AFL great tells Premier: Iso killed my dad
Former AFL star turned radio host Luke Darcy has earned plenty of praise for a tense discussion with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on radio on Monday morning after the road map out of the state's lockdown measures were revealed.
On his show with Eddie Maguire, the Triple M Hot Breakfast host took the premier to task particularly focusing on the mental health effects as well as why more lenient alternatives weren't more strongly considered.
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It comes after the Victorian Premier was under fire once more after revealing the extension of the lockdown measures.
Melbourne residents learned on Sunday they'll spend at least another two weeks in lockdown in an attempt to further suppress a coronavirus outbreak that began months ago.
From midnight this Sunday, September 13, the city's 8pm curfew will be pushed back an hour to 9pm (it will still cease at 5am) and the allowable outdoor exercise period will be doubled to two hours.
There will also be the introduction of a "single person bubble", which will allow one nominated visitor if a person is living alone or a single parent with all children under 18.
Taking a different tact than former Collingwood star Dane Swan's withering attack on Twitter on Sunday night, the former Western Bulldog took his questions to the Premier in a tense 17 minute discussion.
Andrews started the interview by explaining that "this is not a 50-50".
"The signs, the data, the doctors, they tell us really clearly that if we open up too much too soon, it'll get away from us and we won't be open for too long," he said.
"It won't be hundreds of cases a day, it'll be thousands, and it won't be just COVID patients who are sick and in hospital and, it'll be other patients who need urgent care, heart attacks, strokes and they just won't be able to get the care they need. It's really tough because you know the impact of the decision."
The Premier also lamented that "if there was another way, then of course I would have taken that".
It was something Darcy responded directly to.
"Premier, I must admit I'm astounded to hear you say that it wasn't even a 50/50 decision and that there is no other way and no other evidence,'' Darcy said.
"There's an incredible study just been done in The Lancet suggesting that extreme lockdowns have the opposite effect and do not work, and they cause immeasurable harm and actually in the end when you open up again you will get more cases and if that's your policy you'll go back to more lockdown.
"You've had a letter written by 500 medical experts in this town who are at the coalface day to day. Not five, not 25 - 500 medical experts who are saying to you there is a better way Premier, there is a more humane way. You can do this, you can get out and have a message.
"We were looking for nuance and sophistication yesterday, and hope. I wanted to see a plan that said Victoria can live with this virus better than any state in the world. Instead we got more barbaric lockdowns, more devastation for people.
"Why won't you form an independent panel, take on board a broader range of medical advice outside of the chief health officer, get some of these medical people around a table because they are telling you Premier, very clearly, you can do this better, you can do this more humanely, you can open up and they're not buying that you didn't have other choices."
Andrews responded pointing to Spain, who "got down to 200 cases, then they opened up, and now they're at 10,000 cases a day".
But Darcy replied that the death rate had dramatically dropped and said "we do live with viruses and we are able to do that without locking up healthy people and destroying their futures for decades to come".
"It's lacking in nuance, it's lacking in sophistication and I think that's where people are at the end of what has been a path that is causing … you have to admit the policy has caused death, the policy by locking people down has tipped suicide into a level that's untenable."
After the Premier reiterated the need to keep numbers down to ensure hospitals aren't overrun, Darcy pointed to his father David's death on August 1.
A 133-game veteran for Footscray across two stints through the 1960s and early 1970s, his career allowed Luke to join the Bulldogs, the club at which he played 226 games and is currently a director.
Post-career, David owned a pub he ran with wife Janet in Roxby Downs, while Luke and his siblings also run a pub and hospitality group.
"I lost my 78 year old father Premier, during this time," he said. "And you know what happened to him. He was a very similar person to you actually Premier. He loved his golf, he was isolated in his home.
"He wasn't dying from this, he was dying from the isolation and the loneliness because he couldn't get to the gym, he couldn't run his business that he built for his family his entire life so what was happening was the policies were causing harm Premier.
"That was a very big part … no one is more compassionate about the elderly. But we can pivot to actually supporting them in a meaningful way."
But the Premier held his ground, admitting he understood there were greater consequences to his decisions.
"Of course there are other consequences but you've got to make a judgment about which is worse and this running wild across the state in my judgment and the judgement of all of those advising us is that it would be a far worse outcome than a safe and steady opening up and then finding that normal that we can defend and properly lock in," he said.
Luke Darcy was soon trending on Twitter,largely with praise.
Former MasterChef winner and TV presenter Adam Liaw tweeted: "Surprised people are mad about Luke Darcy's interview with Dan Andrews. I thought he did an excellent job of asking the questions a lot of Victorians have in their heads, and I also thought Andrews did an excellent job of explaining the rationale behind of Victoria's strategy.
"All participants to the interview were civil, factual, probative and at all times focused on the issue being discussed. That's literally how it should be done on all sides."
7 News crime reporter Laura Banks replied: "Bold questing by Luke Darcy this morning, of Dan Andrews. There needs to be more of it."
Seven AFL reporter Tom Browne added: "Luke Darcy's eloquent and bold questioning of Daniel Andrews on @mmmhotbreakfast was brave and inspiring. Giving an alternative view, and a lot of people a voice. Great journalism".
Originally published as AFL great tells Premier: Iso killed my dad
There is no doubt there is a perception out there that the Premier does not get asked tough questions by journalists.— Seb Costello (@SebCostello9) September 7, 2020
People often raise this with me, and my answer is that there are people prepared to ask hard questions.
Today, we found out Luke Darcy is one of them.