FACT CHECK: Did Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews Say, ‘Insisting On Human Rights Is Not Only Selfish, It’s Stupid’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

An Instagram post claims Daniel Andrews, the premier of Australia’s Victoria state, once said, “Insisting on human rights is not only selfish, it’s stupid.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Nothing should stand above human rights. Nothing! #covid19 #coronavirus #melbournelockdown

A post shared by Matt Lawson Photography (@mattlawsonphotography) on

Verdict: False

There is no record of Andrews making the statement in the post. It appears be a hyperbolic embellishment from a satire article based on an actual quote Andrews said.

Fact Check:

Andrews, the leader of the Australian state of Victoria’s government, instituted measures meant to help curb the spread of coronavirus effective 11:59 p.m. local time Sept. 13, including issuing a curfew of 9 p.m. and restricting travel to essential purposes, per Victoria’s Health and Human Services website. Some Victorian citizens have protested these restrictions, and Federal Liberal MP Tim Wilson has reportedly asked for an investigation to see if the restrictions violate human rights, according to SBS News.

An image shared on Instagram claims Andrews has openly disparaged those protesting the restrictions, saying, “In fact, you’d be surprised at how much can be avoided if people stop insisting on their personal freedoms. Because insisting on human rights is not only selfish, it’s stupid.” (RELATED: Did Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison Tweet, ‘I’m So Glad We Don’t Have Any Racism Here In Australia’?)

While Andrews has defended the coronavirus mitigation measures, the Daily Caller News Foundation could not find any evidence to corroborate that he said the quote attributed to him in the Instagram post. A search of Andrews’ verified Twitter account, @DanielAndrewsMP, turned up no instances of him making the remark. Had the state leader make the comment, it likely would have been reported on by Australian media outlets, but none have done so. A Victorian government spokesperson confirmed to the Australian Associated Press that Andrews never made the alleged comment.

The misattributed quote appears to originate from a Sept. 15 satire article published by The Spectator Australia that appeared to poke fun at Andrews’ stance on Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions. While the Spectator article includes a clear disclaimer that reads, “Drongo alert: what follows is satire,” the Instagram post does not include such a warning, presenting the quote as factual.

The fabricated quote from the satire article appears to be a hyperbolic embellishment of one of the state leader’s actual quotes. During a Sept. 13 press conference, Andrews said, “Protesting is not only selfish, but it’s stupid.”

Andrews’ office did not return a request for comment.

UPDATE: This article has been updated to add the factual quote that the hyperbolic embellishment was based on.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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