Peta Credlin launches ANOTHER scathing attack on Dan Andrews for hotel quarantine cover up as she reveals the one that could unlock the truth about fatal decision to use security guards
- Sky News host Peta Credlin grilled Daniel Andrews over hotel quarantine fiasco
- Questioned Victorian Premier over phone records not tendered to the inquiry
- Victorian government decided to use private security for botched program
- Credlin has launched another attack on Andrews, accusing him of a cover up
- Reiterated her calls for Mr Andrews to hand over phone records from March 27
- Mr Andrews has confirmed he’ll hand them over after a request from inquiry
Peta Credlin has unleashed another extraordinary attack on Daniel Andrews and accused him of a cover up over the botched hotel quarantine program that sparked Victoria’s deadly second wave.
Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff took the Victorian Premier to task in a heated exchange during his daily coronavirus press briefing on Friday.
Credlin demanded to know why phone records were not tendered to the hotel quarantine inquiry which could settle once and for all whose decision it was to use private security guards instead of ADF personnel.
In her weekly NewsCorp column, Credlin went one further and challenged Mr Andrews to not only release his own phone records but that of his key ministers and staff including his chief of staff Lissie Ratcliff.
Peta Credlin challenged Mr Andrews to not only release his own phone records but that of his key ministers and staff, including his chief of staff Lissie Ratcliff (pictured)
Peta Credlin (pictured on Friday) had some tough questions for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in her first press conference as a member of the media
‘He shouldn’t need to be asked to do this by the inquiry. He should volunteer it in the public interest,’ she wrote.
‘He must do it if we are to respect the dead by getting to the truth of what went so catastrophically wrong.’
Mr Andrews has since said he will hand over his phone records from the day of hotel quarantine announcement on March 27 following a request from the inquiry on Saturday night.
‘Each and every record they’ve sought, they’ll get,’ he told reporters on Sunday.
“It will be done as soon as possible,” he said.
The decision to use private security guards sparked a second wave that caused 800 deaths and plunged Melbourne into lockdown.
The Sky News host has reiterated calls to Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured on Saturday) to hand over his phone records over who made the decision to use private security guards
Five million Melbunians have now entered their 12th week of Stage Four lockdown, which is likely to be extended further.
Credlin says the fatal decision was made at some point on March 27 shortly after a National Cabinet meeting.
However the Sky News host said she doesn’t blame Andrews for the bad decision but does condemn him for trying to cover it up.
‘As always in political crises like this, it’s the cover up that brings the leader down,’ she writes.
Credlin believes a clear decision was made by Premier’s own office about the security guards which was then communicated to then Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton.
The COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry headed by Justice Jennifer Coate has called on an array of ministers and public servants to give evidence but all have dodged the all important question of who was responsible.
Credlin speculates that this may well be due to Victoria’s powerful new industrial manslaughter rules which could see them jailed for up to 25 years or face a fine of up to $16.5m.
Faced with weeks of watching politicians dodging blame Credlin took matters into her own hands on Friday, saying in her column that she couldn’t take the spin any longer.
Peta Credlin has taken Premier Daniel Andrews to task at a press conference in Melbourne on Friday
Timeline to disaster: How the decision to employ private security came to be
Premier Daniel Andrews swore on the bible at the inquiry to tell the whole truth and nothing but it
Mr Andrews visibly uncomfortable when he was asked when he was grilled by Credlin about phone records in front of other journalists.
‘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 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.’
Victoria chose to go alone and use private security guards instead police and defence force personnel for its hotel quarantine program, which was subject to a recent inquiry
March 27, 1.12PM: Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw and them Victoria Police chief Graham Ashton commence a text exchange where Mr Ashton advises ADF will do passenger transfers
At 1.32PM, Mr Ashton advises the decision to use private security has been made by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. He has told the inquiry he cannot remember who it was who told him
The inquiry had heard previously that former Police Chief Graham Ashton had received a call from someone within the premier’s department telling him that the decision to use private security had been made.
But he couldn’t remember who had told him.
A clearly agitated premier, told Credlin if the inquiry had not asked him the question, he had no intention of telling her.
‘With the greatest of respect, if you’re putting it to me that somehow you’ve got the power to make a request of me, but the board doesn’t, that’s just not right,’ Mr Andrew said.
‘I don’t agree with the notion that now you and your network have an ability to put something to me and make a request of me but the board of inquiry doesn’t. The board has that power.’
The stoush followed a suggestion by former health minister Jenny Mikakos that Mr Andrews may have lied to the inquiry.
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.
Bumbling security guards took COVID-19 home with them and spread it through the community
Peta Credlin turned a blowtorch on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday
Quarantine breaches involving private security guards seeded 99 per cent of Victoria’s deadly second wave of COVID infections.
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.’
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.’
Former health minister Jenny Mikakos quit after Daniel Andrews blamed her for the deadly second wave of COVID-19
The disastrous decision to employ private security at hotels has cost the lives off 800 Victorians
Jobs minister Martin Pakula’s department was responsible initially for the hotel quarantine program
COVID-19 leaked out of The Stamford by security guards employed by the Victorian Government
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’.