Dan Andrews issues bombshell apology
Daniel Andrews has apologised for the failings of the state's first hotel quarantine program, saying there will be people "missing from the Christmas table on Friday" as a result of the disastrous scheme.
Speaking publicly on the report's findings since they were released on Monday morning the Victorian Premier offered his government's sympathies and condolences to everyone affected by the deadly coronavirus second wave - triggered by hotel quarantine.
"I want to apologise to the Victorian community for the very clear errors that were made in this program. I think that the way in which the program was established, it had to be done quickly," Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.
"To those who lost a loved one in the first wave and those who lost a loved one in the second, all we can do is offer our support, our sincere apology, our sorrow at their loss.
"This will be an incredibly difficult week. There will be … people missing from the Christmas dinner table on Friday and I am deeply sorry and saddened by that.
"But my commitment is to not only apologise, but to also offer my commitment to make sure that we do everything we possibly can to learn these lessons and make sure that these sort of mistakes, these sorts of failings, can never be repeated again."
Mr Andrews said if he could "turn back the clock" he would receive "daily reports on what happens in hotel quarantine".
He admitted Judge Jennifer Coate's findings pointed to serious failings in oversight and structural integrity.
"If we could have a system of oversight that was, I think, the best in the country back then, as we do now, then, of course, we would put those steps in place," he said.
"But none of us have the ability to change history. We can only learn those lessons and make sure that the reforms and the changes that are essential are made to make it far less likely that these sorts of errors could ever occur again."
The fatally flawed hotel quarantine program sparked Victoria's second wave, which infected more than 18,000 people, killed 801 and plunged the state into a hard lockdown.
Mr Andrews said the government was working to rectify all of the inquiry's recommendations in the reset hotel quarantine program.
But Opposition leader Michael O'Brien called for Mr Andrews to resign over the damning findings and called for a Royal Commission into uncovering "the truth the Coate Inquiry could not find".
"Every Victorian paid a shocking price for this Labor Government's disastrous Hotel Quarantine failures," he said.
"801 people paid with their lives. But today there are no answers. There is no accountability. Nobody is taking responsibility.
"Daniel Andrews has failed Victorians and refuses to take responsibility for the largest public policy failure in our state's history."
Originally published as Dan Andrews issues bombshell apology