LAURA JAYES: Let’s go to the Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume for another federal perspective but from the other side. Jane, thanks so much for your time. You've spoken on this program many a time, you have not been complimentary of Dan Andrews, you’ve even gone so far as to call his government corrupt. Does that change today?
JANE HUME: Not at all. In fact, it doesn't. It's not just me that's calling his government corrupt. It's IBAC. After numerous inquiries that's found that there's been inappropriate use of taxpayer funds to to campaign through the red shirts rort, or whether it's through ministerial advisors from the Premiers’ office pressuring bureaucrats to award contracts to unions. There's been plenty of accusations and corruptions of the Andrews' Government. Let's hope that this heralds a new era. Where we can actually rely on the integrity of a Labor Government, although sadly I don't necessarily think that that is so. I think that the rot runs pretty deep in this government.
LAURA JAYES: I understand what a controversial, divisive figure Daniel Andrews is in your state of Victoria and you would know better than me, but is there anything kind you can say about him this morning?
JANE HUME: Well, he's certainly a survivor, 21 years in the Parliament. I've never been ungracious before to a colleague that has served the public. However, I do think Victoria is worse off for Daniel Andrews reign and I do use the word reign intentionally because he was a figure that loomed large in his own party and loomed large in the Parliament, and he ruled with an iron fist and an iron glove and where did he leave his state? $220 billion in debt. That's four times the debt that was in place when he came to power. 50 new taxes, the most recent one announced only last weekend on Airbnb so it's going to dramatically affect Victoria as a holiday and tourism destination. There's numerous IBAC inquiries, he canceled the Commonwealth Games that cost $380 million, cost overruns on massive projects and some projects that are entirely unnecessary, just simply vanity projects like the suburban rail loop and, of course, we've also seen the demise of the Labor Party falling away of some of the talent that was there and in people like James Merlino or Martin Pakula, as they've all retired away from Daniel Andrews having just had enough of politics and the sort of pervasive corruption. I actually feel that he has diminished our polity and dismissed the media. He had contempt for his colleagues on both sides of the chamber and particularly his factional enemies and it will be very interesting today to see who they choose as his replacement. I'm quite pleased to see that there has been no factional deal done because we do know that Daniel Andrews has loomed large within his own party for so many years.
LAURA JAYES: One of the lasting impacts and legacies I think, from Daniel Andrews will be his ability to look down the camera and answer the questions about whether he would stay for a full term and contest the next election and the honesty of that. He was able to lie pretty well. Because I don't think you just make up your mind, such a big decision about your future in just one week. So he was able to do that. We've heard his reasons for why he is stepping down today. Why do you think it is time for him right now? He says when it's time it's time. We're not quite sure what that means. There is a theory that there's a COVID inquiry from Anthony Albanese, there isn't a Royal Commission, and he's put his hands up and said, Well, my job is done here.
JANE HUME: I think that this gives Daniel Andrews the ability to walk away from two or three of the most difficult years in Victoria's history. 262 days of some of the most draconian lockdowns that were felt right around the world, a five kilometer radius, a curfew, women in their pajamas, pregnant women in their pajamas being arrested for dissenting on social media. A police force that rained rubber bullets down on protesters. This was a terrible time in our history. Think about it, you know, cordoning off playgrounds so that children couldn't play moving along. Moving along old ladies sitting on a park bench while they're out on their one hour long walk, police checking people's coffee cups in case there was alcohol in them on a Saturday afternoon. This was a disgraceful period of time in our history, where the power simply went to the government's head and I find it amazing that the Victorian Public have been so forgiving of this terrible period of time and of course, let's not forget that this was also a period of time when hotel quarantine was so badly managed, that we actually had COVID outbreaks that were entirely unnecessary. We had more deaths in aged care than in any other state in Australia. Somehow, Daniel Andrews has managed to skate on through and we know that he responded not just to health advice, but to polling as well. This is the information that would come up if we had a far reaching inquiry into our COVID responses, not simply just the federal responses, but state responses as well. But it's something that Daniel Andrews has managed to get away with because he's mate Anthony Albanese has shirked his responsibility.
LAURA JAYES: Okay, we'll have to leave it there today. Jane, thanks so much for your time as always.