Police chief’s explosive curfew claim

 

Victoria's top cop has all but accused chief health officer Brett Sutton of lying, as the blame game over the state's controversial curfew continues.

Police Commissioner Shane Patton told ABC Melbourne radio host Virginia Trioli this morning that it was Professor Sutton's idea to implement the curfew, despite him saying otherwise.

Mr Patton said he was not involved in the decision to implement the curfew, which Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday was brought in because "it makes the job of police much easier".

Professor Sutton told 3AW's Neil Mitchell on Tuesday that the curfew was not introduced based on his medical advice but "it wasn't something I was against from a public health perspective".

That sparked a major backlash, with Victorian Opposition leader Michael O'Brien demanding the "captain's call" curfew be lifted.

 

Victoria's 8pm to 5am curfew, something that has never been imposed even during war time, was introduced under the state of disaster declared last month in response to the second wave of COVID-19.

"How did we get (an) 8pm to 5am curfew?" Mr O'Brien said on Twitter. "Not evidence. Not data. Not public health advice. A Daniel Andrews 'captain's call' to lock us down. This curfew should go. And so should Andrews."

Mr Andrews, who had consistently maintained that all restrictions were based on medical advice from the CHO, was asked on Wednesday whose idea the curfew was.

"I can't pinpoint the individual and the day, I can't give you a specific person," he said, before conceding that ultimately it was his decision.

"If you want to go out and be unlawful now police have got the easiest set of arrangements they have ever had to catch you and fine you," he told reporters. "That's what a curfew delivers."

Police have issued hundreds of fines for curfew breaches since last month.

Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne have been extended for a further two weeks. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne have been extended for a further two weeks. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images


Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said last night the 8pm curfew should be lifted if there is "no medical basis" for it.

"So we would like to see all and as many of the restrictions lifted as soon as the medical conditions allow, and if there's no medical basis for something, then obviously, that's then something entirely within the remit of the Victorian Government to address and we'd encourage them to consider that in the coming days," Mr Hunt told Sky News host Chris Kenny.

Mr Hunt said in recent days he, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, "have been very, very clear that we want to see the health safeguards put in place so as these restrictions, all of the different restrictions, can be lifted as quickly as possible, and there has to be a medical basis for any restriction".

The Health Minister and the Treasurer both hold Melbourne seats.

 

frank.chung@news.com.au

Originally published as Police chief's explosive curfew claim


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