Political commentator Peta Credlin has been criticised for taking over Victoria’s daily coronavirus media conference to again interrogate Premier Daniel Andrews over the timeline surrounding the decision to use security guards in the state’s botched hotel quarantine program.
The Sky News host repeatedly pressed Mr Andrews with a series of long-winded questions regarding his interactions with former secretary of Victoria’s Department of Premier and Cabinet, Chris Eccles, before his recently revealed phone call with then Police Commissioner Graham Ashton on March 27.
Following the revelation of the phone call records Mr Eccles resigned from his position on Monday morning.
One of her prolonged addresses to the premier, where she detailed at length a timeline surrounding the National Cabinet’s decision to implement a hotel quarantine scheme nationwide, resulted in a bemused response from Mr Andrews, in which he asked: “And your question is?”
Many watching on were infuriated with her approach and slammed Credlin, who was Tony Abbott’s chief of staff during his tenure as prime minister, on social media.
Writer Marieke Hardy called her questioning a “self-serving and frankly incomprehensible soliloquy” on Twitter.
“Somebody please shut her up,” one person said.
“Just ask a question instead of rambling on,” one demanded.
#PetaCredlin ... so full of herself. I choose not to watch her putrid show on @SkyNewsAust but now I have to put up with her at @DanielAndrewsMP pressers on a daily basis now? Jesus wept. Can 2020 get any worse #auspol— Marc Dawson (@Marcdawson) October 12, 2020
@DanielAndrewsMP can someone tell PETA Credlin Covid briefing is not a court case she thinks she’s Perry Mason— penny (@rlagosta) October 12, 2020
“Peta Credlin... who the hell does she actually think she is? What exactly is her objective?” another asked.
“I have no problem with questioning or expecting transparency and truthfulness - but this is absolutely beyond the pale... I'm gobsmacked.”
Her presence at the press conference even angered some.
“He should move onto the real journalist in the room,” one person said.
Appreciate @Raf_Epstein asking a clear and concise question at today's presser - pertinent to those of us in Lockdown aching for details regarding restrictions - particularly after Peta Credlin's self-serving and frankly incomprehensible soliloquy.— Marieke Hardy (@mariekehardy) October 12, 2020
Who the hell is the woman "journo" cross examining Dan Andrews about the inquiry instead of asking about today's announcement? She thinks she is running the inquiry. FFS! #KillSwitchMurdochJournos #SpringSt #AusPol— Lita Gillies (@LitaGillies) October 12, 2020
Several accused her of running her own inquiry to the hotel quarantine scheme.
Credlin eventually cut to the chase following yet another tedious back-and-forth, asking if Mr Andrews had a conversation with Mr Eccles regarding using private security in the scheme as he left the room.
“No,” an abrupt Mr Andrews responded.
Not everyone was critical of her approach, with scores of social media users praising her for her willpower to seek a direct answer from Mr Andrews.
“Well done to Peta Credlin for initiating what appeared to be an amazing display of soft shoe shuffling and side stepping from the Premier,” one person said.
“Peta Credlin’s skewering of the Andrews’ government’s lies on hotel quarantine has been highly impressive,” another said.
Can we just all acknowledge the MONUMENTAL effect PETA Credlin has had after attending just one presser! Makes you wonder where we’d be now if SOME journos had actually put in the work earlier at the pressers instead of the soft ball Northface jacket questions. #ThisisJournalism— PR Girl (@oshawosha10) October 12, 2020
Credlin continues persistent pressure on Andrews
Her full-on approach was her second attempt at demanding answers from a persistently deflective Mr Andrews in just four days.
On Friday, she quizzed him in another heated exchange over his phone records and those of his close aides. Later in an opinion piece for News Corp, she called for the premier to reveal the truth and end months of “skilful obfuscation”.
Mr Eccles resigned after phone records requested by the inquiry over the weekend showed he spoke to Mr Ashton prior to Victoria’s hotel quarantine program, despite telling an inquiry into the botched scheme he could not remember such a call.
While he now concedes the records show that he spoke to Mr Ashton, he said he is certain he did not convey to Mr Ashton any decision regarding the use of private security as no decision had been made.
In texts from that day Mr Ashton had described the appointment of private security as a "deal set up" by Mr Eccles' department.
The use of private security guards in the program has been blamed for the state's devastating second wave of coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of people and led to the nation's toughest lockdown.
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