Parliament report slam Labor's COVID response

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

A report by almost all non-government members tasked to scrutinise the handling of Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the state’s second wave, has pointed the finger at Daniel Andrews for his Government’s political cover-up and lack of transparent answers.

Labor’s botched Hotel Quarantine program resulted in 801 Victorian lives being lost, more than 200,000 jobs lost and millions forced to endure 111 days of harsh lockdowns.

‘The Minority Report’ tabled to Parliament today was authored by four of the five non-government members of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee and has revealed 58 findings and 17 recommendations.

The report has identified flaws in the process with the entire Committee being stacked by Labor members. It found the Committee ‘dominated by Labor Government members and chaired by a Labor Government member, with both a deliberative and a casting vote on all matters, would never deliver the necessary critical examination or accountability necessary in this crisis.’ It's like a criminal’s family to be on the jury of their trial.

Victorians deserve answers, not cover-up or spin from Daniel Andrews, and no more “we don’t recall”.

The report revealed ‘Ministers would regularly avoid answering questions, the Labor Chair of the Committee would go to incredible lengths to interrupt questioning, waste time or even mute non-government members’ microphones on matters that Ministers were sensitive about. Legitimate questions were even ruled out of order with no explanation.’

The report concluded that given the ‘failings of this Committee and the limitations placed on the Coate Hotel Quarantine Inquiry, we consider that nothing short of a Royal Commission is required to properly interrogate the Andrews Labor Government and put Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the microscope.’

The Minority Report was authored by PAEC Deputy Chair Richard Riordan, Member for Evelyn, Bridget Vallence, Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien and Member for South Eastern Metropolitan, David Limbrick. The Minority Report can be found here.

In regards to the PAEC ‘majority’ report tabled today, the non-government members of the Committee find it completely unacceptable that the main report approved by the Labor majority fails to mention the 801 Victorians that lost their lives to the second wave outbreak, and fails to fully scrutinise who and how decisions were made about the fatally flawed Hotel Quarantine program.

Comments attributable to Deputy Chair of the Public Accounts and Estimates committee , Richard Riordan:

“Nothing short of a Royal Commission is required to properly interrogate the Andrews Labor Government and put Victoria’s abysmal response to the COVID-19 pandemic under the microscope.”

Comments attributable to PAEC Committee Member and Member for Evelyn, Bridget Vallence:

“Daniel Andrews repeatedly says he takes responsibility for the actions of his Government, so we’re calling on him to take responsibility for his Government’s fatal actions.

“The loss of more than 800 lives was entirely preventable and these Victorians should not be forgotten, and their families deserve to know the truth. They deserve to know how a program which was intended to keep Victorians safe, in fact spread COVID-19, infecting thousands of Victorians.”

Bridget Vallence MP

MEMBER FOR EVELYN

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© 2020 by Bridget Vallence MP

Authorised by Bridget Vallence MP, 143 Main Street Lilydale 3140

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bridget.vallence@parliament.vic.gov.au

03 9735 3208