Aussies locked down by ego-driven cowboy

by PAUL COLLITS & SEAN BURKE – AUSTRALIA’s world-record lockdowns have been declared illegal in a submission to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal. 

According to the submission, Victoria’s State of Emergency – declared on March 16, 2020 – was based on “an imaginary, computer-generated threat” and not anything real, tangible, immediate or identifiable. 

Victoria’s departing Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is accused of basing his entire lockdown assessment on unsubstantiated, unsupported hearsay. And, he seemingly agrees.

Victoria’s departing Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is accused of relying solely on anonymous and unsubstantiated reports that he “accepted as being true and accurate” despite not having a shred of supporting evidence.

At the tribunal hearing, Sutton adduced that he completely relied on reports received from persons he couldn’t identify – and by means he, also, couldn’t identify. These “mystery” reports allegedly informed him there were 48 confirmed positive COVID-19 infections.


In cross examination, Sutton admitted he had not viewed any patient medical records, had not had any patient details, nor had he made any requests for further information – and that he had simply accepted the reports as being true and accurate.

The former reality TV personality insisted during cross examination that positive identification of alleged infections prior to March 15, 2020, came via “approved” PCR tests – yet no blood tests were ordered to support the results.

Shockingly, he later acknowledged that there had been no approved PCR tests at the time and, therefore, the alleged positive results could not have come from any “approved” tests.

Furthermore, having admitted he had no first-hand knowledge of the details surrounding the confirmation of infection, he was unable to say how any positive identification was made.

Prof Sutton has been accused of basing his entire assessment on unsubstantiated, unsupported hearsay.

The former Victorian Chief Health Officer was, also, unable to identify who had advised him of the declaration of a State of Emergency – nor how he found out about it.

He submitted as evidence that he had never seen the actual declaration and that he was simply informed by someone that a declaration had been made, but that he could not identify who or when or how he was notified.

He suggested it may have been by email but was unable to produce a copy.

Having no evidence upon which to rely, Prof Sutton was accused of being unable to satisfy himself that a State of Emergency declaration was properly and lawfully declared – or that it was executed by an authorised person, namely a Minister of the State.

Yet, Prof Sutton and his Labor mates have, so far, avoided responsibility for their deceptive and harmful mess.

What a way to run a State. It has painstakingly becoming clear that a State of Emergency was unnecessary and resulted in massive pain and suffering to Victorians.

Suffering that will be felt for years and decades to come.

That Sutton didn’t even see the declaration, and therefore, confirm the legality of the State of Emergency, is a blight on his already tarnished record.

Little wonder he is running from the building.

Finally, we should not forget “slug-gate”, the closing of a food business and (unproven) allegations of perverting the course of justice – against Brett Sutton, the Department of Health and Dandenong Council.

Sutton had been in the public eye well before COVID.

Slug-gate was a very seedy affair, yet so typical of the governance of Victoria.

I Cook Foods was closed in 2019 after an elderly woman died in Knox Private Hospital, which the caterer supplied, with listeriosis suspected as a contributing factor in her death.


Allegations before a parliamentary inquiry have included council officers planting a slug at the business and doctoring evidence, which business owner Ian Cook believes was part of a concerted push to shut him down.

Mr Cook has alleged his business was considered a commercial threat to Dandenong Council’s partly owned catering company, Community Chef.

At the time, former Dandenong Council food inspector Kim Rogerson told an inquiry the council was operating under a culture of corruption and bullying, and accused the council of wanting to “destroy” I Cook Foods.

Network Nine reported: “Brett Sutton’s tone is alarming as he underscores the danger faced by Victorians.

“Potentially thousands of people have been exposed,” he declared. “We don’t know the level of listeria contamination that might have occurred.”

In response, Sutton announced that he had ordered the closure of I Cook Foods and the destruction of ten tonnes of their food products.

To the public it seemed like decisive action by the health department bureaucrat, who would later become Victoria’s public face of the COVID pandemic.

To the company at the centre of the “emergency” – I Cook Foods – it was devastating. It will never recover from the closure, sacking its entire 41-strong workforce, including some with disabilities and crashing out of business.

It will not even be able to sell its surplus canned-goods with the I Cook brand, so tarnished is its reputation.

But experts on Under Investigation with Liz Hayes have said that Professor Sutton’s urgency and alarm was misplaced.

His claimed risk to the Victorian public was overstated, the experts said, and the evidence he used to name, shame and shut down I Cook Foods was shaky at best.

“When you go down a path like that, you’ve got to be absolutely sure of your facts – and there’s no way known this guy was sure of his facts,” former Victorian detective Paul Brady told Liz Hayes.

Brady, who spent three years investigating the case, said ignorance was no excuse when the future of a company hung in the balance.

At the time of Brett Sutton’s press conference there was no doubt left in the minds of the media that it was an imminent threat to public health and safety.

As journalist and author Andrew Rule told Under Investigation: “The Chief Health Officer came out and said this could kill thousands. It was an enormously public and dramatic stage-managed event.”

But was it all an extreme overreaction?

Knox Council health inspector Ray Christy, who was sent to investigate the Knox Private Hospital listeria case, directly contradicted what Brett Sutton had told the public.


Christy said he found no evidence that I Cook Foods was the source of the listeria infection at the hospital.

“In my opinion, there wasn’t a link between the patient’s death and the food provided by I Cook Foods,” he told Under Investigation’s panel. “I couldn’t find it as a result of my investigation.”

Christy raised the possibility that the company had been ruined for no reason.

Questionable? Indeed. Over-reaction. No evidence. Ruined for no reason. Dramatic. Stage managed.

Does this sound at all familiar, post-COVID?

Brett Sutton as Chief Health Officer signed the closure order for the business.

Then he misspoke in sworn testimony at a parliamentary inquiry. He said things that were later found to be untrue.

The science was not in on slug-gate and the source of the listeria. Again, does this sound at all familiar? What a cowboy.

Slug-gate might well be seen as a dress rehearsal for the massively greater false alarm that Sutton raised a mere year later.

There is a clear pattern in Sutton’s career of playing fast and loose. Very fast and very loose, it appears.

The case of Sutton and the rest of the COVID gang shows, once again, that reputation protection is really the only game in town, and there is literally nothing that perpetrators will say or do to ensure they remain in the clear.

And so, off he goes to a further stage of his glittering career, while the rest of us still scratch our heads and say, what just happened?PC

Paul Collits

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Brett Sutton. (courtesy The Age)
This article was written by Paul Collits with input from Sean Burke.

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