Victoria’s grievance is all about politics
By John McDonnell.
Dan Andrews released a statement accusing the federal government of double standards just hours after the announcement of the assistance package for New South Wales. The Prime Minister and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian fronted media on Tuesday to announce JobKeeper-style payments that go above and beyond the arrangements during Victoria’s most recent lockdown.
“Clearly, here in NSW, the situation has taken a very different turn,” Morrison said, “We think this gives people the encouragement to see it through.”
In a statement on Tuesday evening, a Victorian Government spokesperson said that while all Australians believe residents in New South Wales “deserve every possible support” at this time, it was the same “double standard”.
“Victorians are rightly sick and tired of having to beg for every scrap of support from the Federal Government,” the statement read.
“It shouldn’t take a crisis in Sydney for the Prime Minister to take action but we are seeing the same double standard time and time again. His job is not to be the Prime Minister for NSW.”
The Victorian Government claims it had to “shame” Canberra into “doing its job” and providing income support for Victorians when the state faced its own battle with the Delta strain last month.
“Their position at the time was a disgrace,” the statement continued.
“If they had bothered to think about this at the time and work with Victoria, they’d already have had a practical framework in place when NSW went into lockdown and more people would have got the support they need earlier.”
Josh Frydenberg responded to the Victorian attack soon after it emerged.
“Victoria received the same support for its two-week‘ circuit breaker’ lockdown as NSW has for its first two weeks of lockdown,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
“The conditions for payments and the levels of payments were exactly the same.”
“If Victoria were to go into another extended lockdown, it would received the same support as is being offered to NSW,” a spokesperson said.
During the most recent Victorian lockdown, the Commonwealth offered to share all costs with Victoria. Victoria declined and asked for the Commonwealth to handle income support while they would support businesses.
Victoria received $4,220 per capita support through JobKeeper compared to $3,684 per capita for NSW.
The Treasurer made the following observation regarding the approach of both state governments.
“The NSW Government has worked constructively with the Commonwealth to support their households and businesses while the Victoria Government’s politicised approach has unfortunately been to issue decrees by media instead of picking up the phone to find solutions as a partnership.”
There is an element of truth in this statement. During its two week lockdown the acting premier of Victoria, James Merlino, attacked the commonwealth regularly during his daily press conferences. It took the feds less than a week to respond to the demands of the Victorian government and there is no evidence that it had to be shamed into responding.
As for the media attack that Scott Morrison appeared with Gladys Berejiklian but didn’t front a presser with James Merlino, this overlooks the fact that travel to Victoria from NSW was banned at the time.
The next federal election is getting closer and it appears that the Labor premiers intend to adopt a ‘them and us’ political posture where they portray themselves as the overlooked and mistreated second child. At the same time, federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese is making headway by attacking the vaccination roll-out.
The latest Newspoll analysis shows that if an election were held this Saturday, Labor would win a seven-seat majority.