On Sunday, 13 September as Premier Daniel Andrews and his Treasurer Tim Pallas announced a new $3 Billion Business Support Package to help Victorian businesses to assist them to get back on track and finally on their feet, the Victorian Liberal Nationals called for a Royal Commission to be conducted into Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no doubt that the package (and perhaps some further assistance by the government) became inevitable after Melbourne was hit with a second wave of COVID-19 infections, which practically originated from the state government managed hotel quarantine programs for Australians returning from overseas.
Poor management of the program and poor or no training of those on duty to guard those in quarantine is being put as the sole cause and source of the second wave which hit Melbourne and brought it to its knees.
“Hundreds of Victorians have died and millions of Victorians are locked down because of the abject failure of the Andrews Labor Government’s ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis”, says the state Opposition.
“Why is Victoria the only state to suffer through a second wave of coronavirus? Victorians deserve to know the full truth about why we are in this devastating position.”
“Over 700 Victorians have lost their lives to coronavirus and millions their livelihoods, but how did Daniel Andrews get it so wrong?”
The Oppostion claims that the Board of Inquiry that Daniel Andrews has established into the hotel quarantine debacle does not have the coercive powers of a Royal Commission to compel witnesses and documents. Neither does it have the terms of reference required to reveal the answers to the questions Victorians deserve, answers to beyond the massive failures in hotel quarantine.
A Royal Commission also has the power to recommend any charges for potential criminal actions, including industrial manslaughter.
Time and time again, the shocking failures of Victoria’s contact tracing have become apparent. Contact tracing is how you put a fence around coronavirus, it’s how you stop the spread which has not been happening in Victoria.
Our healthcare workers have been left exposed through the pandemic, without proper access to PPE that would help protect themselves, their patients, their colleagues and their family and friends from infection of this deadly virus.
“There have been too many deaths, too much damage done and too many lies told. Victorians deserve the truth and only a Royal Commission will deliver it”, says Michael O’Brien, Victoria’s Opposition leader in the state parliament.
According to the state Opposition, the Andrews Labor Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is the worst public policy failure by a government in not just Victoria’s, but Australia’s history.
A Royal Commission is vital and it is urgent says the Opposition. It also says if Labor does not agree to establish a Royal Commission, an O’Brien Liberal Nationals Government will do so.