Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has came under fire during a four hour parliamentary hearing on Friday over the perennial issue of who authorised the use of security guards for hotel quarantine and the failure to accept ADF support.
Since Mr Andrews claimed that ADF support was never offered, evidence has been produced to show ADF support was offered repeatedly by the federal government but Mr Andrews insists his evidence is consistent.
“I requested ADF to come to Victoria, not the other way ’round, it wasn’t offered, I requested it,” Mr Andrews told the parliamentary hearing.
“I’ve gone to these matters under oath, I have nothing to add to what I;’ve said under oath, if you look at my witness statement, my oral evidence and the numerous transcripts … the facts are absolutely consistent … each of us left the national cabinet [on March 27] with no expectation, no expectation of significant and substantial ADF support … I’ve been absolutely consistent and clear,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews’ also insisted no final decision had been made when he spoke at a 3pm press conference on that Friday March 27, despite mentioning the use of private security.
“I gave a press conference …. but clearly indicated … many of the key details … would not be able to be answered at that doorstop because they had not been settled yet,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews was again asked about what was discussed when former Secretary of the Premier’s Department Chris Eccles, left national cabinet to call Mr Andrews’ chief of staff, but said there was nothing suspicious about the call.
“The current secretary and the previous secretary and where relevant other senior public servants where relevant speak with my chief of staff on a very regular basis,” Mr Andrews said.
The hotel quarantine inquiry held its final hearing on Friday before it reported in the days before Christmas. New documents, including telephone records from Mr Andrews’ chief of staff are expected to be released around 3pm.
“If we just wait a short number of days, I’m confident that the board will deliver on a timeline it has outlined and the nature of that report, the contents of that report, I don’t know what will be in that report,” Mr Andrews said.