Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has played down accusations from federal Education Minister Dan Tehan that he is failing Victorians in the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Andrews said on Monday that he hadn’t spoken to anyone from the federal government after Mr Tehan’s claims of a “failure of leadership” on schools.
“That’s ancient history as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“Fighting among ourselves is not what’s needed – fighting this virus is what’s needed.”
On the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday, Mr Tehan accused Mr Andrews of taking a “sledgehammer” to the state’s education sector by insisting that the bulk of Victorian students should learn from home for the second term.
The comments came as Victorian health authorities were briefing parents at Meadowglen Primary School, in Melbourne’s north, about a positive test for one of the school’s teachers.
Mr Tehan later released a statement saying he had “overstepped the mark”, and should not have criticised “Premier Andrew’s leadership on this matter”. He withdrew his comments.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants all of Australia’s public schools to return to classroom learning by June. Other states are moving toward that, including Queensland, which said on Monday it would start to return students to face-to-face learning by May 11.
However, Victoria has insisted it will make its own decisions on schools.
On Monday, Mr Andrews said he would speak to Mr Morrison at Tuesday’s national cabinet meeting.
“Comments were made yesterday morning, a statement was issued after that. That’s the end of the matter as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Meadowglen school will be shut until Wednesday for special cleaning.