News Coronavirus Whose rules are they anyway? Confusion reigns over Victoria’s curfew

Whose rules are they anyway? Confusion reigns over Victoria’s curfew

People in Melbourne have been under a strict curfew, but no one can tell us who recommended it. Photo: AAP
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Melburnians have been subjected to a strict curfew under the threat of fines for nearly two months, but the Victorian government will not reveal who it consulted, or how the restrictive plans were made.

No one seems to know where the idea of the curfew came from. Photo: AAP

Victoria Police confirmed on Thursday that the plan to implement the 8pm to 5am curfew was not its idea, nor was it consulted about it.

Premier Daniel Andrews has defended its efficacy, despite unclear health advice, as he continues to face growing criticism over Victoria’s coronavirus response and the roadmap back to normality.

He told reporters he didn’t know where the curfew advice originated, while chief health officer Brett Sutton said it wasn’t his proposal.

It comes after business leaders complained they were cut out of the process on Wednesday, and confusion grows over whose advice the state has been following in the fight against the coronavirus.

Does curfew work?

Professor Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, said the curfew was “pretty extreme”.

“I’m not convinced the curfew and the shortening of shopping hours is going to make a big difference, but we just don’t know either way,” she told The New Daily. 

“We’re not saying it didn’t work, but did we need to do all of this to get the same outcome? [In terms of] The curfew, was that an added extra that’s actually done nothing?

“We need to know which bits of the strategy actually made the difference. Just because case numbers came down, it doesn’t mean it added anything.”


She said nowhere else in the world did government implement curfews in areas with case numbers as low as Victoria’s.

“To have the size of the outbreaks we’ve had, people wouldn’t have gone into curfew – and certainly not maintaining it now with the numbers we’ve had,” she said.

Professor Bennett added the curfew wasn’t just about squeezing in a jog or grocery shopping before 8pm, it also made lockdown “more complicated” for intimate partners.

“If you’ve got to be home before 8pm, you can’t even have dinner or a proper evening together if you need to get back to your other house,” she said.

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