Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has slammed Daniel Andrews’ billion dollar funded extended shutdown, along with the state’s nightly curfew and called for an “urgent” COVID-19 royal commission.
The commission of inquiry could recommend criminal charges “including industrial manslaughter”.
In a joint statement, Mr O’Brien, shadow health minister, Georgie Crozier, and Nationals leader, Peter Walsh, have urged for the immediate establishment of a formal inquiry into the Andrew’s Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement described the government’s response as “the worst public policy failure by a government in … Australia’s history.”
And on Twitter, Mr O’Brien has rubbished the Victorian premier’s easing of the nightly curfew by one hour from midnight, saying he would scrap it entirely.
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RELATED: Restrictions to ease from midnight
Victoria recorded 41 new virus cases on Sunday after the state recorded the lowest number in three months a day earlier.
On the day strict lockdown measures were originally drafted to ease, seven deaths were also been reported.
Metropolitan Melbourne will remain in stage-four restrictions but with some small changes as a first step on the roadmap out of lockdown.
Curfew will be eased slightly to allow people to stay out an extra hour. It will become 9pm to 5am. Before it had been 8pm to 5am. Other changes can be found here.
There is no public health reason for a curfew – an extreme measure to lock 5 million Melbournians in their homes every night.
Andrews thinks you should thank him for letting you stay out for one more hour from tomorrow.
As Liberal Leader I want the curfew scrapped entirely. pic.twitter.com/3LSHbfquOb
— Michael O’Brien (@michaelobrienmp) September 13, 2020
On Twitter, Mr O’Brien described Mr Andrews’ curfew as “an extreme measure to lock 5 million Melburnians in their homes every night.”.
“Andrews thinks you should thank him for letting you stay out for one more hour from tomorrow,” he tweeted.
“As Liberal Leader I want the curfew scrapped entirely.”
Coming after Mr Andrews announced $3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow to keep Victoria afloat during the extended coronavirus shutdown, the Opposition questioned “how did Daniel Andrews get it so wrong?”
A joint statement by the two opposition MPs, said “hundreds of Victorians have died and millions of Victorians are locked down”
The statement blamed “the abject failure of the Andrews Labor Government’s ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis” and questioned why Victoria was the only state to have a second wave.
“Victorians deserve to know the full truth about why we are in this devastating position,” the statement said.
Calling a royal commission “vital”, it dismissed Mr Andrews’ Board of Inquiry as inadequate and lacking power.
“Why has every other state in Australia managed contact tracing and stopped widespread community transmission of coronavirus when outbreaks occur?” the joint statement said.
“Victorians have been told by Daniel Andrews that the restrictions they are enduring are a
result of health advice.
“And yet Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton has indicated that the curfew imposed on Melburnians wasn’t recommended by him.
“Victorians deserve to know who it is that is really providing the advice that Daniel Andrews’ orders are based on.”
It’s time to ease restrictions and let businesses open again – safely.
It’s time to get our kids back into the classroom from day 1 of term 4 – safely.
It’s time to end the ridiculous curfew which never had any public health backing.
Victoria deserves to live again. https://t.co/AqwCS9Jzcy
— Michael O’Brien (@michaelobrienmp) September 12, 2020
Mr O’Brien said that only a royal commission “will deliver the answers Victorians need about how and why Victorians were failed so badly by the Andrews Labor Government”.
“There have been too many deaths, too much damage done and too many lies told. Victorians deserve the truth and only a Royal Commission will deliver it,” the Opposition Leader said.
“We must ensure that the gross errors that have done so much damage are never repeated so that Victoria will be better prepared when the next pandemic hits.
“Every other state in Australia except Victoria has managed to contain the coronavirus.
“Daniel Andrews is the only Premier in the country that has overseen such tragic loss of lives and livelihoods.”
The statement said that despite Mr Andrews’ claim the restrictions resulted from health advice, that “Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton has indicated that the curfew imposed on Melburnians wasn’t recommended by him.
“Victorians deserve to know who it is that is really providing the advice that Daniel Andrews’ orders are based on.
“Our healthcare workers have been left exposed through the pandemic, without proper access to PPE that would help protect themselves, their patients, their colleagues and their family and friends from infection of this deadly virus.
“A Royal Commission also has the power to recommend any charges for potential criminal actions, including industrial manslaughter.
“Victorians deserve answers.”
Asked whether there was any hope reopening dates could be brought forward given regional Victoria was giving the state hope, the Premier said on Sunday that would be unlikely.
“It is highly unlikely we will meet those case number thresholds,” he said, speaking of the October 26 date.
“It is not just about numbers, but about the passage over time.
“We’ve had this discussion many times but it’s worth making the point again.
“One of the reasons this is such a wicked enemy is that decisions I make today, I won’t see the full impacts of that for 10-14 days by which time it can be too late.
“You have got to do this not just safely, following advice, taking advice, but you’ve got to do it in a steady way.”
Mr Andrews said while he knew the passage of time was “very painful and very challenging for businesses and for families”, in terms of taking safe steps, it was a positive thing.
“You’ve got to let some time pass with a maintenance of testing so that you can have a clear picture or the clearest picture possible about what the impact of the decisions, the easing, the opening up that you’ve done is,” he said.
“If it were different, if every person could take like a blood sugar test every morning and only those who tested positive stayed at home and everyone else could go about their business, then of course we would do that.
“That’s not the fight we are in, though, so I think it unlikely.”
Originally published as Dan slammed over curfew change