Jenny Mikakos hits back at Daniel Andrews over responsibility for hotel quarantine

www.theguardian.com
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Former Victorian health minister urges hotel quarantine inquiry to treat the premier's evidence 'with caution' in explosive submission
Former Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos has urged the hotel quarantine inquiry to "treat with caution" premier Daniel Andrews' evidence about the decision to use private security guards, as she pushes back on his claim she was responsible for the botched program.

Mikakos resigned from the ministry and the Victorian parliament last month after Andrews told the inquiry he believed she was responsible for overseeing the hotel quarantine program, once a joint submission to the crisis council of cabinet was made by her and jobs minister Martin Pakula in early April.

The inquiry has heard 99% of the more than 18,000 cases of Covid-19 and 750 deaths in Victoria since late May can be traced back to outbreaks in two quarantine hotels involving several security guards from private firms.

Counsel assisting the inquiry has not determined who made the decision to recruit private security, instead suggesting the inquiry find that it was a "creeping assumption" made throughout the course of 27 March – the day the program was announced.

However, in a stunning rebuke of her former leader, Mikakos told the inquiry in her final submission that such a finding would have "insufficient regard to the realities of governmental operation and decision-making" and pointed to Andrews referencing the use of private security in his press conference announcing the program at 3pm on 27 March.

Mikakos said the inquiry should "treat with caution" Andrews' claim that no decision had been made about private security at that time.

"It is submitted that had the decision not already been made by that time, the premier would not have announced the use of private security in the program," she said.

"In this regard, it is observed that no evidence was led about what briefings were…
Josh Taylor
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