Victorian government economist quits in protest of Dan Andrews’ ‘police state’ and signs off with a scathing resignation letter.
A former economist for the Victorian Treasury has quit in protest of Premier Daniel Andrews’ strict lockdowns after letting loose on social media and sharing a scathing letter.
Sanjeev Sabhlok resigned from the Victorian Treasury last week after rallying against Melbourne’s strict COVID-19 lockdowns and politicians online.
Mr Sabhlok, who moved to Melbourne from India in 2001, took to Twitter to announce his resignation with a stern warning to Mr Andrews.
‘I served your government as an economist until 10 September 2020 but have resigned to protest your Police State,’ he wrote.
‘I did not come to Australia to be a slave of whimsical government. You have not implemented risk-based management, no evidence-based policy, no cost-benefit analysis.
‘No justification. Just whimsy. You must reset Victoria’s policies right now. But if you won’t, then go!’
The former economist claims he resigned because of Mr Andrews’ ‘police state’ and lockdown laws
Mr Sabhlok has tweeted regularly to his 3,000 followers throughout the pandemic in disagreement with Melbourne’s strict lockdowns.
‘We are living in what will come to be known in history as the Great Hysteria. Enjoy the ride!’ he wrote on September 7.
Another tweet read: ‘One good thing about this pandemic is that we have seen the true colours of our leaders – and they were all red.’
In another post Mr Sabhlok accused Mr Andrews of ‘totally destroying Victoria’.
‘Coronavirus is a bad common cold – entirely harmless to the overwhelming majority; and virtually no deaths among the young even in Victoria,’ he wrote.
‘Yet, that’s good enough excuse for Daniel Andrews to totally destroy Victoria.’
In a devastating opinion piece for the Australian Financial Review on Wednesday, Mr Sabhlok explained how he had been approached by the head of HR at Treasury and asked to remove his critical social media posts.
‘I considered deleting the few direct criticisms, but they wanted all indirect criticism removed too. I resigned on the same day, the only honourable course for a free citizen of Australia,’ he wrote.
The long-time public servant says the pandemic policies in Victoria are the ‘most heavy-handed possible’ and they are a ‘sledgehammer to kill a swarm of flies’.
‘These policies are having hugely adverse economic, social and health effects, with the poorer sections of the community that don’t have the ability to work from home suffering the most,’ Mr Sabhlok said.
Mr Sabhlok said Premier Daniel Andrews was ‘whimsy’ and warned him to resign
People are seen exercising with masks on at Eastern Beach on September 17 in Geelong
‘Australia is signalling to the world that it is closed for business and doesn’t care for human freedoms. This will dampen business investment but also impact future skilled migration, the education industry and tourism.’
He also accused politicians and health officials of using ‘scare tactics’ and attacked Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton for claiming COVID-19 for being the ‘greatest public health challenge since the Spanish flu’.
Mr Sabhlok said coronavirus was ‘no Spanish flu’ and even if it was he insists the draconian lockdown laws ‘would never have been justified’.
In the piece Mr Sabhlok writes that it was obvious as early as February that COVID-19 affected the elderly the most and steps should have been taken to protect them.
‘The need for good policy process does not disappear just because we face a public health crisis,’ he wrote.
Police and ADF check work permits and identification at a road block in Little River on September 17 in Geelong
Mr Sabhlok also accused politicians and health officials of using ‘scare tactics’. Pictured: For lease signs in Melbourne’s CBD which was locked down due to an outbreak of coronavirus
Mr Sabhlok said he ‘repeatedly’ tried to raise the concerns among Treasury but said his attempts were ignored.
‘So what happens now? Billions of dollars in income and wealth have been wiped out in the name of a virus that is no worse than the Asian flu,’ he said.
Mr Andrews was questioned about the opinion piece during Thursday’s press conference.
‘That may be his version of what occurred, I’m not briefed on the accuracy or otherwise of that,’ the premier told reporters.
‘He’s entitled to his views, but you, your readers and all Victorians should be assured that we receive frank and fearless advice from the public service each and every day.’
Victorian Treasury has been contacted for comment.