Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is facing calls to resign after the latest hotel quarantine bombshell. He’s made it clear he’s not going anywhere.
The Premier swept aside calls to resign even though the final hotel quarantine inquiry report released on Monday still could not trace the decision to use private security back to a responsible person or agency.
“Not only will I not resign because that is not who I am, I’ll be on the ballot in 2022,” he said.
“And I’ll be working every day as hard as I can between now and then … to do the things we said we would do, to repair the damage, to heal the wounds and to make sure that we are a stronger economy and community as a result of this year.”
Mr Andrews has faced repeated criticism for his handling of the pandemic.
Retired judge Jennifer Coate’s findings fuelled that fire again, concluding private security guards were the wrong choice to guard Victoria’s returned travellers in the hotel quarantine scheme.
Mr Andrews conceded there were “clear errors” and if he could “turn back the clock” he would receive “daily reports on what happens in hotel quarantine”.
He admitted Ms Coate’s findings pointed to serious failings in “oversight and structural integrity”.
“If we could have a system of oversight that was, I think, the best in the country back then, as we do now, then, of course, we would put those steps in place,” Mr Andrews said.
The Premier was confident he would continue to lead the state and vie for the top position at the next Victorian state election in November 2022.
“We’ve faced many challenges as a state, hard work is the answer, and I’m prepared to work as hard as anyone,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’m accountable absolutely, I’m the leader of the state – but running from challenges, quitting, that cutting and run thing, that’s not accountability, that’s cowardice and you’ll get none of that from me.”
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien, who called for Mr Andrews to resign multiple times over the past few months, again said he needed to step down.
He also called for a Royal Commission into uncovering “the truth the Coate Inquiry could not find”.
“He (Daniel Andrews) should resign,” Mr O’Brien said on Monday.
“This program failed from the start. Nobody can say who chose private security. Nobody can say who rejected the ADF and nobody is accepting responsibility for these failings.
“173 people died during Black Saturday and we got a Royal Commission. 801 people died in Labor’s second wave and we don’t have any accountability.
“But today there are no answers. There is no accountability. Nobody is taking responsibility.
“Daniel Andrews has failed Victorians and refuses to take responsibility for the largest public policy failure in our state’s history.”