Dan Andrews grilled over comment about ADF support

Dan Andrews grilled over comment about ADF support

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been grilled over a previous statement he made during a fiery press conference.

While announcing 28 new virus cases and three more deaths, the Premier was hounded by journalists over whether he would provide clear answers around whose decision it was to allow security guards to oversee hotel quarantine, instead of the Australian Defence Force.

It comes after Chris Eccles – Victoria’s most powerful bureaucrat – admitted on Monday he did not know why private guards were used as security in hotel quarantine.

At Tuesday’s coronavirus press conference Premier Daniel Andrews said he stood by his statement to parliament last month about the lack of ADF support for the state’s hotel quarantine program.

Mr Andrews said on August 11: “It is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no.”

Evidence submitted to the state‘s hotel quarantine inquiry has continued to indicate otherwise.

But Mr Andrews stood by his comments: “I made comments on the matters and I stand by the comments I made and, again, I’m not interested in adding to those comments.

“It‘s not for any of us here to be pretending to do the work that the inquiry is doing. It’s getting on with its job. Let’s let it do that. At the end of that process we’ll be in a position where we can look at the findings that they make, the recommendations they hand down, and have a much more expansive discussion.”

He was then repeatedly asked about the efficacy of the inquiry, where a string of officials are continuing to claim ignorance on the ADF issue.

“When the process is finished, we‘ll be able to speak not about what might happen, but what indeed has happened and that I think is a much more productive discussion,” he said.

“That will be a conversation based in fact and finding rather than the obvious speculation that you‘re inviting.”

He was then grilled on whether he could clarify comments he made on August 11, but repeatedly refused.

Mr Andrews was due to front the inquiry on Wednesday, but during the press conference it was confirmed – and then put to Mr Andrews – that his time had been pushed back to Friday at 2.15pm.

When asked about the delay, Mr Andrews said it was “a matter for the Board of Inquiry”.