Daniel Andrews has repeatedly refused to answer questions about Novak Djokovic‘s visa fiasco as the Victorian leader showed his face for the first time since his 24-day summer holiday.
Mr Andrews wouldn’t be drawn on whether the world No.1 should be allowed to play at the Australian Open at his first press conference of 2022 on Tuesday.
He deferred questions to Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who still has the power to deport Djokovic despite a federal court quashing the government’s decision to cancel his visa.
‘I won’t be out there calling for Alex Hawke to use them [his deportation powers] or not,’ he said. ‘That’s a matter for him.’
‘Issuing visas is not one of the responsibilities that I have. If you want to know what Alex Hawke will do, get on the blower to him and have a chat.’
Mr Andrews said he would not be calling for any further decisions to be made on Djokovic’s visa.
‘This tournament is much bigger than any one person and Rafa and a few others have made their position clear.”
The Victorian premier on Monday evening shared a screenshot of him on a Zoom call with his NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet discussing the latest Omicron outbreak.
Mr Andrews appeared to be working from his home office after a three-and-a-half week absence that was heavily criticised by ex-Liberal premier Jeff Kennett.
‘Daniel Andrews has had the best part of six months off from an injury he has never explained,’ Mr Kennett tweeted on Thursday.
Mr Kennett was referring to a period of medical absence the premier took from March 9 to June 28 after he slipped and fell down wet stairs last year.
He broke several ribs and fractured his T7 vertebra after tumbling at his Sorrento home in southeast Melbourne.
‘Now continues to holiday while front line health workers continue to work under great pressure and at great personal risk,’ Mr Kennett said.
‘Time he returned to work.’
Twitter users were quick to defend the premier against Mr Kennett’s claims with one anonymous commentator’s response racking up over 700 likes.
‘Correction needed here Jeff, it wasn’t 6 months and he did explain his injury, multiple times and in great detail,’ they began.
‘It’s important to ensure what your tweeting is factual and correct as the rise of misinformation is harmful to democracy. Please take greater care in future.’
The comment came from ‘PRGuy17’ – one of the premier’s most vocal defenders online who supported Mr Andrews throughout the pandemic.
One of the premier’s first orders of business on his return to the state’s top job was to extend his pandemic laws – which have been in place since December 15 and were due to expire on January 12.
What are the fines in Daniel Andrews’ new law?
$21,909: This fine is for breaching a pandemic order such as not wearing a mask, breaking a movement limit, attending an illegal protest or a gathering, refusing to get tested or failing to show ID.
$90,870: This fine is for an aggravated offence for breaches that ’cause a serious risk to the health of another individual’ such as going to work when infectious.
$109,044: This fine is for businesses breaking rules which may include failing to make sure customers check-in or show proof of vaccine status.
$454,350: This fine is for an ‘aggravated’ offence by a business such as encouraging customers to flout lockdown rules.
The laws passed by the Victorian Parliament late last year allow him to announce a health crisis at any time and assume unprecedented powers.
The Victorian premier said on Sunday the extension of the declaration was a direct response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
‘As part of Victoria’s continued response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Premier Daniel Andrews has extended the pandemic declaration to apply to the state of Victoria from 11.59pm Wednesday 12 January for three months,’ a statement read.
It advised that in making the declaration the premier was satisfied on reasonable grounds there was a serious risk to public health in Victoria.
‘The Omicron variant means there are significant challenges ahead of us. The third dose vaccine rollout, and our children five to 11 year-old vaccination blitz will give us the strongest chance of meeting this challenge,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘Extending the pandemic declaration ensures we are able to put the measures in place to slow the rate of transmission and protect the community’s health and our health system.’
The controversial laws give the premier power to declare a pandemic for an unlimited period of time even if there are no cases of the virus.
If a new variant of Covid arises, the state government could announce pandemic orders ‘by decree’ to confine Victorians in their homes once again.
In announcing the extension, the Acting Chief Health Minister noted Omicron had become the dominant strain of Covid-19 and accounted for 75 per cent of cases.
The rise in hospital and ICU admissions that came amid no indication the state had reached the peak of its Omicron wave, were also noted the statement said.
The laws state a person can be fined up to $21,909 for a breach of an order including not wearing a mask, breaking a movement limit, attending an illegal protest or a gathering, refusing to get tested or failing to show ID.
Businesses can be fined up to $109,044 for breaking rules which may include failing to make sure customers check-in or show proof of vaccine status.
In addition, there is a new aggravated offence for breaches that ’cause a serious risk to the health of another individual’.
These can be punished with a $90,870 fine and two years in jail. An example given in the bill is someone going to work when they are infectious and should be isolating.
Businesses can also be guilty of an aggravated offence, with a maximum fine of $454,350 if, for example, they refuse to obey a lockdown and encourage customers to also flout the rules.
Source: Thanks msn.com