Bombshell letter sent to hotel inquiry

Daniel Andrews has dodged questions on why a key witness who appeared at the hotel quarantine inquiry retracted evidence he gave more than six weeks ago.

While announcing six new coronavirus cases and two more deaths on Wednesday, the Premier was questioned about a letter sent by Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp to the hotel quarantine inquiry.

Mr Crisp issued a letter correcting his own testimony that he provided briefings to Police Minister Lisa Neville in the days before the botched hotel quarantine program was established.

The letter said that this was wrong and he did not brief Ms Neville.

"I wish to bring to the committee's attention that on review of the transcript, I identified three occasions where in my evidence I stated that I had regularly briefed the Minister of Police and Emergency Services during the planning period on 27 and 28 March 2020 in the lead up to the operation that would become known as Operation Soteria," Mr Crisp wrote.

"I wish to correct this in acknowledgement that I did not brief the Minister for Police and Emergency Services throughout the 27 and 28 March 2020 with regard to what was being planned."

Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday morning: "I saw reports of that last night in the media. I can't make any more of it than that. It's ultimately a statement from an independent statutory officer and he's probably the person to talk to about that."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews faced hard-hitting questions about why Andrew Crisp retracted evidence. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews faced hard-hitting questions about why Andrew Crisp retracted evidence. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire

 

When asked if anyone from the Premier's office or ministers' offices contacted Mr Crisp to change his testimony, Mr Andrews firmly replied: "No is the answer."

"Anyone who knows Andrew Crisp knows that is not the way he operates.

"He's made a statement under his signature on his letterhead. He's a statutory officer. Victorians know and trust him. So do I. I've got nothing but good things to say about Andrew Crisp and the work that he does."

The letter written by Andrew Crisp.
The letter written by Andrew Crisp.

 

When questioned if Victorians should be concerned Mr Crisp did not brief the Emergency Services Minister about hotel quarantine, the Premier said: "I think we're now straying into what ought to have happened, and what did or didn't happen, and they are absolutely matters that the board of inquiry are looking at".

"I'm not going to try and write their report for them. They are at arm's length. They've got a really important job to do and I assume they'll be well and truly into that - writing the report I mean - and they'll produce a report quite soon."

Originally published as Bombshell letter sent to hotel inquiry


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