Jenny Mikakos has asked for her privacy to be respected after her home address was leaked, but still hasn’t commented on claims she took the fall for Premier Daniel Andrews.
The former Victorian Health Minister resigned from parliament on Friday, just 24 hours after Mr Andrews told an inquiry Ms Mikakos was ‘accountable’ for the hotel quarantine program which led to the state’s second wave.
Ms Mikakos is believed to have received a number of serious threats and her address has been distributed.
‘Dear media, I won’t be doing interviews at my home,’ she tweeted on Monday morning.
‘Please respect my privacy and safety. When I want to speak to you I’ll call you. As for the people who have distributed my home address widely I have no words.’
Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) blamed Jenny Mikakos for the state’s hotel quarantine blunder, leading several Labor MP’s to lash out against him
Jenny Mikakos resigned from parliament on Friday, just 24 hours after Mr Andrews told an inquiry she was ‘accountable’ for the hotel quarantine program
Jenny Mikakos took to Twitter on Monday morning to ask for her privacy to be respected
When asked about Ms Mikakos on Sunday, Mr Andrews said he had not contacted the former minister since her resignation.
‘No one is happy to see someone who is an incredibly hard working member of the team go, but if you make a decision that you can’t serve in the cabinet then you can’t serve in the cabinet,’ he said.
Mr Andrews named mental health minister Martin Foley as Ms Mikakos’ replacement.
The ugly, public break-up, comes as pressure mounts on the government over their handling of the state’s quarantine hotel blunder.
Mr Andrews did his best to side-step questions regarding his role in the quarantine saga and remains adamant he will not be following suit and has no plans to resign in the midst of the public health crisis.
Ms Mikakos posted to Twitter that her integrity had been ‘undermined’ and that she could no longer serve in the Premier’s Cabinet.
On her way out the door she did not hesitate to take one final swipe at Mr Andrews, saying she too wanted to know who was responsible for the hotel disaster.
‘I have never wanted to leave the job unfinished but in light of the premier’s statement to the Board of the inquiry and the fact that there are elements in it that I strongly disagree with, I believe that I cannot continue to serve in his Cabinet,’ Ms Mikakos said in a statement.
‘I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined.
‘I have today written to the Governor of Victoria to resign my commissions as a Minister effective today. I will also be resigning from the Parliament.’
Two walkers wearing face masks wander through Treasury Gardens in Melbourne on Saturday
Ms Mikakos told the hearing that ‘to the best of her recollection’ she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered a coronavirus outbreak
Pressure on Ms Mikakos mounted after her testimony to the inquiry on Thursday was conflicted by Mr Andrews’ the following day.
Ms Mikakos told the hearing that ‘to the best of her recollection’ she did not know private guards were enforcing the scheme until late May when the Rydges hotel suffered a coronavirus outbreak.
But a video of a press conference on 29 March – two days after the quarantine scheme was announced – shows Ms Mikakos standing alongside jobs minister Martin Pakula as he said: ‘Passengers returning will now undergo mandatory two-week quarantine at those Melbourne hotels with security guards in place.’
In a written statement to the inquiry, Ms Mikakos wrote: ‘I believe I first became aware of the use of private security guards… after the Rydges outbreak occurred in late May 2020.’
Speaking at the inquiry on Thursday she added: ‘That’s to the best of my recollection… because I would have had no reason to turn my mind to issues around security guards until we had that first case and the first outbreak at the Rydges hotel.’
Asked if the video contradicts Ms Mikakos’ evidence to the inquiry, her spokesman told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The Minister categorically denies that she has misled the Board in any way and has sought leave to provide information to the Board to that effect.’
Coronavirus escaped from hotel quarantine in late May and sparked the state’s second wave which has seen more than 700 deaths.
Jenny Mikakos said she cannot continue to serve in Mr Andrews’ cabinet in a statement on Twitter
Mr Andrews’ colleagues have since turned on him after he blamed the quarantine disaster on Ms Mikakos.
‘It has put a lot of people on edge,’ an anonymous minister told The Herald Sun.
‘He is a tyrant. He is a dictator with a capital D.I.C.K,’ another said.
‘He doesn’t care about anybody but himself. Jenny knows he lied and I don’t like the way she was treated.’
The Victorian government has faced criticism for not accepting ADF troops and instead using private security guards, some of whom flouted social distancing rules and failed to properly wear PPE, witnesses told the inquiry.
Ms Mikakos said she was ‘not part of the decision-making process’ to use private security guards.
Despite the litany of criticisms aimed at the embattled state politician and her handling of the once-in-lifetime crisis, she tried to distance herself from blame.
‘With the benefit of hindsight, there are clearly matters that my department should have briefed me on,’ Ms Mikakos said in her resignation letter.
‘Whether they would have changed the course of events only the Board and history can determine.
A walker wearing a face mask crosses a bridge over the Yarra River in Melbourne on Sunday
‘For three months I had looked forward to learning who made the fateful decision to use security guards. Victorians deserve to know.’
But while Ms Mikakos acknowledged she is responsible for her department and that ‘the buck stops with me’.
She also said ‘it is not her responsibility alone’ and does not believe her actions contributed to the second wave of cases which have ravaged the state.
‘Since the start of the pandemic. I have worked every day with a single focus – to protect Victorians from an unprecedented global public health threat in our life-time,’ Ms Mikakos said.
‘It has been a responsibility for which I have felt only a sense of urgency and resolve.
‘The sacrifice and suffering of Victorians is something that I feel deeply.’
Moments after her resignation, Victorian Shadow Health Minister Georgie Crozier took to social media to blast Mr Andrew’s leadership.
‘A fish rots from the head down… he can’t think by Mikakos going all is fine. It is not. He needs to go too,’ she posted.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step came into effect at 11.59pm on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13: now in effect
– Curfew has been eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records