Former Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, has taken a dramatic swipe at Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, calling his response to the state’s disastrous hotel quarantine program “another masterclass in political deflection.”
Ms Mikakos, who quit parliament after Mr Andrews pinned blame onto her for the failings of the state’s first hotel quarantine program, released a statement on Twitter on Monday afternoon.
It comes after Judge Jennifer Coates’ final inquiry findings found private security guards were the wrong choice to guard Victoria’s returned travellers in the hotel quarantine scheme.
But no person or agency took responsibility for the decision to use the guards, the inquiry found.
“The Coate inquiry has failed to answer key questions. I believe Victorians deserve to know the truth about an event that has so profoundly impacted them,” Ms Mikakos wrote.
“They do not need another masterclass in political deflection from the Premier.”
She then called for the Coate inquiry to release all phone records from March 27 — the day National Cabinet approved the use of hotels to quarantine people arriving from overseas.
“I am disappointed the inquiry decided to redact some phone records including the Premier’s calls in their entirety and to subject these to a non-publication order,” Ms Mikakos wrote.
“In the interests of transparency all telephone call records provided relating to 27 March 2020 should be publicly released.”
Ms Mikakos went on to say she offered her deepest condolences to the Victorians who passed away during the pandemic and said she was honoured to have served the state in her role as Health Minister.
She resigned from the government on September 26 — one of six ministerial departures during 2020 — claiming that her integrity had been questioned.
READ MORE: Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigns.
Asked on Monday why it was right for Ms Mikakos to resign as the minister accountable for the Department of Health and Human Services’ mistakes, but not right for him to resign as the Premier responsible for the whole government, Mr Andrews said Justice Coate’s report had confirmed he was correct to identify DHHS as the “control agency” for hotel quarantine.
“I answered fully, frankly, and honestly under oath, and the board has made findings that are 100 percent consistent with the answers that I gave,” Mr Andrews said.
“Beyond that, as to the decisions that the Minister made at the time to leave the government, leave the cabinet and the parliament, that really is a matter for her and I don’t intend to be running a commentary on that.
“Once you’ve made a decision that you can no longer serve, then the appropriate decision is to go, and that’s exactly what the Minister did.”