Victoria’s Parliament is back in session after an unusually long winter break, and for Premier Dan Andrews, it’s been a few days of, well, let’s just say bad optics.
On Tuesday, the Herald Sun splashed with news Andrews’ industrial relations adviser John-Paul Blandthorn was so concerned with the behaviour of United Firefighters Union boss Peter Marshall towards Labor MP Jane Garratt that he warned the Premier in writing. According to journalist James Campbell, he has had the documents for three weeks — maybe he’d been waiting for Parliament to resume to ensure they most damage. By Tuesday afternoon, a fiery caucus meeting led Garrett to go public with her complaints in an extraordinary statement, in which she went public with shocking claims about Marshall’s conduct towards her (including that he “threatened to put an axe in my head”). Marshall enjoys Andrew’s support in his battle against the CFA.
The papers have been quick to highlight Andrews’ role in the whole mess, so, it’s been a bad few days for Victoria’s usually popular Premier. Luckily for him, he had a bit of easy publicity yesterday, greeting Victoria’s returning Olympians. His office put together this video to mark the occasion, which features the Premier almost more than it does any athletes …
All rights to all Olympic events coverage is of course still primarily held by the Seven Network, who did a live broadcast of the homecoming. For everyone else — Channels Nine, Seven and the ABC — the Premier’s Department instructions that saw them taken to a fixed position, where they were told to stay. Some TV journos were wryly remarking yesterday that the restrictions didn’t seem to apply to the Premier’s own cameras. Oh well — guess he needs the good press right now.