Dan Andrews and I don’t agree about everything but I know that he loves his state and considers it a privilege to serve as its Premier. I formed a friendship with him during my time at COAG and saw during this period his desire to try to do what was right.
The political badge you wear should mean very little during this moment.
We are living through history, and there is no playbook they give you when you become PM, Premier or Minister on how to respond.
Leaders are making dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of big decisions every day. And not all of them will be correct in hindsight. Every leader around the world is learning on the run, and the stakes are impossibly high. Every leader is making mistakes, which is not surprising as they are human.
What is happening in Victoria is incredibly challenging and indeed tragic. I don’t know all the details of what has transpired but it is terrible and I think most people across the country are just waiting for some good news to emerge. Almost as if we are willing the virus away.
It is not the time to second-guess or finger point. Yes we need to be agile and learn on the run, but a pile on helps no-one.
When the dust settles, there will be time for reflection. And when mistakes are made, there will be accountability.
But in the fog of this battle, I believe we should choose to stand in support of our leaders and offer our admiration, and our thanks.
Let’s give them strength, not grief, as they try to make decisions for all of us.
That of course goes for Gladys and Scott, who I know are working tirelessly and using every ounce of energy to keep us safe.
I am proud of them.
And it goes for Dan who I know is working his absolute guts out to save lives.
Let’s support him as he tries to do the impossible.
I’ll finish with the famous words of Teddy Roosevelt. Words that Dan, and all our leaders, probably need right now:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood… who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.