Dear Dan, please do Victorians a favour and take a break

Dear Premier,

With the greatest respect, please do Victorians a favour and go to sleep. At least 12 hours of sleep. Victoria won’t cave in while you are sleeping.

Daniel Andrews addresses the media at the daily press conference.Credit:Daniel Pockett

You haven’t rested properly since the bushfires ripped through eastern Victoria months ago. The mental and physical exhaustion of managing this pandemic must take its toll. Dan, we know you feel the heavy weight of protecting us. And that’s admirable.

But leadership is all about maximising the available resources and delegating effectively. It’s about bringing the best experts together to solve problems. Independent experts. Bipartisan working groups.

You say you don’t expect anyone to work harder than you. Working too hard is not sensible; working smart will create better outcomes. Victoria is the smart state; make it count through your leadership.

Empowering and trusting those around you will achieve better outcomes. Empower your ministers to manage their portfolios, allow them to inform the media regularly and engage with the experts.

There’s no reason why Professor Brett Sutton can’t lead a media session as Chief Health Officer – or your deputy, James Merlino. He’s a seasoned politician, working at local and state level for more than two decades.

You say you won’t stop until this virus is defeated. Brave and strong? Perhaps. Sensible? No. Realistic? No. You feel the need to lead the troops with gusto. Careful. It looks like a one-man band. It will drain you and eventually affect your health. It’s impossible to be across every ounce of detail.

Recharging yourself daily will allow you to make sensible decisions. Living on little sleep can play havoc with your mind. Your mind might become accident-prone in the form of brain fades.

The army offers help. Not necessary, you say. The Prime Minister offers support. Scott Morrison’s support isn’t visible. Things are getting testy. There’s widespread backlash over lockdown measures. It’s not the right time to manage spot fires, which may result in raging infernos.

You have a wonderful family. There is no doubt your wife and children need your time. They are your priority. You can lead effectively and still give your family the time they deserve. All Victorians want to play their role to navigate through this crisis. Allow each team member to use their skills to support us. Take care of yourself so you can support Victorians in the best possible way. It’s your role, after all.

Julie Tullberg is a Monash University journalism lecturer with training in psychology, management and leadership.

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