“As a Victorian, and as an Australian, I have been labouring under the misapprehension I live in a democracy – but I don’t, not if I live in Victoria.
“You don’t live in a democracy when you have a government threatening people with repercussions if they dare have an opinion or dare speak to someone other than the ruling party.
“And right now, today, that’s where all Victorians are living.”
The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, has been refused a meeting with Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp “at the behest of his overlords in Spring St”.
A meeting relative to constituents he has living in the City of Greater Shepparton and to most constituents in his electorate because Goulburn Valley Health is where most people requiring advanced and specialist media care are directed.
Mr Walsh says his request for a meeting with Mr Sharp – which would have been held well before the caretaker government period kicks in on November 1 – was accepted, and then declined because the Health Department and its Minister have issued their own pre-election guidelines about meeting with non-government political parties.
He says this is not Mr Sharp’s fault, or responsibility.
“This is a government slapping a communications blackout on people at its mercy, with a foot on their throat and a very sharp pair of scissors poised over their employment contracts,” Mr Walsh says.
“Why should any politician, whether opposition or independent, be denied access to people who run multimillion dollar public purse budgets and who are people very involved in the day-to-day lives of, in this case, my constituents?” he says.
“Matt Sharp generously offered to try and set up a second meeting through the Department, but I told him he would be wasting his time.
“And he would be, because neither this Premier, nor any Minister in this government, has any interest in democracy, or accountability to the people of Victoria.”
Mr Walsh says the rules forbidding his planned meeting with GV Health include ‘codes of conduct’ and “even though the government rulings allow pre-election consultations between health services and non-government political parties from July 31 onwards, that doesn’t mean a sit-down of open and honest communication”.
He says the message of enforced secrecy is inherent throughout the controls issued by the government, with the overriding command that “any consultation request must be initiated by the non-government political parties – not by health services – and be channelled through the Premier or the Premier and the relevant Minister”.
It then goes on to say: “as public sector bodies, health services should not involve themselves in consultations with non-government political parties unless approval has been given by the Premier and Minister”.
“Daniel Andrews and his star chamber approach to government was front and centre right through 2020 and 2021 as he time and again botched how we ran our response to the pandemic and then the lies and obfuscation he and his gang of yes-Ministers and spin doctors cooked up to pretend nothing was their fault,” Mr Walsh added.
“The nation’s biggest debt, the nation’s biggest death toll, the world’s longest lockdown – but no-one in this government has been held to account for any of it – because whenever asked, no-one in this government can remember who did what,” he says.
“And Daniel Andrews & Co have no intention of letting anyone – certainly not me and definitely not you – know exactly what they are up to.”