News State Victoria Daniel Andrews promises to share his phone records with inquiry into quarantine hotels debacle
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Daniel Andrews promises to share his phone records with inquiry into quarantine hotels debacle

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews won't fight the Inquiry's efforts to access his phone records. Photo: TND
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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he will hand over his phone records in response to a request from an inquiry into his state’s catastrophic hotel quarantine system.

At his daily press conference, Mr Andrews said he and his senior staff had been asked to provide all records, including telephone logs and text messages.

He had previously committed to providing the material if requested.

The announcement followed a grilling at Friday’s press conference about whether the inquiry had sufficient powers to complete its work without having access to phone records from March 27, the day much of the program’s structure was established.

In its final submission to the inquiry, Victoria Police blamed federal communication laws for what it said was an inability to provide the full phone records of the former police chief commissioner Graham Ashton.

A timeline provide by Victoria Police said Mr Ashton had been called between 1:16pm and 1:22pm on March 27 to advise private security would be used in the hotels.

But neither he nor Chris Eccles, the secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, were able to recall who made that phone call.

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Premier Andrews told reporters he seldom communicated with former commissioner Graham Ashton. Photo: AAP

In its submission to the inquiry, VicPol said Mr Ashton’s billing records only listed incoming calls from other senior police but no other incoming calls.

Too much time had passed and the data was no longer stored on the phone, the submission said.

Mr Andrews said he could not specify when his records would be surrendered to the inquiry, although he promised it would “done as soon as possible.”

“Telstra and others have to provide us with those details but that will be provided,” Mr Andrews said, adding “everyone wants answers – all of us are entitled to answers.”

He said his media staff would also provide their records, but he could not say if the same request had been made of other key players involved in the decision-making process.

Asked at Saturday’s press conference, Mr Andrews denied receiving a text from Mr Ashton in that key six-minute period.

He also denied sending a text to the state’s then most senior police officer.

“I don’t speak to the chief commissioner very often at all, and I certainly didn’t speak to him then or about these matters,” he said.

“It would seem to me Mr Ashton’s understandings about what was and wasn’t happening evolved throughout that entire afternoon.

“I’ve made statements. I have provided sworn evidence. I stand by that evidence.”