A member of the Victorian Opposition is being widely criticised for suggesting a “cover up” in the hospitalisation of Premier Daniel Andrews.
Mr Andrews fractured a vertebra and at least five ribs when he fell on wooden stairs at a holiday rental on the Mornington Peninsula in March.
The premier had to take further leave from work after requiring surgery.
On Monday, Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley in a statement said Mr Andrews “owes Victorians some simple answers”.
“Daniel Andrews has been on sick leave for 91 days. He has continued to be paid as Premier despite not doing the job,” she said.
She then listed a number of questions for Mr Andrews, including: “What time did the incident occur?” “Who called the ambulance?” and “Which ambulance station was the ambulance dispatched from?”
Ms Staley said the premier would need to answer these questions before returning to work.
“Everyone is entitled to privacy about their health, but these questions are not about the nature of his injuries, only how he got those injuries,” she said.
“If there is no cover-up then there is no reason not to provide answers to these simple questions.”
Ms Staley told Yahoo News Australia that "all Mr Andrews has to do is answer the questions one by one in full".
"He has the largest Premier’s Department in Victoria’s history and a massive media unit which his has grown exponentially," she said.
"Why wouldn’t his spin team respond immediately?"
'Beyond crazy' statement harpooned
On Twitter, dozens of people, including Labor Party colleagues of Mr Andrews, chided Ms Staley for suggesting there was a “cover up”.
Member for Mordialloc Tim Richardson called the statement “disgusting”.
“Instead of focussing on the COVID-19 pandemic and defeating the virus, the Victorian Liberals come up with more gutter politics,” Mr Richardson tweeted.
Matt Fregon, member for Mount Waverley, tweeted suggestions of a cover up are “beyond crazy”.
“How can anyone reasonably propose to have credibility after spewing out this conspiracy nonsense?” he tweeted.
Others called Ms Staley’s statement “grubby”.
“This is abhorrent. The man is suffering from an injury and possibly disability and she wants to grill him and dock his pay?” one woman tweeted.
One man called the questions “ridiculous”.
“Too much Cluedo in lockdown for you Louise,” he tweeted.
Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters on Sunday he expects Mr Andrews to return to work at the end of the month.
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