Neil Mitchell addresses Andrew Crisp’s statement and ‘slippery nonsense’ from the Premier
An exasperated Neil Mitchell says a statement from Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner does not sufficiently address questions about the Australian Defence Force’s involvement in Victoria’s ill-fated hotel quarantine program.
It comes amid a war of words between the Victorian and federal governments about the issue.
Andrew Crisp released a statement on Wednesday, saying he “did not seek nor did representatives of the ADF offer assistance as part of the hotel quarantine program” during meetings in late March.
The statement did not address the fact Mr Crisp signed off on a request to the federal government for ADF personnel in June.
That request for help was withdrawn by the Victorian government.
The Premier addressed the issue again on Wednesday.
“Let’s be very clear about this,” Daniel Andrews said.
“It has been consistently put to me that myself or others have consistently said no to help.
“That is simply wrong.”
Neil Mitchell said that claim from Daniel Andrews is “nonsense”.
“I’ve had it,” he said.
“It’s defensive, slippery, nonsense.
“Whenever Daniel Andrews says ‘let me be very clear’ you know it is nonsense.
“The statement from Andrew Crisp does not answer the questions.
“Andrew Crisp has clearly put out a statement on the Premier’s advice, or suggestion, and it doesn’t answer the questions, at all.”
ANDREW CRISP’S STATEMENT
I can confirm that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) were involved in the initial planning of the hotel quarantine program.
Representatives of the ADF participated in the Operation Soteria planning and coordination 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.
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.
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