Police were not called when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews fell and seriously injured his back, casting further doubt on the state opposition’s claims of a cover-up.
Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley on Monday issued a press release calling for Mr Andrews to answer 12 questions about his injury, including what time an ambulance was called and whether he was “interviewed either formally or informally by the police in relation to anything that occurred over that long weekend”.
The opposition has not provided any evidence to suggest anything untoward or unusual occurred. But Ms Staley said Mr Andrews needed to “clear up” rumours circulating online about the incident.
“If there is no cover-up then there is no reason not to provide answers to these simple questions,” the Liberal MP said.
Mr Andrews broke several ribs and suffered an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra after slipping on stairs at a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula on March 9.
The 48-year-old was released from the hospital on March 15 and has been recovering at home since.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton on Thursday confirmed officers were not called to the incident.
“I’ve been advised that we haven’t attended,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
Asked whether Mr Andrews had been formally or informally questioned by police Mr Patton replied: “No”.
“What you’ve got is a tragic accident that’s left a person severely injured, who happens to be the premier of the state. That’s not a matter the police would be involved in,” he said.
It comes after Ambulance Victoria released a statement on Tuesday, with the premier’s permission, confirming paramedics were dispatched at 6.47am and arrived at the Sorrento home where he was staying at 7.01am.
Ms Staley said it was her hope her remaining questions – including the address of the property and its owner and who was present at the time of the accident – would be answered.
“The government is trying to concurrently run a line that these questions are illegitimate but then is answering some of them,” she told reporters outside parliament on Thursday.
“This is the government’s playbook – they attempt to make any questioning illegitimate and then … they’re playing the woman.”
Asked why she thought police would have interviewed Mr Andrews, Ms Staley replied: “I don’t know, I’m just asking.”
Acting Premier James Merlino said the opposition doubling down on its questioning was a “great disappointment to the people of Victoria”.
“It is a very poor reflection on the opposition and the Liberal Party that they are focused on what are just bizarre conspiracy theories,” he told reporters.
“We are dealing with a pandemic. We are dealing with an extraordinary storm event overnight. We need to respond maturely and appropriately and I don’t think the people of Victoria are seeing that from the Liberal Party.”
Mr Merlino said the premier was meeting with his doctor this week to determine when in June he will return to work.