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Attorney-General refuses to provide secret CHO documents

The secretive Andrews Labor Government has refused yet again to release detailed documents and briefings behind CHO decisions.

The Attorney-General, Jaclyn Symes, today tabled a report to Parliament under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act. It lists public health orders and single paragraph explanations for them to June 3. 

What it doesn’t do is provide detailed explanations for the decisions made by the Chief Health Officer for the individual decisions, how they were arrived at and what advice in detail was relied on by the CHO.

The Upper House has passed documents orders that require the Attorney-General to table the detailed advice relied upon by the CHO for individual orders. She has not done that. 

Yet on 2 March 2021, Jaclyn Symes said during debate on the State of Emergency Extension Bill

“ … my advice is that the legal services are currently collating the documents to be provided to the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office. The advice is that it is likely to be in excess of 7000 pages, and an estimate on the time frame for responding to the order is under consideration.”

Asked in Question Time today when will she provide these 7,000 pages of documents to the Chamber as required, the Minister chose not to respond meaningfully, in essence refusing point blank to release the documents.

In relation to the 25km radius that begins tonight at midnight, the orders of the Upper House require the Attorney-General to table the order with the full reasons relied upon by the Chief Health Officer within 48 hours of its release.

The Minister refused to comply with the Parliamentary order, instead treating the Parliament and Melbournians with contempt.

Victorians deserve an open and transparent government. It’s clear the Andrews Labor Government is making decisions on the run and has no plan for Victorians.

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