Daniel Andrews has defended Melbourne‘s strict curfew, saying police would be spending ‘hundreds of hours clearing out McDonald’s car parks’ without it.
The Victorian premier made the bold statement on Saturday as he stated the ‘point’ of the 8pm until 5am curfew was about ‘human life’, not human rights.
His comments come following ongoing criticism of Victoria strict coronavirus lockdown.
It also followed Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton denying foreknowledge of the curfew prior to it being implemented.
The Victorian premier (pictured) made the bold statement on Saturday as he stated the ‘point’ of the 8pm until 5am curfew was about ‘human life’, not human rights
The curfew was brought in for ‘enforcement’ rather than for public health and is not seen as a valid reason to enact emergency orders. Pictured: Empty streets in Melbourne on Friday
Five million Melburnians have been banned from leaving their homes between 8pm and 5am since August 2. Pictured: An empty strip in the heart of Melbourne during lockdown
Five million Melburnians are banned from leaving their homes between 8pm and 5am under some of the harshest coronavirus restrictions in the world.
The night curfew, which has been in place since August 2, will be eased to 9pm to 5am from 11.59pm on September 13.
Mr Andrews admitted on Wednesday he introduced Melbourne’s overnight curfew to make it easier for police to enforce lockdown.
However, Mr Patton said on Thursday he did not request a curfew and only found about the new law hours before the public was told.
‘I think the chief commissioner and Victoria Police were spoken to hours before the decision was made,’ Mr Andrews said on Saturday, news.com.au reported.
‘And if I can, with the greatest of respect, make it clear to you, that five or six hours in this thing is like a week. Sometimes you don’t get three days to ponder something.’
He added the curfew was ‘never an academic exercise and it is not a matter of public health advice, it is a law enforcement issue’.
Mr Andrews admitted on Wednesday he introduced Melbourne’s overnight curfew to make it easier for police to enforce lockdown. Pictured: Police patrolling a mall strip during the city’s COVID-19 lockdown
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton (pictured) said on Thursday he did not request a curfew and only found about the new law hours before the public was told
As part of the strict restrictions, Melburnians are also required to wear masks in public and stay within 5km of home for exercise
‘I’m not going to ask police to spend hundreds and hundreds of hours clearing out McDonald’s car parks, pop-up gatherings, illegal house parties, the list goes on and on,’ he said.
The issue of the curfew sparked a heated debate this week after chief health officer Brett Sutton admitted to 3AW the curfew was not based on his medical advice but ‘separate decision-making pathway’.
‘The curfew came in as part of the state of disaster … it wasn’t a state of emergency requirement,’ Professor Sutton said.
‘It wasn’t something that I was against from a public health perspective.
‘I was consulted on it but it was a separate decision-making pathway.’
When asked for his personal opinion on the effectiveness of the curfew during Tuesday’s interview, Professor Sutton said: ‘I haven’t reflected on it, I think it has been useful. If I put my mind to it, probably.’
Professor Sutton denied any rumours he had fallen out with Mr Andrews, saying: ‘We’ve worked very well together … I get along pretty well with all sorts, hopefully across the political spectrum and across all the various personality types.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton (pictured) on Tuesday threw Mr Andrews under the bus, telling 3AW the curfew was not based on his medical advice but ‘separate decision-making pathway’
‘My gig is to provide straight up, robust advice.
‘I’m pretty comfortable with giving it, maybe when it’s not comfortably received.’
A top QC has since spoken out, questioning the validity of Melbourne’s curfew.
Michael Wyles said the 8pm to 5am curfew, brought in as part of the city’s Stage Four restrictions, had not been authorised under state law.
Michael Wyles said the 8pm to 5am curfew, brought in as part of Melbourne’s Stage Four restrictions, had not been authorised under state law
‘There is no legal basis for the curfew,’ he told The Australian.
Legislation allows health officials to make emergency orders to protect the public but Mr Sutton revealed he did not seek the curfew.
Premier Andrews instead said the restriction had been ‘about enforcement’.
Mr Andrews was asked if the measure had been requested by police and said restrictions were decided on advice from a variety of authorities.
‘Some of that’s public health advice, some of its law enforcement advice,’ he said.
Mr Wyles’ pointed out the potential flaw in the curfew as assisting law enforcement was not a valid reason to enact emergency health orders.
‘It is invalid and everyone can ignore it because the direction is not, according to what Sutton said yesterday, for the purpose of eliminating or reducing the risk of COVID,’ Mr Wyles said.