‘Don’t trust Chairman Dan’s evidence’: Stunning twist in the inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine fiasco as ex-health minister suggests Andrews knew all about deadly decision that threw state into lockdown
- Jenny Mikakos claims the hotel quarantine disaster was not her fault
- Claims ‘failure of ordinary principles of departmental reporting’ by underlings
- Claimed department secretary reported directly to Premier Daniel Andrews
- Ms Mikakos has now suggested the premier for bringing in private security
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.
Last month, 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.
Premier Daniel Andrews swore on the bible atthe inquiry to tell the whole truth and nothing but it
Former health minister Jenny Mikakos quit after Daniel Andrews blamed her for the deadly second wave of COVID-19
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 700 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.
‘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.
‘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.’
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.’
COVID-19 leaked out of The Stamford by security guards employed by the Victorian Government
Premier’s evidence ought be treated with CAUTION
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’.
With respect, such a submission has insufficient regard to the realities of governmental operation and decision-making. In this regard, it is respectfully submitted that 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.
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. In this regard, it is observed that no evidence was led about what briefings were provided to the Premier by his office in advance of that media conference.
Ms Mikakos said the premier’s evidence that he regarded her as accountable for the Hotel Quarantine Program following a Crisis Council of Cabinet meeting on April 8 was ‘not consistent with the joint submission endorsed by the Crisis Council of Cabinet on that date’.
‘It would be a nonsense … Ms Mikakos, to be considered to be solely responsible and solely accountable for the Hotel Quarantine Program during the relevant period, by reason of the DHHS’s “control agency” status in respect of the pandemic as a whole,’ she stated.