Australia Corona Virus

Daniel Andrews government fighting release of curfew document, Liberal MP David Davis says

The Daniel Andrews government is refusing to release a single document that the state opposition claims people have a right to see.

The Andrews government is “fighting tooth and nail” to stop the release of a document which could shed light on why a curfew that restricted Victorians to their homes from 9pm to 5am during lockdown was enforced, a Liberal MP says.

Upper House Opposition Leader David Davis said the Liberal Nationals requested the document from the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) under Freedom of Information in September last year.

The application asked 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.”

Mr Davis said the DPC replied in November that “a search of department records identified one document relevant to the terms of your request”, but “determined to refuse access in full to this document”.

VCAT on Monday morning commenced a directions hearing on the matter.

“Daniel Andrews locked down five and a half million Melburnians, but his department has only one document in its possession justifying last August’s lockdown,” Mr Davis said.

“This single document that DPC is fighting tooth and nail to keep secret is a document five and a half million Melburnians are entitled to see.”

“Why can’t the families subject to the curfew see the reasons behind their lockdown, and why can’t the small businesses that have had their livelihoods smashed be entitled to see Daniel Andrews’ reasons for imposing it?”

VCAT deferred the matter to a private compulsory conference hearing in May.

Michelle Loielo, an aspiring Liberal Party MP, filed a lawsuit last year against former deputy public health commander Michelle Giles, claiming the curfew was unreasonable, disproportionate and violated the human rights of millions of Victorians.

But a Supreme Court judge ruled the controversial curfew policy was legal, dismissing the case against the Andrews government.

Premier Daniel Andrews maintained throughout the end of last year the curfew amid the coronavirus pandemic was about “human life, not human rights”.

“If you don’t limit movement you won’t limit the number of cases, and what everyone wants – to get open and stay open – simply won’t happen,“ he said.