News Daniel Andrews ‘working his absolute guts out’, says NSW ex-premier Mike Baird
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Daniel Andrews ‘working his absolute guts out’, says NSW ex-premier Mike Baird

Mike Baird
Mike Baird has backed Daniel Andrews in a long Facebook post. Photo: AAP
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Australians should send their leaders “strength, not grief” right now, said former NSW premier Mike Baird in an impassioned defence of Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

Mr Baird, the Liberal premier of NSW from 2014 to 2017, has leapt to the support of the Labor leader as Mr Andrews faces intense scrutiny over his handling of Victoria’s coronavirus outbreak.

On Sunday, as Mr Andrews announced 394 new COVID cases and 17 deaths – the highest fatality single-day figure for any state so far during the pandemic – Mr Baird was backing him up.

“The political badge you wear should mean very little during this moment,” Mr Baird wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

“We are living through history, and there is no playbook they give you when you become PM, Premier or minister on how to respond.”

Dan Andrews and I don’t agree about everything but I know that he loves his state and considers it a privilege to serve…

Posted by Mike Baird on Saturday, August 8, 2020

“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.”

Mr Baird said the current situation was “not the time to second-guess or finger point”, writing “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,” he said.

Mike Baird says Daniel Andrews needs “strength, not grief”.Photo: AAP

“Let’s give them strength, not grief, as they try to make decisions for all of us.”

Mr Baird said he was “proud” of other leaders as well, including current NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“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,” he wrote.

In other social media news, Mr Andrews has also fielded several questions about a Twitter thread from Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, who posted a string of tweets after midnight in the early hours of  Sunday comparing the COVID pandemic to ancient Greece and historical pandemics, raising eyebrows and prompting questions from journalists at a morning press conference.

“There’s no detailed go-to manual of how to respond to these pandemics,” Ms Mikakos also tweeted.

In the tweets, she appeared to be answering those who criticised her for repeatedly rebuffing questions about the hotel quarantine debacle, which is being investigated by an independent judicial inquiry.

“It was work that needed to be done quickly and nimbly because the virus would not wait and no doubt, mistakes were made along the way, because humans are flawed yet contagious viruses are unforgiving,” Ms Mikakos said of her state’s pandemic responses.

“So it pains me to see the incorrect assumption made that somehow I can single-handedly report on the actions of countless individuals and many agencies involved in our pandemic response.”

Mr Andrews said he hadn’t read Ms Mikakos’s entire 10-tweet thread, and hadn’t spoken to her personally since she posted it.

“She’s a very strong person,” the Premier said, when asked by a journalist if she is “holding up OK?”

“This virus doesn’t stop and none of us can afford to, either. And I won’t be.

“We will see this through. All Victorians, we are resilient. We are strong.”