Daniel Andrews and his hired legal guns continue to fight the release of a key draft Pandemic Plan, keeping the Victorian public in the dark over their failed response to the COVID-19 crisis in Victoria.
It’s been one year since the Opposition sought access under Freedom of Information to copies of any written communications, including emails, relating to the COVID-19 health emergency since 1 March 2020, between the Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, and the Premier, his office, the then Minister for Health or her office.
On 20 July 2020, the Liberal Nationals made an application to VCAT for review of the Department’s deemed refusal to process its request.
Under Section 53 of the FOI Act, the Department of Health and Human Services is deemed to have refused to grant access to the requested documents, as a notice of decision was not provided to the Liberal Nationals within the prescribed time period.
The late mail, now nine months later, is that Minter Ellison, on behalf of the Department of Health, is still not in a position to provide the evidence upon which the Andrews Labor Government will rely to argue before VCAT that these documents must be kept secret from Victorians.
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“Labor’s shambolic mismanagement of hotel quarantine and woefully inadequate contract tracing took the lives of 801 Victorians, destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs and thousands of businesses. Yet, they refuse to justify their actions and refuse to publicly release the critical documents.
“Victorians are entitled to see all the drafts of Labor’s failed COVID-19 pandemic management plan. On what grounds can the Andrews Labor Government possibly argue that these documents should be kept secret from Victorians? The health of Victorians is too important to allow Daniel Andrews and his failed ministers to keep the plan secret.
“Daniel Andrews and his cronies have simply ignored repeated calls by the Upper House of the Victorian Parliament to provide the briefings and background documents that accompanied and justified all the Public Health Orders that so savagely restricted the rights of Victorians, with not a single document ordered by the Parliament provided to date.
“Labor’s management of the COVID-19 crisis in Victoria is simply a farce and clearly won’t stand up to public scrutiny. Why else fight tooth and nail to keep it all a secret? It is a cover-up, pure and simple.”