Chris Eccles resigns after handing phone records to state hotel quarantine investigation

“I was shocked when this call was made last night and a detailed investigation of his records showed it,” Andrews told reporters on Monday.


The premiere revealed that Mr. Eccles was attending the meeting. There, the government was informed that 99% of Victoria’s second wave incidents could be due to a breach of the hotel’s quarantine program.

“He was attending a conference where we received a genomic sequencing from the Chief Health Officer and had many questions and I couldn’t get an answer to those questions. That’s exactly what I did. That’s why we ordered the establishment of an investigative commission, “said Andrews.

The prime minister said Mr. Eccles’ resignation was a “significant step forward,” but public services were greater than one.

The question of who performs the function within the hotel’s quarantine program is an operational decision, not a decision made by me or a member of my private office staff.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews

On Sunday, a hotel quarantine investigation asked Mr. Eckles and other prime ministers and senior cabinet officials to hand over the phone records to determine if they called Mr Ashton on March 27. Hotel.

Eccles, who contacted him on September 21, said he couldn’t remember if he had called Ashton, in a statement on Monday morning that his phone record was sent to Ashton at 1:17 pm on March 27. He called and said he showed that he had spoken for two minutes. ..

The National Cabinet, where Mr. Eccles attended with the premiere, met until around 1 pm as he decided to set up a hotel quarantine program.

After the call, Mr Ashton sent a text message to Australian Federal Police Secretary Reese Kershaw at 1:22 pm, stating that the Eccles Prime Minister’s Office (DPC) had planned to use private security guards.

However, Eccles categorically claims that he did not inform Ashton that private security would be used.

“Telephone records do not indicate that I, or anyone else in the DPC, has decided to use private security in the hotel’s quarantine program,” Eccles said.

“I was absolutely confident that I didn’t tell Mr Ashton about the decision to use private security because I didn’t know that such a decision was made, and I certainly made such a decision. I didn’t do it myself.

“There was a lot of commentary and speculation about whether I or anyone else at the DPC spoke to Mr Ashton during the narrow time frame of March 27. Now it’s clear that I’ve spoken.

“Ultimately, the board will come to a conclusion before that, but in a situation of growing interest in this issue, I will never focus on me and undermine the extraordinary work of the public sector. I don’t want that, because I continue to meet the unprecedented challenges of 2020. “


Andrews rejected the proposal that his Chief of Staff, Lissie Ratcliff, was involved in the decision to use private security guards an hour after the National Ministerial Meeting on March 27.

Mr. Ratcliffe was not called in to give evidence of a hotel inquiry, but her phone records could be passed on to the board.

“The question of who performs the function within the hotel’s quarantine program is an operational decision, not a decision made by me or a member of my private office staff,” Premier said.

“Beyond that, it’s entirely a matter of the committee as to who was called, who wasn’t called, and who is required or required to provide information and details to the investigative committee.”

Prosecutor Shadow’s Ed Odnoue said Eccles’ resignation two weeks after former health minister Jenny Mikakos resigned shows that controversy and responsibility for hotel planning are gradually approaching the prime minister. Said that.

“More and more his story simply doesn’t add up because the people closest to Daniel Andrews have been forced to resign,” Odnoue said.

“It is now the duty of the premier to explain exactly what he knew and when, and this time I hope there are no serious amnesiac attacks.”

In response to a question from Victorian police attorney Dunster QC, Eccles inquired that he had checked a phone record that said it wasn’t complete to determine if he had called Ashton again. I answered.


“My phone record doesn’t reveal contact information,” Eccles said. “I don’t know how complete my phone record is, but as long as I could look up my phone record, they didn’t reveal their contact information,” Eccles said.

“I provided evidence that I didn’t have my complete phone record at the time,” Eccles said in a statement on Monday.

In a hotel investigation, I also heard that Mr. Eccles did not notify Mr. Andrews of April’s offer to support the Australian Defense Force at Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s hotel.

“Neither I nor anyone else in the DPC, as far as I know, has decided to use private security for use in the hotel’s quarantine program,” Eccles said in a statement. ..

In a second statement to the investigation dated September 16, Eccles said he didn’t have a copy of Ashton’s text message on his cell phone, saying “I can’t remember what I did in response to that text message.” It was. ..

Mr. Eccles was later referred to as “Mr. Wolf”. pulp Fiction Thank you for allowing the character Andrews to head his department.

“I am clear that staying in this position will be a significant distraction to the ongoing work of Victoria’s public sector and its citizens as it enters an important phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions. I made this decision with my senses. “”

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Paul is a reporter for The Age.

Michael is a political reporter in The Age.

Tammy Mills is a legal correspondent at The Age.

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