Andrews pressed on his ADF evidence to pandemic probe

A stoush over Victoria's troubled hotel quarantine program and the role of the Australian Defence Force has been fuelled further, amid demands that the Premier returns to a parliamentary inquiry to clarify his evidence, and calls for his resignation.

Mr Andrews gave evidence to a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday that the ADF never offered to support the hotel quarantine scheme.



Hours later, federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds directly contradicted his evidence, saying Victorian authorities had refused or ignored multiple offers of support from the ADF to help with hotel quarantine.

Ms Reynolds’ statement included a list of times the offer of ADF assistance had been made.

On Wednesday morning, Victoria's Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp's released a statement saying ADF personnel were not offered to help with hotel quarantine.

Mr Crisp said the ADF was part of 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," he said.

"Subsequent communications with the ADF on the 12th and 15th of April did not relate to ADF assistance as part of the program."

Mr Crisp did not mention in his statement his request for 850 personnel on June 24, seen by this masthead, that was signed off by the federal government but then withdrawn by Victoria the next day.

This request was acknowledged by the Federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds in a statement last night.

Mr Andrews directed journalists' questions on this to Mr Crisp. "Well you need to speak to him," said the Premier.

"Andrew Crisp as issued a statement. I don't think it could be clearer or plainer. People can make their own judgements," Mr Andrews said.

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien has called for Mr Andrews’ resignation.

More to come

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