LNP rejects Daniel Andrews' view on ADF support offer
Opposition's Michael O'Brien says the Premier has "lied" to parliament after the Federal Defence Minister clarified multiple offers for Australian Defence Force support to help manage hotel quarantine were made despite claims they weren't.
Daniel Andrews made the statements while facing questions from Parliament's Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC), which is scrutinising the Victorian Government's pandemic response.
"I don't believe ADF support was on offer," Mr Andrews told the hearing on Tuesday.
"It's been provided in limited circumstances in New South Wales, not to provide security as such but to provide transportation from the airport to hotels.
"I think it is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there was hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow someone said no. That's not, in my judgment, accurate."
But Defence Minister Linda Reynolds hit back saying the ADF was "consistently advised" Victoria did not need army assistance with the hotel quarantine system, reported to be responsible for the state's second virus wave.
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Ms Reynolds said an application for 850 ADF personnel to assist with quarantining returning travellers was made on June 24 before it was withdrawn the following day.
"ADF officials asked whether Victorian authorities required assistance with its mandatory quarantine system on multiple occasions," she said.
"No request for quarantine support was subsequently received from Victoria at that time.
"On 12 April 2020, Victorian authorities reaffirmed to ADF officials that all quarantine compliance monitoring operations were within Victorian authorities' capacity."
Opposition's Michael O'Brien said the Premier had been caught out in a lie.
"Premier Daniel Andrews has lied to the Parliament's Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, which is set up to ensure accountability and transparency," he said.
"The Andrews Labor Government has lied to parliament and lied to Victorians. It was the Victorian Labor Government's decision to snub ADF support for hotel quarantine.
"This dishonest attempt to cover up Labor's hotel quarantine scandal shows that Daniel Andrews is only interested in protecting his miserable government, not in telling the truth."
The Premier's office has been contacted for comment.
Originally published as Premier 'lied' to parliament inquiry