Victoria’s emergency commissioner could be recalled to inquiry over edited hotel quarantine evidence


Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp could be questioned before a parliamentary inquiry for a second time over his role in the state’s coronavirus response.Key points:The parliamentary committee looking at Victoria’s COVID-19 response has announced it will extend its inquiryIt means Mr Crisp could be asked to face the inquiry again, after changing his evidence following his first appearanceMeanwhile, the Opposition is attempting to pass a no-confidence motion against the Premier in ParliamentThere have been calls for Mr Crisp to be re-examined after he retracted evidence he gave at the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) hearings on the Government’s COVID-19 response in August.In his testimony, he claimed he gave regular briefings to his direct minister, Lisa Neville, on March 27 and 28, when the hotel quarantine program was being established.Ms Neville contradicted his evidence when she told the separate independent COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry that she did not receive any briefings from Mr Crisp in the early stages of the program.Mr Crisp then altered his written statement to say he did not brief her on those dates.The committee now says it will extend its inquiry, which could mean Mr Crisp will be asked further questions about the change in evidence.”The additional hearings will enable the committee to get supplementary evidence relating to the response to this ongoing pandemic,” committee chair Lizzie Blandthorn said in a statement.”There will also be a further opportunity for written submissions to be presented that can assist the committee in examining the various aspects of the response.”The deadline for submissions to the PAEC inquiry has now been extended to November 30.For the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic read our coronavirus live blog.Opposition attacks Government’s ‘avalanche of amnesia’The announcement came after the Opposition Leader, Michael O’Brien, once again called for the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Inquiry to be extended.In an hour-long tirade after introducing a no-confidence motion against the Premier, Mr O’Brien told Parliament that Victorians had not been given the truth about the program’s failures. Michael O’Brien said Victorians had been served up a “litany of lies”.(AAP: James Ross)He said Mr Andrews and his senior bureaucrats had let Victorians down when giving evidence at the inquiry and they should be called again”Victorians want answers, and they demand answers because Victorians have been the ones to pay the price for this Government’s failure,” Mr O’Brien said.”Have Victorians seen the truth? No. They’ve had an avalanche of amnesia, a cavalcade of cover-ups and a litany of lies.” Given Labor has a strong majority in the Lower House, the move was widely regarded a political stunt that was doomed to fail.It was the only opportunity for the Opposition to introduce such a motion until the next election.Mr O’Brien also said Mr Andrews had “taken [Victorians] for fools” after denying the Australian Defence Force was on offer to guard the quarantine hotels.In response to the motion, Deputy Premier James Merlino said Mr O’Brien had launched a “tasteless, heartless stunt”.”He’s not a man concerned by the health of Victorians — he’s a man obsessed with his own popularity within his own party,” Mr Merlino told Parliament.Earlier, Mr Andrews criticised the Opposition’s “cheap politics”.”I’m not concerned by it and I won’t be playing it because it doesn’t work against this virus,” he said.What you need to know about coronavirus:

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