Comm Games Con: And Suddenly, Dan Andrews Doesn’t Look Like The Smartest Man In The Room Anymore


A long time ago, when I was still a teenager, I worked briefly for the Westpac Banking Corporation as an ‘interbank settlements officer’. My job was to process foreign exchange deals between banks, by depositing the proceeds into the appropriate accounts.

At the time, I also had a second job, as a security officer. So during the day, I worked at the bank, and during the night I worked in the control room of the security company, monitoring the alarms of business premises all over Sydney.

I did neither job particularly well, partly because they were mind-numbingly boring but mostly because I was always sleep-deprived. That’s how, in the space of a week, I came to lose both jobs: at the security company, because I slept through a break-in at a St Ives shopping mall, which saw about 10 shops get cleaned out; and at the bank, because I lost $300 million after depositing it into the wrong account.

Yes, you read that right: $300 million. I can’t remember the exact details, but from memory I put the money in ‘Hong Kong Westpac’ and I should have put it in ‘HSBC Taipei’… or something like that. Whatever the case, by the end of the week they’d found the lost funds, but Westpac had to pay interest nightly while it was missing.

I think it cost them about $80,000 or thereabouts, and so late on a Friday I was called in for a meeting and it was quietly suggested I might like to find employment elsewhere. The moral to the story being, if you lose $300 million, you’re probably going to be asked to resign, even if they recover $299,920,000 of it.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews appears to have lost more than $300 million. I think you can see where I’m heading with this.

Over the weekend, news broke that in order to extract taxpayers from a $4.5 billion overrun on costs to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games, the Victorian Government would have to pay the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) $380 million in compensation.

While you pick yourself back up off the floor… also over the weekend, I published an article that suggested Dan Andrews was the ‘smartest man in the room’ for pulling out of 2026 Games, particularly in light of Canada’s decision to abandon their bid for the 2030 event.

My broad theory was that the Games were a stupid, big hole to pour money into, and had been in decline for decades, if they were ever really worth attending in the first place. However, I did not know when I wrote that piece that the Commonwealth Games was run by a criminal enterprise.

So my first question is: how long does the Commonwealth Games Federation really expect to get away with this swindle? Because that’s quite a business model they appear to have developed. Let’s break it down, shall we?

The CGF originally awarded the ‘rights’ for someone else to pay for their ‘party’ to Durban in South Africa. But Durban apparently didn’t have enough money, at least not to the satisfaction of the CGF. So the CGF cancelled the event, and stripped Durban of the rights to host. After no-one else wanted to jump in and fill the hole, Victoria stepped up and said they’d give it a shot. For that ‘honour’, Victoria was to pay $2 billion. But when it subsequently emerged that the real bill was going to be closer to $7 billion, Victoria decided they didn’t want to host the CGF’s party after all. So the CGF has now sent Victoria a bill for $380 million.

Nice work if you can get it.

Do you know what this feels like? Getting sued by your child’s ex-fiancee for the cost of a wedding you promised to finance, but cancelled when you found out he was wanted in five states for bank robbery. And the more you look into it, the deeper this scam appears to run.

Do you know who the ‘patron’ of the Commonwealth Games Federation is? It’s the “late Queen Elizabeth”. That’s presumably so that if they ever get hauled into court for extortion, they can try and pin it all on the ‘dead Godmother’ (and for the record, the ‘Vice-Patron’ is “HRH The Duke of Edinburgh”… her dead husband).

If you’re interested, the CGF are already rubbing salt in the wounds this morning, with this statement released overnight:

“The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), Commonwealth Games Federation Partnerships (CGFP), Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) and the State of Victoria have settled all their disputes regarding the cancellation of the multi-hub regional Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.

In July 2023 the Victorian Government announced its decision to withdraw from hosting the 2026 Games. Following that decision, the affected parties have been involved in confidential good faith negotiations.”

All parties engaged respectfully and made appropriate concessions in order to reach an agreement. The State of Victoria has agreed to pay the Commonwealth Games parties (CGF CGFP and CGA) AUD $380 million.”

That’s quite a ‘concession’ on our part. I wonder what theirs was? They won’t film themselves getting drunk and snorting cocaine off the bums of their servants as they celebrate pissing off with hundreds of millions of someone else’s money?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know, because, “The parties are legally bound not to speak further regarding the details of the settlement.”

In other words, ‘Give us some money, and then piss off.’ Does it get anymore more ‘British’ and ‘Windsor’ than that?

I’m not even a Victorian taxpayer and I’m outraged by it. I keep imagining King Charles sitting around in Buckingham Palace in a dressing gown and boxer shorts with a cigarette hanging out one side of his mouth, licking his fingers and counting out $380 million in cash, surrounded by spivs in shiny suits who can’t stop laughing at how stupid the ‘Antipodeans’ are.

Speaking of which, while it’s tempting to ‘hang, draw and quarter’ Dan Andrews for the fiasco, it’s actually not his fault the price tag blew out so much. Andrews didn’t create a cost of living crisis. He didn’t invade Ukraine (although you get the impression that Sky News genuinely thinks he did). But equally, all of a sudden he doesn’t look like the smartest man in the room anymore. Unfortunately, hanging out with anything even remotely associated with the ‘Royals’ can have that effect on a person.

Of course, Andrews doesn’t look like the dumbest man in the room either. That would be the guy who just went ahead despite the $5 billion blowout in costs. Or actually, maybe that’s the ‘dumbest man in the room’, but the ‘smartest politician in the room’… the guy who pisses an obscene amount of taxpayer money up the wall, and then buggers off before he’s ever held electorally accountable for it. You know, like John Howard spent much of his Prime Ministership doing.

On that front, I’ve got some admiration for Dan Andrews in coming forward and ‘doing the honourable thing’: fessing up to the ginormous, steaming fraud of which his government has been stung.

I think admitting error shows good leadership. Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie invented the tactic towards the end of the last century. It proved so popular Beattie started trying to take credit for other peoples’ mistakes. Still, he never lost $380 million. You just can’t lose that much money and expect to keep your job, regardless of whose fault it is.

On the upside, you can’t steal $380 million and expect to maintain a relationship with the person/s you pinched the money from, regardless of whether you’re a thieving bank like Westpac, or a ‘Nigerian Prince’ like the Commonwealth Games Federation.

So, while here may soon lie the grave of Daniel Michael Andrews, 48th Premier of Victoria, here definitely lies the grave of the Commonwealth Games.

Only a mug, or a British city, would get involved with them now.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.