The Andrews Labor Government will face VCAT today in its continuing fight to deny a Liberal Nationals Freedom of Information (FOI) request of 10 September 2020, after almost nine months, for:
“All documents involved with or that informed the decision by the State Government to impose a curfew, commencing 8pm on Sunday, 2 August 2020.”
The Department of Health has absurdly claimed “the work involved in processing the request would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations”.
In relation to another of its FOI requests, this time for “Briefs provided to the Minister for Health relating to Public Health Orders made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 from 9 July 2020 to the date of this request [22 December 2020]”, the Liberal Nationals were informed on Friday that “on the basis of your request, the relevant division conducted a thorough and diligent search and advised that no relevant documents have been located.”
The Andrews Labor Government cannot have it both ways, claiming on the one hand that there are too many documents relating to the single decision to impose a curfew for it to process, and on the other, claiming the Minister for Health was not formally briefed on even one of the many Public Health Order decisions over almost the entire second half of 2020.
Labor has clearly been caught in a lie. Documents cannot be claimed to not exist and at the same time be too numerous to process. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal will this afternoon be presented with that very paradox. Let’s watch the government’s lawyer squirm.
Victorians deserve to know the truth behind these matters, not endless delays and cover-ups. Only a Liberal Nationals Government will deliver accountability and transparency.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“The 6.7 million Victorians, 5.2 million Melbournians, who were locked down as a result of Labor’s curfew deserve to see all the reasons and assessments behind the decision.
“Victorians are sick of the lies and coverups and know it’s time for a change in government. A Liberal Nationals Government will deliver accountability and transparency.”