Yesterday morning, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos revealed her decision to resign from cabinet and the Parliament.
Prior to her resignation, Mikakos faced severe accusations from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who claimed she was accountable for the botched hotel quarantine program.
“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), as the designated control agency was primarily responsible for the program,” he wrote in his statement as part of the inquiry into the quarantine hotels system.
“I then regarded Minister Mikakos as accountable for the program.”
Mikakos resigned taking full responsibility of the actions of her department, yet still didn’t hesitate to place blame on her department members.
“With the benefit of hindsight, there are clearly matters that my department should have briefed me on,” Mikakos said in her resignation statement to Facebook.
“Whether they would have changed the course of events only the Board and history can determine.”
Her resignation prompted the response of various government leaders, communities, and the 6.7 million people in Victoria, which many of whom had their entire lives changed due to the governments failed control of the quarantine system.
The Greek Community of Melbourne thanked Mikakos for her contribution to public service and her “tireless pursuit of social justice” in Victoria.
“We appreciate your efforts-they shall not be forgotten-and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours,” a statement by the Greek Community of Melbourne reads.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard went to immediately back the former Victorian Health Minister, placing full blame on Daniel Andrews.
The Oakleigh MP, Steve Dimopoulos, quickly followed suit saying Mikakos had been “an amazing servant for our community”.
“For 21 years in parliament but long before, Jenny has been an amazing servant for our community,” he wrote on Twitter.
While the listed Liberal and Labour MP’s have sought to back the seemingly valiant Jenny Mikakos for standing up against Andrews amid this national crisis, an opinion piece by The Age has put much of the support for Mikakos in question.
The Age reports that on June 11, two days before The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald ran the first story on hotel quarantine’s failings, DHHS’s “top spinner” rang to say we they were off track and that publishing would be a mistake. Mikakos even went so far as to get the head of Unified Security, Nigel Coppick, to say the same.
“Should taxpayers fund media advisors to obstruct truth? Why was time and effort dedicated to this instead of fixing the problem before the Stamford Hotel outbreak?,” The Age reports.
“Our first article was published on June 13. According to her resignation statement, she didn’t see there was a problem until June 30.”
“It was her inaction that was the problem.”
“People usually come to media after their complaints are ignored. This is what happened here.”
The opinion piece goes on to state that whether Mikakos knew about private security is “beside the point.” Mikakos is to blame for not doing anything sooner, and instead wasting time to remind staff that they weren’t permitted to speak to the media.
“Maybe if more effort was spent listening to staff on the ground instead of trying to save face, millions of Melburnians wouldn’t still be stuck in our homes and hundreds of people wouldn’t have died,” the opinion piece adds.
“Take responsibility. Own it. Drop the spin. It’s infuriating.”
Victoria’s second wave resulted in more than 780 deaths and prompted weeks of strict lockdown measures for Melbourne. Jenny Mikakos is so far the only Victorian minister to resign as a result of the failed containment of the virus.