Brave Browser Fast and secure web browser  
No external plugins or adjustments required! The Brave web browser simply offers the most secure and incredibly fast web browser. Enjoy browsing without pop-ups YouTube or Web Advertising (pop-up blocker), malware and other annoyances.

¡Download Free!

‘Simply wrong’: Andrews responds to ADF claim

1 month ago 12

Victoria’s emergency management commissioner has backed Premier Daniel Andrews’ controversial claims that no Australian Defence Force support was offered to help manage the state’s hotel quarantine program.

In a statement released on Wednesday morning, commissioner Andrew Crisp said no ADF assistance was offered during meetings on March 27-28.

“I can confirm that the Australian Defence Force were involved in the initial planning of the hotel quarantine program. Representatives of the ADF participated in the Operation Soteria planning and co-ordination meetings on 27 and 28 March 2020. During these discussions I did not seek nor did representatives of the ADF offer assistance as part of the hotel quarantine program,” he said.

“Subsequent communications with the ADF on the 12th and 15th of April did not relate to ADF assistance as part of the program.

“As the Victorian emergency management commissioner I am enormously grateful for all of the assistance our colleagues in the Australian Defence Force have provided as we have responded together to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Mr Andrews rejected claims he and others had consistently declined ADF assistance.

“It has been consistently put to me that me or others have consistently said no to help. That‘s simply wrong. That is simply wrong. And the notion that that has occurred – that’s just not right,” he told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“That‘s just not right. We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of ADF personnel in Victoria for more than two months. They’ve been here for a lengthy period of time. Some of them have been here from when I first requested help with the bushfires between Christmas and new year.

“If others have time to issue statements which are then contradicted in clear terms by the emergency management commissioner who is on the ground doing this work, that‘s great, I’m glad that they have enough time to do that.”

Mr Andrews claimed ADF support was not offered 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.”

The contradicting statement triggered Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien to call out Mr Andrews.

“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.”

Read Entire Article