Daniel Andrews is under pressure to answer eleven questions about his mysterious fall to ‘prove there is no cover up’ after basically vanishing from public view for 91 days.
The Liberal-National state Opposition is demanding answers after Daily Mail Australia first questioned why the Victoria premier, one of the most prominent figures in Australia, has hidden himself away during his recovery.
Since his accident in March 9, he has only been seen in three social media photos, including one posted by his wife Catherine on Saturday which showed her cutting his hair with his face covered by a comb.
Mr Andrews suffered five broken ribs and a fractured T7 vertebrae after falling on ‘wet and slippery’ stairs at a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, at 6.30am.
In a statement six days after the incident, Mr Andrews said ‘I landed flat on my back and hit the steps hard directly below the shoulder blades’ – but the scant details have sparked a range of conspiracy theories including that he was beaten up by a union official or bashed by a businessman upset about Covid-19 lockdowns.
Dan Andrews was pictured in his wife’s Instagram story on Saturday evening receiving a DIY lockdown haircut – but it didn’t show his face
Mr Andrews was injured on March 9 and spent 10 days in hospital. Conspiracy theorists claimed this image was photoshopped to show his head on some-one else’s body
The 11 questions Daniel Andrews must answer about his injuries
• Who was in the house at the time of the incident?
• What is the address of the house where it occurred?
• Who owns the property?
• What time was an ambulance called?
• Who called the ambulance?
• What time did the ambulance arrive?
• Which ambulance station was the ambulance dispatched from?
• Who made the decision to take the Premier to Peninsula Private?
• Were the police contacted?
• Did the police attend?
• Has Daniel Andrews been interviewed either formally or informally by the police in relation to anything that occurred over that long weekend?
Source: Liberal-National Opposition
Some conspiracy theorists even claimed a social media image showing Mr Andrews in his early recovery stage was photoshopped to show his head on some-one else’s body. Those close to the premier say the theories are nonsense.
The Liberal-National Opposition believes Mr Andrews – who is the nation’s best-paid premier on $422,562 – owes it to taxpayers to reveal more details about the incident and prove there is no ‘cover up’ as he clocks up 91 days off sick on full pay.
MPs want to know who was in the house at the time, as well as the home’s address and the name of the owner.
They also want to know if police were called and if Mr Andrews has been interviewed by officers ‘either formally or informally’ over anything that happened that weekend.
‘If there is no cover up then there is no reason not to provide answers to these simple questions,’ said shadow treasurer Louise Staley.
‘Victorians need honesty and transparency from Daniel Andrews about the circumstances of his injury.
‘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.’
Liberal MP James Newbury joined calls for more details, telling Daily Mail Australia: ‘No-one is questioning whether Daniel Andrews is sick – but as the elected leader of 6.7 million people, he owes Victorians a proper explanation as to what really happened to him.’
‘Victoria is in the middle of its fourth lockdown and people’s lives and livelihoods are on the line. We deserve more from Daniel Andrews than a couple of social media posts or a photo of his wife cutting his hair.’
During his time off sick, Mr Andrews has earned $110,057.22 – almost double the average annual salary of Victorians which is $63,000.
Members of parliament are not employed but get paid for the office they hold, meaning they have no leave limits.
Aussies employed in the private sector only get a minimum of 10 days personal leave per year.
Ms Staley said Mr Andrews should only take an MP’s base salary of $182,413 while off sick.
Absent Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured with his wife) was criticised for saying that Victorians are having ‘another week off work’ in his first social media post since April 18
A closer look at the message posted by Daniel Andrews on Wednesday as he recovers from a back injury
‘Enough is enough, Daniel Andrews can’t continue to get paid for a job he’s not doing. He should only be getting the basic MP’s pay while he’s off work,’ she said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the premier’s office for comment.
Mr Andrews, who oversaw Melbourne’s 112-day lockdown last year, said on Wednesday he would return to work later this month.
It was the first time he had addressed the public since a social media post on April 18, when he said he was making ‘slow and steady progress’.
In a statement posted on social media the premier called on Victorians to remain strong as they faced another seven days in lockdown.
Dan Andrews (pictured with daughter Grace, 18) in April as he recovers from a serious back injury
Daniel Andrews issued this message to Victorians on social media on Wednesday night after weeks of silence
‘I have more scans and a meeting with my medical team next week. I’ll let you know how that goes and exactly when I’ll be back on deck later this month,’ he wrote.
However, one turn of phrase in his message sparked outrage from opponents.
‘But I did want to send a message to Victorians facing another week off work, away from school, or with the kids at home,’ he wrote.
The sentence sparked accusations that Mr Andrews was failing to grasp the damage caused by lockdowns.
David Hodgett, shadow education minister, wrote: ‘This is a Premier completely out of touch with ordinary Victorians.
‘No, Premier, these workers are not having ”another week off work”. They are being financially ruined by your government.’
A sign on the door of a business in Melbourne after the extension of lockdown was announced
It comes after Scott Morrison said Victoria should lift its crippling Covid-19 restrictions ‘as soon as possible’.
The Prime Minister particularly wants to see children at school after the state government only allowed students in years 11 and 12 to go back to class this week.
Since the start of the pandemic Victorian children have been stopped from going to school for 23 weeks, compared to just seven weeks in New South Wales, raising fears they will be left behind students in other states.
‘Kids have lost enough time out of school, over the course of the last 18 months, and it’s very important we get those kids back to school as soon as possible,’ Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
‘I am hopeful these restrictions in Victoria will be lifted as soon as possible… I would be urging that we move to lift those restrictions as soon as possible.’
However, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has warned the state won’t ‘snap back’ to normal when lockdown is due to end in Melbourne on Thursday after a two-week shutdown.
On Monday the state reported just 11 new cases of Covid-19, all linked to known cases with eight already in isolation before testing positive.
The cases took the state’s latest outbreak – which originated in hotel quarantine in Adelaide – to 81 cases.
Students at Lysterfield Primary School return to school in Melbourne in October after a lengthy lockdown due to Covid-19