Victorian Labor MPs are turning on Daniel Andrews after the resignation of Chris Eccles, secretary of Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, and the premier’s right hand man.
Premier Andrews said he was “shocked” when he was informed on Sunday night that this call had been made according to a “detailed examination of his records”. Mr Andrews said Mr Eccles had made the “right choice” to resign two weeks after the resignation of former health minister Jenny Mikakos over the same inquiry.
Mr Andrews said he did not have “conversations with him on the substance of these matters” as he does not think it is “appropriate” for witnesses to be talking with each other in their capacity as witnesses.
Mr Eccles resigned after telephone records showed that he had spoken to former police chief commissioner Graham Ashton for two minutes though he had told the hotel quarantine inquiry that he could not remember doing so.
“I am absolutely certain I did not convey to Mr Ashton any decision regarding the use of private security as I was unaware any such decision had been made, and I most certainly had not made such a decision myself,” Mr Eccles said.
“Ultimately the Board will make its conclusions regarding the matters before it.
“However, in the circumstances, and with the heightened level of focus on this issue, I do not want a focus on me to in any way undermine the extraordinary work of the public sector as it continues to respond to unprecedented challenges of 2020.”
The revelation of Mr Eccles’ telephone call came after the inquiry probing the hotel quarantine on Sunday requested the phone records of senior figures within Mr Andrews government.