Don’t Trust Dictator Dan. (Duh!) By James Reed

     At least some figures of significance are coming out after dictator Dan.

“Former health minister Jenny Mikakos has suggested Premier Daniel Andrews may have lied to an inquiry established to find out how Victoria's second deadly wave of Covid-19 spread out of quarantined hotels. In August, on the final day of the hotel quarantine inquiry, Mr Andrews said he regarded Ms Mikakos and jobs minister Martin Pakula responsible for the hotel program when it began that weekend in March. But in an extraordinary response to the inquiry's closing submissions last week, Ms Mikakos said it was 'implausible' to suggest that no one made the decision to use private security in the failed quarantine program. Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria's deadly second wave of COVID infections, which in turn has led to more than 800 deaths of the elderly. The bungle is estimated to be costing Victoria anywhere up to $400 million a day with fears the current lockdown could run as high as $25 billion. Dozens of security guards ended up catching coronavirus from quarantined returned travellers while working in the hotels. The decision not to use the ADF should be considered by the Board as being inextricably linked to the decision to use private security.

'First, it is implausible to assert that 'the use of private security [was] not really a decision at all', but rather was 'arrived at by way of a creeping assumption, that took hold over a period perhaps a couple of hours, and that wasn't questioned by anyone',' Ms Mikakos stated. 'The Board ought to treat with caution the Premier's evidence where he sought to explain the reference to the use of private security in the Hotel Quarantine Program made by him during his media conference that commenced at 3 pm on 27 March 2020.' Mr Andrews had told the board he did not know why he mentioned private security at his press conference, but insisted he had not made the decision to use private security. 'It is submitted that had the decision not already been made by that time, the Premier would not have announced the use of private security in the program,' Ms Mikakos stated. In a long winded and self-serving document, Ms Mikakos pointed the finger at everyone and anyone over the failed hotel program. 'Some of these matters speak to a failure of ordinary principles of departmental reporting and accountability,' she stated. 'In this case, such failures occurred in extraordinary circumstances, in which the State of Victoria was facing an unprecedented global pandemic.'”

“Sky News host Peta Credlin has turned the screws on Premier Daniel Andrews as to why key phone records were withheld from Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry. Mr Andrews was grilled by Credlin, who was once former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott’s chief-of-staff, on why phone records  were not tendered to the hotel quarantine inquiry which might reveal who decided to use private security. Mr Andrews seemingly avoided a series of questions on the hotel quarantine scandal during his daily press conference in Melbourne on Friday. He insisted that phone records had not been requested by the inquiry, which was headed by Justice Jennifer Coate. At any point where this inquiry has sought more from the government, the answer has been yes,' Mr Andrews said. In a heated exchange, Credlin continued to press the premier to hand over the phone records to 'clear up' six crucial minutes where the decision to use private security guards appeared to have been made. 'For the avoidance of doubt, are you (Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary) Chris Eccles, and indeed your chief of staff prepared to prove your outgoing calls in that six minute period,' she asked. Mr Andrews snapped back that he had not been asked to hand them over. 'I am confident that if they believe there is a deficiency in the, or incompleteness in terms of the picture that they are working with, it is within their power to raise those matters,' he said. Under the law, the inquiry does not actually have the power to ask Mr Andrews for his phone records. 'It is not a power or ability open to Justice Coate,' Credlin told the premier. 'But you as an individual, your chief of staff and Mr Eccles can willingly provide that information now and completely clear up this six minute period that has been I think the subject of a lot of debate.'”

     Vote him out Victorians!



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Monday, 27 March 2023

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