The self-made millionaire founder of Jim’s Mowing has upped the ante on his war with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with another scathing open letter.
David ‘Jim’ Penman has written to the the state’s leader for the third time in as many weeks about how harsh lockdowns have destroyed the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of Victorians.
Melbourne is in Stage 4 lockdown while the rest of Victoria is in Stage 3 as the battle to control the state’s second deadly wave of new infections continues.
Sole business operators were initially permitted to continue working alone at sites under the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services before Mr Andrews abolished the exemption a week after the latest lockdowns were enforced August 2.
Mr Penman followed up his latest letter with another furious tirade on Premier Andrews, labeling him a dangerous man.
‘He is the worst political figure Australia has had in my lifetime,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday.
‘No other leader has done as much damage he has caused by plunging a knife into the heart of the state.’
‘The longer he remains in office, the more dangerous and toxic he becomes.’
‘He has shut down an entire industry by rejecting detailed guidelines drawn out by his own government department.’
Adding to Mr Penman’s fury was a photo emailed to him of a maintenance worker without a face mask mowing lawns at a school in Caulfield, in Melbourne’s south-east.
‘What I find outrageous is that school and council workers are fine to work in a group but a sole operator working alone with no contact with the public can’t,’ he said.
‘My inbox is inundated with terrible stories. On Saturday, I got a call from a woman on a bridging visa who had just bought a dog-washing business.
‘She has been left completely destitute and can’t even buy food.’
In his latest letter, Mr Penman asked the Premier why he overturned the expert advice of his own health department and what evidence he has of sole operators with no contact with other workers or the public being serious risk to public health?
‘Your bungled hotel quarantine program has brought the state of Victoria to its knees,’ Mr Penman wrote on Thursday.
‘Small businesses are the lifeblood of Victoria’s economy. You have pushed a knife through their heart.’
‘If you don’t have the decency to provide answers, then you do not deserve to remain as Premier.’
The only response Mr Penman says he’s received from the Premier is a comment made at a press conference that he would not depart from the advice given by experts.
‘But, Mr Premier, this is exactly what YOU have done,’ Mr Penman said.
‘Mr Premier, mum and dad businesses may not support your Party with fundraising dinners and union dues, but they are still Victorians who deserve your respect. They deserve your answers.
He ended his letter by urging Victorians to demand answers from their leader.
‘To fight this infection we must make sacrifices, but the sacrifices should be both necessary and fair. Anything else undermines our unity and the support for any restrictions,’ he pleaded.
Mr Penman remains hopeful lockdown restrictions will soon ease and vowed to continue hounding the Premier for answers.
‘I haven’t forgotten him,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘What I find incomprehensible is why his own party is putting up with this man and the dreadful mistakes he’s made.’
Melbourne was plunged into Stage 4 lockdown on August 2, where residents are required to carry permits to go to work, and need to carry a piece of paper signed by their employer when outside of their homes.
The rest of Victoria is in Stage 3 lockdown, with people only allowed to leave for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping or medical appointments.