Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews has raised eyebrows on two fronts with his latest Assistant Commissioner appointment to Victoria Police. Andrews has appointed Commander Brett Curran to the position of Assistant Commissioner at the Gender Equality and Inclusion Command.
Firstly at a time when the Victorian community is concerned more than ever with violent crime in the suburbs why is a Gender Equality and Inclusion Command such an important priority?
Secondly Brett Curren has previously been an advisor to Labor Police Minister Bob Cameron beginning in 2007, then he was Daniel Andrews’ Chief of Staff while he was Opposition leader in 2010-2014.
He returned to Victoria Police in 2015 as the chief of staff to Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton who was appointed to the position by the newly elected Premier Daniel Andrews.
The perception of this appointment is that the police and the government are becoming more intertwined when the police force are expected to be apolitical. The position of Commissioner of Gender Equality and Inclusion is one created out of a political ideology to begin with.
Though it must be said that the Police Association of Victoria are not currently fans of the Andrews’ Government with their members threatening industrial action over the 2% pay increase they have been offered, they argue given their current responsibilities they deserve a 4% pay rise.
Even more concerning is that when Curran worked as an advisor to Police Minister Cameron, the minister approved a $2.8 million taxpayer-funded payment to gangland lawyer-turned-police informer Nicola Gobbo, also known as lawyer X right before the 2010 state election.
There is a pending royal commission into how Nicola Gobbo was recruited and paid as a police informant in Victoria. It has been labeled the biggest legal scandal in Australia as it violated to the core the fairness and ethics of our legal system.
Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said of Commander Brett Curran’s appointment “With 31 years at Victoria Police, he is one of our longest-serving Commanders, with a proven ability to work through complex matters with skill and sound judgment”.
Victoria Police’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
Ashton also spoke of the importance of Victoria Police achieving gender equality and inclusion “Over the past five years we have made great progress in driving cultural reforms across Victoria Police. But we know that an ongoing commitment is vital if we are to sustain the momentum, and I am confident that Brett will bring that focus”.
Victoria Police in its diversity and inclusion information section claims “A diverse, inclusive and respectful workforce means we are better equipped to support one another and form stronger links with all communities”.
It has published a glossy Diversity and Inclusion Framework 2017 – 2020 with separate more detailed strategy and action plans for gender equality; Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) peoples; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) peoples and Peoples with disability.
Other Daniel Andrews Controversies
Daniel Andrews at the end of the first year of his second four-term as Premier is facing other controversies. Daniel Andrews has admitted in the last 24 hours he received a $2500 donation from property developer John Woodman in his 2002 state election campaign.
Woodman is become the central focus of an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation over donations to some councilors at the City of Casey council in Melbourne’s South East. Andrews’ connections to Woodman were revealed when they dined together in 2017 which was alleged to be simply organizing a golf charity day.
Daniel Andrews has also come under fire for signing the state of Victoria up to China’s global Belt and Road infrastructure project at a time when the Communist dictatorship’s foreign interference and human rights abuses are increasingly in the spotlight. Andrews claimed signing up to the project was ‘the right thing to do’.
A protest against Belt and Road project will be held outside Victoria’s Parliament House on Sunday 15th December organised by concerned Victorians from all cultural backgrounds.
However, if recent history is anything to go by Teflon Dan can possibly wash off these scandals. Only sustained media and political scrutiny will keep these new controversies in the public consciousness.