Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has refused to confirm or deny whether Victoria Police asked for the state’s extraordinary 8pm-5am curfew, after Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton revealed it wasn’t his idea.
Fronting the media in Melbourne today, Andrews said he can’t “pinpoint the individual and the day when they said ‘oh, let’s do this.’”
However, he did say the measures make life much easier for Victoria Police – and that law enforcement authorities have been involved in an “ongoing discussion” about the state’s response to the crisis.
“The health advice says limit movement, police say they need clear rules to be able to enforce, curfew delivers both,” Andrews said.
Dr Sutton yesterday confirmed to 3AW the decision to institute a curfew didn’t come from his department, as have other guidelines for handling the pandemic.
“I was consulted on it, but it was a separate decision-making pathway,” Dr Sutton told presenter Neil Mitchell.
While he distanced himself from the initial decision to enforce curfews, Dr Sutton said he was consulted on the measure, which he thinks has been “useful” from a public health standpoint.
Pressed on whether enforcing a curfew limits the freedoms of Melburnians who were following pre-existing restrictions, Andrews today said the move clears things up for Victoria Police.
“A curfew that says ‘unless you’ve got a lawful reason to be outside, after 8, soon 9pm, out to 5am, then you can’t be’, is much easier, much easier for Victoria Police,” he said.
“That may be a burden for some people, and I apologise for that,” Andrews added. “But the benefit far outweighs, in my judgment, the benefit far outweighs that burden.
The curfews, which came into effect in early August, are slated to continue until October 26 at the earliest.
They will be eased by one hour to 9pm-5am from September 14.