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Need for Royal Commission into Victoria’s response to COVID-19 pandemic

Today the Victorian Liberal Nationals have called for a Royal Commission to be conducted into Victoria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Royal Commission is vital and it is urgent.

Hundreds of Victorians have died and millions of Victorians are locked down because of the abject failure of the Andrews Labor Government’s ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis.

Why is Victoria the only state to suffer through a second wave of coronavirus? Victorians deserve to know the full truth about why we are in this devastating position.

Victorians know that Labor’s disastrous handling of the hotel quarantine program caused Victoria’s second wave. Over 700 Victorians have lost their lives to coronavirus and millions their livelihoods, but how did Daniel Andrews get it so wrong?

The Board of Inquiry that Daniel Andrews has established into the hotel quarantine debacle does not have the coercive powers of a Royal Commission to compel witnesses and documents. Neither does it have the terms of reference required to reveal the answers to the questions Victorians deserve, answers to beyond the massive failures in hotel quarantine.

Time and time again, the shocking failures of Victoria’s contact tracing have become apparent. We have seen instances of contact tracing beginning only after the tragic death of a Victorian once they were a confirmed case of the virus.

Every case needs to be followed up every day, and that just hasn’t happened under the Andrews Labor Government. Contact tracing is how you put a fence around coronavirus, it’s how you stop the spread.

It’s how every other state has been able to open up and yet Victoria’s third-world contact tracing system has time and time again failed to stop the deadly spread of COVID-19 infections.

Why has every other state in Australia managed contact tracing and stopped widespread community transmission of coronavirus when outbreaks occur?

Victorians have been told by Daniel Andrews that the restrictions they are enduring are a result of health advice, and yet Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton has indicated that the curfew imposed on Melbournians wasn’t recommended by him.

Victorians deserve to know who it is that is really providing the advice that Daniel Andrews’ orders are based on.

Our healthcare workers have been left exposed through the pandemic, without proper access to PPE that would help protect themselves, their patients, their colleagues and their family and friends from infection of this deadly virus.

A Royal Commission also has the power to recommend any charges for potential criminal actions, including industrial manslaughter.

The Andrews Labor Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is the worst public policy failure by a government in not just Victoria’s, but Australia’s history.

Victorians deserve answers.

If Labor does not agree to establish a Royal Commission, an O’Brien Liberal Nationals Government will do so.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien:

“A Royal Commission will deliver the answers Victorians need about how and why Victorians were failed so badly by the Andrews Labor Government.

“There have been too many deaths, too much damage done and too many lies told. Victorians deserve the truth and only a Royal Commission will deliver it.

“We must ensure that the gross errors that have done so much damage are never repeated so that Victoria will be better prepared when the next pandemic hits.

“Every other state in Australia except Victoria has managed to contain the coronavirus.

“Daniel Andrews is the only Premier in the country that has overseen such tragic loss of lives and livelihoods.”

Comments attributable to Leader of The Nationals, Peter Walsh:

“Victorians have been failed by Daniel Andrews and his government with their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A Royal Commission has the powers needed to get the answers Victorians deserve.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:

“This pandemic has cost hundreds of Victorians their lives, and only a Royal Commission will deliver the answers that their families, and every Victorian deserves.

“A Royal Commission will get to the bottom of mistakes made by the Andrews Government to ensure this never happens again.

“Daniel Andrews has failed Victorians, and every single Victorian has paid the price for Labor’s failures with their lives and livelihoods.”

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