Call for Mikakos to be quizzed over statement

 

Exclusive: The Opposition has appealed to have the hotel quarantine inquiry re-opened for public evidence, to probe the conflicting statements of Premier Daniel Andrews and former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

Shadow Attorney-General Ed O'Donohue wrote to inquiry chair Jennifer Coate on Monday, asking for Mr Andrews and Ms Mikakos to be recalled.

Ms Mikakos resigned on Saturday, saying she could no longer serve in Mr Andrews' Cabinet after he nominated her as the minister responsible for the fatally-botched program.

She had by comparison told the inquiry her department was not ultimately in charge, and the program was run under a model of "shared accountability.''

Jenny Mikakos resignge, saying she could no longer serve in Daniel Andrews’ Cabinet. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Jenny Mikakos resignge, saying she could no longer serve in Daniel Andrews’ Cabinet. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Mr O'Donohue said the pair should be questioned over the conflict, and also raised concern about the fact the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Jobs, Regions and Precincts dumped numerous documents into evidence at the inquiry on Friday evening, after the last witness had been called.

"The Government's late submission ... following the conclusion of scheduled witness hearings, is disrespectful to the inquiry, is inexplicable given the resources at the Government's disposal and compromises the inquiry's work,'' Mr O'Donohue wrote to Ms Coate.

Closing submissions made to the board on Monday heard that it had issued 152 notices to appear or produce documents and called 63 witnesses over 25 days of public hearings.

It received almost 290,000 pages of documents into evidence, leading Ms Coate to seek additional funding of $2.7 million on top of the original $3 million budget, to hire more staff to wade through the evidence.

The board of inquiry declined to comment on Mr O'Donohue's request for further public hearings but it is considered highly improbable it would re-open after closing its evidentiary phase on Friday night.

Originally published as Call for Mikakos to be quizzed over statement


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