned Unified Security Group is a good friend of the Liberal government while Wilson is not? Is that the thesis? Could you provide anything to back this up?
        I can’t find evidence either has donated (at least under their operating names) to Federal Labor or Liberal or to the Victorian state Labor government.

  4. “This report confirmed that NSW chose the police to run its hotel quarantine program”

    The Atlas Serviced Apartments in Camperdown are staffed by independent security guards.

  5. PaperRooDogMEMBER

    “travellers accounted for more than 99% of the state’s COVID-19 cases.” 99% wow! I know lets bring in a bunch of students from overseas.

  6. Thanks for the TL:DR
    I can settle into Yellowstone tonight, now.
    Man that John Dutton is sticking to his guns in the face of a $500million property off.
    I do love me some Big Montana Sky but.

  7. Was there any mention of the BLM protest in Melbourne? There were infected people among the 10k that congregated shoulder to shoulder.

    The protest also fits perfectly with the timeline for the exponential lift in infections.

  8. kierans777MEMBER

    The one thing that the doco also showed was people’s complete stupidity. Why did the nurses have an unauthorised baby shower in Epping Gardens? That’s got to have contributed to the problems we’ve been seeing in aged care. Can’t blame Andrews for that one. Hotel quarantine was also Dan’s idea, ScoMo would have trusted everyone to stay at home. While there is a lot to blame the Andrews government for, including the love affair with the ponzi scheme and Belt & Road you can’t blame him for everything.