MEMBER for Morwell, Martin Cameron has joined a chorus of people outraged by the King’s Birthday honour bestowed upon former Premier, Daniel Andrews.

Mr Andrews was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in this year’s King Birthday honours list – the nation’s highest honour.

In the citation, Mr Andrews, who resigned as Premier last September, was awarded “for eminent service to the people and Parliament of Victoria, to public health, to policy and regulatory reform and to infrastructure development”.

Despite serving as Labor premier for a record nine years, critics have called into question how Mr Andrews could be recognised for his service to public health given his leadership during the COVID-era.

“Victorians were subjected to the most draconian lockdown measures in the world by Daniel Andrews during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Cameron said.

“People haven’t forgotten how cruel and non-sensical the lockdowns were, and many are still wearing the emotional and financial toll today.

“The bungled hotel quarantine program cost the lives of almost 800 Victorians, and the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine lagged behind other states.”

A petition has been launched by Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh, calling for the support of Victorians to have the “inappropriate and unjustified” Companion of the Order of Australia removed by the Governor General, David Hurley AC.

Former Victorian Liberal Premier, Jeff Kennett has also written to the Governor General seeking to have Mr Andrews’ honour rescinded.

Mr Andrews led Labor to three consecutive state election victories – the last two (in 2018 and 2022) in total landslides.

In the safe National Party seats of Gippsland though, Mr Andrews faced no shortage of opposition on local issues.

His legacy was tarnished in Gippsland due to a number of controversial decisions, such the cessation of native timber harvesting, the botched electric vehicle factory in Morwell, and the cancellation of the 2026 Commonwealth Games, which was to have events in the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Andrew’s also announced a return of the State Electricity Commission as part of an election promise, although it was recently revealed there was only a single employee working in the Morwell SEC office.

Mr Andrews faced tough criticism from rank-and-file voters for hardly ever getting out on the road and visiting regional towns past Traralgon to hear their concerns.

A comment piece by former Gippsland Times journalist Sarah Allman titled ‘Our Premier missing in action’, was presented to Mr Andrews by Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien in 2019.

“Daniel Andrews failed Victorians, and his ill-conceived actions have lumped the state with record debt that will take generations to repay,” Mr Cameron said.

“Instead of managing money responsibly, Labor has passed responsibility onto Victorians in the form of land tax which is crippling people across the state.

“This is just one of the 55 new or increased taxes Victorians have been slapped with since the start of Daniel Andrews’ reign as Premier.

“The Companion of the Order of Australia is a prestigious award that should be reserved for people who have made outstanding contributions in their community – not a former Premier who failed the state of Victoria.”

Others however, such as Mr Andrews’ successor Jacinta Allan, have backed the honour, saying it was totally justified.

“Daniel led the state through some of the most difficult and challenging times,” she said.

“This is an entirely appropriate and an important recognition of the enormous contribution Daniel Andrews, and his family, have made.”

Mr Andrews has remained largely absent from public life since his resignation, and did not even take to social media to acknowledge his King’s Birthday Honour last week.

He did however release a statement, thanking the Victorian people for their support.

“I’m honoured to have been nominated for this award and grateful to every Victorian who contributed to some of our state’s best times and who worked so hard to see us through our most challenging,” he said.

“I thank the Victorian community for their support for me and my team in leading our state for nine years. That remains the greatest honour of my life.”

Mr Andrews’ name will now appear as The Honourable Daniel Michael Andrews OAM on official correspondents.

This is not the first time the credibility of a country’s national order has been called into question. The England Test cricket team were all awarded MBEs (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2005 after beating Australia and reclaiming the Ashes for the first time in close to 20 years.