Labor MPs are jumping to the Premier’s defence after it was revealed Melbourne’s harsh curfew restriction were not the decision of the state’s chief health officer.
Professor Brett Sutton made the admission in an interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
Mitchell asked Professor Sutton if the Victorian Government had ever “introduced something without your advice, or against your advice”.
“No not against my advice, you know, the curfew came in as part of the state of disaster, for example, it wasn’t a state of emergency requirement,” Prof Sutton replied.
“So you know, that was something that was introduced, but it wasn’t something I was against from a public health perspective.”
It sparked outrage among the Opposition with shadow leader Michael O’Brien immediately demanding who imposed the curfew.
“So if the (the chief health officer) didn’t recommend a curfew, why the hell did Andrews impose it?” he said.
“Labor caused the second wave through hotel quarantine. Labor’s kept us in it through woeful contact tracing. Victorians are being smashed by the sheer incompetence of this Government.”
State Liberal MP Matthew Guy said, “So the only person who wanted (or) recommended (or) demanded a curfew was Daniel Andrews? There was zero science behind it. What motivation does this maniac have to lock 5.2 million people down with no evidence?”
But State Labor MP Danielle Green said Prof Sutton’s claims had been “blown out of proportion”.
“I just don’t think it’s an issue and don’t want to inflame the latest gotchya moment,” she said.
“The state of emergency is pertinent to his (Sutton’s) work and the state of disaster is about enforcement.
“The state of emergency is done by the Minister Health and the state of disaster is overseen by the Minister Police so why would Sutton have anything to do with that (curfew).”
Prof Sutton has previously said that the curfew was put in place to help the enforcement of restrictions.
The Premier admitted it was his decision to implement the curfew, but failed to explain upon what medical advice that decision was based upon.
“It’s consistent with the health advice. These are decisions ultimately made by me, so the answer to the question (of why there is a curfew) is, I’ve made that decision. It’s a challenging one to make, but it’s effective,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
The Premier went on to say the curfew was “not a matter for Brett Sutton” and that the strict measure “made the job of police much easier.”
“His advice is, do whatever you can to limit movement. Police then say, we need rules we can enforce it needs to be as simple as possible,” Mr Andrews said.
“We can’t stop every car. But if everyone who’s out that shouldn’t be knows that there’s a chance they’ll get caught, and they’ve got no lawful reason to be outside. That’s what a curfew is about, then all of a sudden, you will limit movement.
“If you want to go shopping at midnight, you can’t. If you’re a worker, and you’re permitted, you can. If you need urgent care, you can get that care. Beyond that, what it means is, No one sneaking out going to their mate’s place. No one’s going and doing things that they are by law, not allowed to do. So it hasn‘t changed the rules, the rules that is the reasons you can leave, they’re all the same. It just makes the job of police, much, much easier.”