Here is how the Greg Hunt comments played out in that Sky interview:
Q: Now you mentioned the situation in Victoria, your home state. The most draconian measure that Premier Daniel Andrews has put in place to try and contain the virus in Victoria is the curfew in Melbourne. People locked in their homes effectively from 8:00 o’clock at night to 5:00 o’clock in the morning.
Are you surprised by the revelations yesterday that the Chief Medical Officer in Victoria did not recommend this? This was not a health recommendation; that the curfew is something that Daniel Andrews just decided to put in place for law and order reasons.
Look, I was somewhat surprised because until now, we’d understood that all of the actions taken had been taken on medical advice. I will respectfully leave that to the Victorians.
Most significantly though, the importance of having- whether it’s the vaccine or the contact tracing, is they are health protections. Strengthening contact tracing protects Victorians and protects the health of Australians, and in seven out of eight states and territories, that’s been incredibly strong and then.
Q: But Minister- but Minister, in the state of Victoria now, people are living under this curfew. By the time it’s lifted on current projections, that curfew will have been in place for three months. There was no medical advice that advised the curfew.
Shouldn’t Daniel Andrews lift it now for the social sake, for the mental health benefits of Victorians because it’s just not a medical initiative?
Well, as you know, in the recent days, the Prime Minister, myself, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have been very, very clear that we want to see the health safeguards put in place so as these restrictions, all of the different restrictions can be lifted as quickly as possible, and there has to be a medical basis for any restriction because our normal state of being.
Q: Well exactly. There’s no medical basis for the curfew. Should the curfew go now?
…I’m just saying there is no medical basis for the curfew. Daniel Andrews has admitted that. The Chief Medical Officer has confirmed that. Should the curfew go now because it’s a draconian restriction and there is no medical basis for it?
So we would like to see all and as many of the restrictions lifted as soon as the medical conditions allow, and if there’s no medical basis for something, then obviously, that’s then something entirely within the remit of the Victorian Government to address and we’d encourage them to consider that in the coming days.
Victoria’s curfew is once again being questioned. It’s not due to be entirely lifted until the end of October, which means Melbourne will have been under a curfew for three months.
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton told Melbourne radio 3AW that the curfew wasn’t at his behest.
“No not against my advice, you know, the curfew came in as part of the state of disaster, for example, it wasn’t a state of emergency requirement.
“So you know, that was something that was introduced, but it wasn’t something I was against from a public health perspective.”
I had been under the assumption the entire time that it was something the police had asked for, which Daniel Andrews confirmed on Wednesday.
A curfew that says ‘unless you’ve got a lawful reason to be outside after 8:00pm soon 9:00pm out to 5:00am then you can’t be’ is much easier for Victoria police,” he said.
But Greg Hunt has waded in, saying if it is not based on health advice, then it should be lifted.
“We would like to see all and as many of the restrictions lifted as soon as the medical conditions allow, and if there’s no medical basis for something, then obviously, that’s then something entirely within the remit of the Victorian Government to address and we’d encourage them to consider that in the coming days,” he told Sky News.Andrews says it is about making the health advice enforceable.”It’s not a matter for Brett [Sutton], that’s not health advice, that’s about achieving a health outcome. His advice is ‘do whatever you can to limit movement’. Police then say ‘we need rules we can enforce’. These are decisions ultimately made by me,” he said.
“…What it means is no one’s sneaking out going to their mate’s place.
“No one’s going and doing things that they are by law not allowed to do.”
But you will hear a lot more about that today, as the federal government ramps up its attacks on the Victorian government.
Meanwhile, Queensland and NSW continue to be at loggerheads over the border closure. There are more and more stories of people unable to visit sick and dying relatives, or see children, because of the restrictions.
Yesterday, NSW health minister Brad Hazzard accused Queensland of playing “loopy politics”. Queensland has set up a dedicated unit within its health department to look at exemptions, but the complaints keep piling up.
We’ll bring you all the day’s events as they come. You have Amy Remeikis with you for most of the day.