Calls are growing for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to step down after the abrupt resignation of his health minister Jenny Mikakos.
Ms Mikakos posted a letter on Twitter on Saturday announcing that she is quitting as both a minister and member of parliament, after more than 21 years in office.
Her resignation came just a day after Mr Andrews pointed the finger at her when he was asked who was to blame for the hotel quarantine bungle that led to the second wave of COVID-19 cases.
But state opposition Liberal Party MPs have hit out the Premier, saying he ‘threw Ms Mikakos under the bus’ to absolve himself of blame – but that he too ‘needs to go’.
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Dan Andrews is facing mounting pressure over the way his government have handled the coronavirus crisis
Jenny Mikakos posted a letter on Twitter Saturday announcing that she is quitting as both a minister and member of parliament
Premier Andrews told the inquiry into the quarantine blunder that he regarded Ms Mikakos as being ‘accountable for the program’.
Moments after her resignation, Victorian Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier took to social media to blast Mr Andrew’s leadership.
‘A fish rots from the head down… he can’t think by Mikakos going all is fine. It is not. He needs to go too,’ she posted.
Ms Crozier later told Sky News the premier was simply looking for ‘a scalp’ to make him look good.
‘She’s gone now but only on Thursday Daniel Andrews was backing her and said he had confidence in her,’ she said.
‘He has lied, he has actually made so many cover-ups, or said so many cover-ups, in relation to this whole dreadful situation.
Victorian Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier is calling for Dan Andrew’s to resign (pictured on Sky News)
A fish rots from the head down: MS Crozier takes to Twitter to blast Premier Dan Andrews
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett also joined the chorus of voices on Twitter
‘We had in this inquiry, 10 senior bureaucrats that couldn’t tell us who appointed the security guards in the hotel quarantine program. Three ministers, including Minister Mikakos and the premier, none of them knew.’
Following the resignation of Mikakos, #DanAndrewsResign was trending on Twitter and and there was not shortage of Liberal Party members lining up to put the boot in.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said: ‘Mikakos should go because of contact tracing failures and her dodgy evidence to the Inquiry, but Mikakos did not say ‘no’ to ADF.’
Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos (pictured) stood down on Saturday
‘She did not bring in private security for hotel quarantine. These decisions caused our second wave. Andrews is responsible. He must go.’
Pressure on Ms Mikakos mounted after her testimony to the inquiry on Thursday was conflicted by Mr Andrews’ on Friday.
Ms Mikakos told the hearing that ‘to the best of her recollection’ she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered a coronavirus outbreak.
But a video of a press conference on 29 March – two days after the quarantine scheme was announced – shows Ms Mikakos standing alongside jobs minister Martin Pakula as he said: ‘Passengers returning will now undergo mandatory two-week quarantine at those Melbourne hotels with security guards in place.’
Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett accused Mr Andrews of hanging on of his team out to dry.
‘When a leader stops protecting his own, let alone blames them for mistakes of the whole, it is time the leader fails all tests if leadership and should resign. Today,’ he posted.
Firebrand shadow housing minister Tim Smith stated the decision to opt for ill-trained private security guards in favour of the military personnel being offered up by the federal government, falls at the feet of the Premier.
Two men were detained on Saturday for protesting against the lockdown restrictions in place in Victoria
‘Mikakos has gone. Good. But the Premier and no other Minister has accepted responsibility for the decision to use private security instead of the ADF and police,’ Mr Smith said.
‘Andrews has not explained why he thanked the PM for the offer of ADF support on March 28th but didn’t use them.’
Victoria’s Health Workers Union also welcomed Mikakos’s resignation, but stopped short of calling for Andrew’s blood too.
‘We hope to engage with a new Health Minister to put a stop to the bizarre decisions to contract out public hospital cleaners and other non-clinical workers during a pandemic and replace them from dodgy outsourcing firms,’ the organisation posted to Twitter.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step came into effect at 11.59pm on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13: now in effect
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records