Victoria’s Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, avoided seven questions on Melbourne’s Hotel Quarantine debacle at Tuesday’s Legislative Council question time by saying she would provide a written response the following day.
These questions included topics like:
- When the government first became aware of problems around quarantine?
- Who made the decision to outsource to private contractors?
- Will the government release the findings of the genomic sequencing from the Doherty Institute giving the origins of the second wave outbreak?
- Why the state government cut the budget to contract tracing teams?
- ICU capacity
Instead of addressing these straight forward questions, Health Minister Mikakos flat out rejected to provide answers on the grounds that the judicial inquiry is “ongoing”:
Recall that the chair of the judicial inquiry into Melbourne’s failed hotel quarantine, Justice Jennifer Coate, yesterday confirmed that there is nothing stopping the Victorian Government from releasing information to the public:
Premier Daniel Andrews and his ministers have repeatedly refused to answer questions on the quarantine program, saying it is not appropriate for them to do so while an inquiry is ongoing.
However, Justice Coate has said there is nothing preventing the Premier or ministers answering questions about the quarantine program.
“This board of inquiry is not a court,” Justice Coate said on Wednesday.
“Under law, unlike a court, there is no general restriction or prohibition, which would prevent a person from commenting publicly or answering questions to which they know the answers on matters which are the subject of examination by this board of inquiry.”
The Victorian Government must stop stonewalling and answer these questions. Victorians deserve answers.
Jennifer Coate has given the green light. The Government no longer has anywhere to hide.