Daniel Andrews says Victorians deserve “better than violent extremism” and US-style politics after upper house MP, Catherine Cumming, told a crowd of protesters yesterday that he should be turned into “red mist”.
Cumming, who is running for the Angry Victorians party at the state election, is being investigated by police for inciteful behaviour after she was filmed giving a speech at a protest outside Flinders Street station on Saturday afternoon.
“I joined the Angry Victorian party for one reason – to make Daniel Andrews turn into red mist,” she told the crowd.
“In the army, we would call it pink mist, but I want him into red mist. Give anyone here in the army a job to blow someone up, and they will.”
Pink mist is a military term used to describe the blood that comes out of a sniper’s target when they are hit. Cumming was a member of the Australian army reserve for 10 years, where she was a medic.
Cumming later told reporters her comments referred to the Labor “red shirts” scandal and issued a statement saying she did not intend to “infer [sic] any physical harm to [Andrews] or anyone”.
“I can understand how some may have arrived at this interpretation, but I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not wish or call for any physical harm to come to Daniel Andrews,” she said.
Speaking in Narre Warren South on Sunday, Andrews refused to be drawn on Cumming’s comments, saying they were a matter for police. But he said Victoria was “much better than this”.
“We’re much better than violent extremism. We ought to leave that to the United States. This is not America, and I for one will do nothing to contribute to the Americanisation of our politics,” Andrews said.
“We’re putting a positive and optimistic plan to the Victorian community and then it will be their choice. I’ll leave it to others to defend their actions, their statements, their preference deals and indeed the conduct of their candidates. That’s a matter for them.”
Andrews’ final comments were in reference to the Victorian Liberal party, which has endured a string of controversies surrounding preselected candidates and preference deals during the campaign.
Opposition leader, Matthew Guy, was on Sunday forced to defend Liberal candidate for Narre Warren North, Timothy Dragan, who apologised after the Age reported comments he made a week earlier in which he railed against Aboriginal recognition, climate change and abortion, and described a senior MP as a “prick”.
“He’s not alone in this world for making silly comments and he’s apologised for the ones he made,” Guy told reporters in Bentleigh.
“Some of those were disrespectful. I know they were disrespectful. I saw what was printed. He apologised for those as he should.”
Guy also stood by Liberal state director, Sam McQuestin, for his handling of the pre-selection of another candidate, Renee Heath, who is linked to the conservative City Builders Church.
Heath is expected to be elected to parliament, given she occupies the top position on the Liberal party’s ticket for the eastern Victorian region, but Guy on Saturday said she will not be allowed to sit in the party room after reports in the Age.
“I wasn’t on the candidate selection process but I trust implicitly my party to do that work with the information they have at the time,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Guy announced that if elected next week, a Coalition government would bring back parliament as early as 19 December to repeal Victoria’s pandemic legislation and introduce legislation for several commitments made during the campaign, including to increase the stamp duty exemption threshold for first home buyers to $1m and impose a debt cap.
He also committed to introducing a new government app, which would allow Victorians to access their drivers licences, Myki and other government services online.
Labor, meanwhile, announced that if re-elected, it would spend $584m to establish 50 new low-cost childcare centres across the state by 2028.
It will also spend $159m to attract and retain early childhood educators.
Victorians go to the polls on 26 November, though a record number have voted early.