Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews hits back at criticism of Melbourne curfew

Melbourne’s lockdown has been extended by another two weeks, with authorities placing a ban on playgrounds and installing the 9pm to 5am curfew.

Mr Andrews on Tuesday claimed the decision to bring in the harsh rule was part of a suite of measures recommended by the chief health officer intended to stop the spread of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

“It is not for me to prove the efficacy of any one measure, or to provide hard data that establishes that,” the Victorian premier told reporters.

“I have never said one thing alone is a magic wand with this, and I am not in a position to be able to talk to you and provide you with hard data to support a claim I have never made.”

Victoria Police officers patrol Melbourne CBD after Melbourne’s curfew was brought back in. Picture: David Geraghty

The tough new rules have been questioned by experts and opposition MPs.

Jodie McVernon, the director of epidemiology at Melbourne’s Doherty Institute, said she did not believe putting a curfew on Melbourne reduced the virus’s spread.

“Personally, I’m not aware of any evidence that proves that curfews per se are particularly efficacious,” she told ABC radio.

“Clearly we need the public to co-operate with these measures if they’re to be effective.”

Cops Forming in the City

Victoria police patrol the city ahead of the city’s curfew. Picture: David Geraghty

The new rule has also brought ire from some opposition MPs, who claim the curfew is not based on good science.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council David Davis questioned the health information surrounding the curfew.

“The premier has immense power at the moment, and there needs to be scrutiny of him and his ministers,” Mr Davis said.

“We know (the curfew) didn’t stack up last time and yet this time, as with so many occasions when these orders are being put out, the government has not released the briefings and information behind them.”

Injecting Room Protest

The new rule has also brought ire from some opposition MPs, including Georgie Crozier, who claim the curfew is not based on “good” science. Picture: Sarah Matray

MPs in the upper house were forced into parliament on Tuesday, with Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes moving to push the sitting week until the end of August.

Mr Davis, put forward a counter offer to keep parliament running under stricter guidelines and with rapid testing in place, which lost 22 votes to 12.

During the fiery debate, opposition MPs argued the adjournment of sitting dates meant the government could not be scrutinised.

Liberal frontbencher Georgie Crozier said Victorians were suffering while politicians weren’t held to account for public health decisions.

“This house is able to provide a level of scrutiny for the millions of Victorians who are locked in their homes for 23 hours a day,” Ms Crozier said.

“Who’ve not got a voice, who feel abandoned, who have got increasing mental health issues because of the decisions that your government are making.

“Release the health advice on the curfew.”

Parliamentary leader of the Victorians Greens Samantha Ratnam supported a one-week adjournment, but not an indefinite postponement.

She questioned why the government had not found a way to meet remotely.

“The parliament cannot be viewed as just an inconvenience for the government, it is an essential part of our democratic system,” she said.

Curfew Reintroduced Across Metropolitan Melbourne As Victoria Continues To Record New COVID-19 Cases

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 17: An empty playground is seen at the Carlton gardens on August 17, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Lockdown restrictions have been extended for another two weeks across Melbourne as Victoria continues to record new cases of the highly infectious COVID-19 Delta variant. A curfew is also now in place from 9 pm to 5 am each night across the metropolitan area. The new restrictions will remain in place until 11.59 pm on Thursday, 2 September. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The government’s decision to close playgrounds has also been criticised, with chief health officer Brett Sutton defending the decision.

He said authorities were investigating whether there had been transmission at a playground.

“It is not definitive and maybe we will not be able to make it definitive but it looks like there has been transmission in a playground,” Professor Sutton said.


Chief Health Officer said the new restrictions were hard for all Victorian families. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

“There is a risk of transmission in those settings. We have seen child to child transmission throughout this outbreak, in schools, in other circumstances. It happens very quickly.”

Victoria recorded 24 new coronavirus cases including 10 that were infectious in the community.

Of the new infections recorded overnight, 21 are linked to known outbreaks and 14 have been in isolation throughout their infectious period.

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This article originally appeared on Escape and was reproduced

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