daniel andrews in front of TV screen showing melbourne postcodes
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (Image: AAP/James Ross)

In her latest Both Sides Now column, ethicist and educator Leslie Cannold examined two sides of a controversy that stirred passions in Victoria and around Australia: should Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews apologise for locking down Melbourne’s housing towers?

We asked what you believed Cannold’s real opinion was, and you let us have it.

Here’s a selection of your thoughts.

Maureen Daly

I agree with Cannold’s against side. The extreme lockdown was harsh, but necessary — particularly for preserving life and health in the estate blocks. Although it is probable residents’ emotional well-being was damaged, the damage was most likely to be less severe than if there had been rampant transmission and potential deaths.

We all owe the residents a thank you for what they endured on our collective behalf. They certainly have mine!

Richard Davoren

Andrews did the right thing but an explanation, not an apology, should be forthcoming.

The debacle for Victoria started with the meeting chaired by the prime minister and attended by the premiers. After the meeting no one knew whose responsibility it was to organise the quarantine arrangements.

In the case of the quarantine arrangements, Scott Morrison was the chairman and clearly he did not seek agreement about who was responsible for what and have the matter recorded in the minutes.

Apart from being a lousy chairman, his lack of action caused the death and sickness of many Victorians.

Morrison was at fault. I believe he should apologise for the whole debacle.

Rosemary Laurens

Andrews should apologise.

Although both arguments have merit, the thing about human rights is that they are, by definition, inalienable and universal. You can’t enjoy them only some of the time. If it was OK for the government to impose the lockdown on the housing estates in the manner in which it did, that means it will be OK for the government to do so at any future time, and anywhere, without due notice, thereby infringing the human rights of whoever is affected.

No. A government can’t pick and choose when people have human rights and when they don’t.

David Parker

I am in favour of the argument that no apology is required. Of course I have some sympathy for those affected, and a thank you, but Andrews did the only responsible thing — and it worked!

Jo Groth

An absolute no brainer! Of course Andrews should apologise. It was a disgusting exhibition of his total lack of empathy or regard for the people in the towers and their human rights.

Politicians drunk on power and control. My heartfelt sympathy to you all.

Sam Elkin

This article doesn’t name the hypocrisy and perpetuation of racism in administering a hard lockdown on these public housing tenants, most of whom were financially disadvantaged people of colour.

The fact that the Victorian government never came close to instituting a hard lockdown in the wealthy, predominantly white communities in the eastern suburbs — areas that the virus first started in — is the biggest issue for me. It shows that the decision to institute a harsher public health response on poor people of colour was clearly enabled by racism and classism.

Everyone knows they wouldn’t have tried this in Toorak.

The Victorian government should apologise for not instituting a hard lockdown in the wealthy areas of Victoria before the virus was transmitted to the poorer people who cook, clean, deliver and provide security services for them.

Tomorrow in Both Sides Now, Leslie Cannold will present two sides of this argument, and it’s over to you to decide what she really believes: is US President Donald Trump being unfairly censored?

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW