An economist with the Victorian Department of Finance and Treasury has resigned so he can call out Labor Premier Dan Andrews’ handling of the pandemic and the “police state” imposed on Melbourne residents. Sanjeev Sabhlok, who resigned last week, has condemned the policies implemented by Mr Andrews and warned they will unfairly punish the poorest communities in Victoria while holding back business investment, skilled migration, education and tourism.
Source: Joe Kelly, News Corp
Public servant Sanjeev Sabhlok quits, slams ‘police state’
In an opinion piece written for the Australian Financial Review, Mr Sabhlok accuses Mr Andrews of being heavy handed in his response to the virus and likens it to the use of a “sledgehammer to kill a swarm of flies”.
Mr Sabhlok — who operates a blog largely dedicated to political and economic reform in India — argues the restrictions in Victoria will signal to the world Australia is “closed for business and doesn’t care for human freedoms”. He makes the argument that restrictions “could never have been justified” even if the coronavirus was to have proved as deadly as the Spanish flu.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, is singled out for criticism over comments in which he said the coronavirus was the “greatest public health challenge since the Spanish flu”, with Mr Sabhlok rejecting any comparison. “This is no Spanish flu,” he writes. “We can verify that easily.”
Mr Sabhlok writes that, for COVID-19 to be as proportionately deadly as the Spanish flu, which claimed 50 million lives when the global population was 1.8 billion, it would need to have killed 210 million people today.
“We can be reasonably certain that while this virus may create further ripples, its ultimate magnitude will end up in the range of the 1957 Asian flu,” he writes.
“There has never been a second wave hundreds of times bigger than the first … Even if the pandemic had been as big as the Spanish flu, lockdowns could never have been justified. There are strong scientific arguments against lockdowns too.”
Mr Sanjeev, who was speaking out against Victoria’s management of the virus on social media while he was still a public servant, says the head of human relations at Treasury asked him to remove his posts last week.
“I considered deleting the few direct criticisms, but they wanted all indirect criticism removed too,” he writes. “I resigned on the same day, the only honourable course for a free citizen of Australia. I never dreamed I would see some of the tactics being used to defend the state’s health.”
He argues the bureaucracy has clamped down on the provision of frank and fearless advice and has determined to “support whatever the government decides”.
Source: Sky News