Politics

Frydenberg’s mental health accusations against Andrews exposed as baseless

Tawdry attempts by federal Coalition ministers to vilify Victoria’s Premier have now been shown to lack a factual foundation, reports Alan Austin.

CLAIMS BY FEDERAL Treasurer Josh Frydenberg that Victoria’s Labor Premier Daniel Andrews harmed the mental health of his constituents gained considerable traction last year. These were damaging to Andrews’ reputation and to his ability to manage the pandemic — which had caused far more deaths in Victoria than in the rest of the country.

Data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirms that mental health actually improved dramatically in Victoria as a result of Andrews’ determined efforts. Andrews worked tirelessly last year to control the virus, limit the social dislocation and keep his constituents well-informed.

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Victorian deaths down substantially

Total deaths in Victoria from all causes last year were 41,093. That is 2,851 below the 2019 tally of 43,944. Victoria’s coronavirus deaths in 2020 were 800, mostly in federally-run nursing homes.

Total deaths nationwide declined by 4.7%, which reflects well on all state governments, which have carriage of most health matters. Victoria’s reduction of 6.5% in total fatalities was greater than in any other state.

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Startling suicide stats

Contrary to doomsday predictions, suicides in Victoria actually fell from 717 in 2019 to 694 in 2020, a decline of more than 3%. Relative to population, the 2020 rate was the second-lowest in the last seven years, at 103.7 per million. It was also lower than in 2009.