Samantha Armytage has praised Sky News host Peta Credlin after she unleashed on Daniel Andrews over the hotel quarantine debacle.
The Sunrise host posted to Twitter on Friday evening – hours after the Victorian premier’s fiery press conference – to thank Credlin for asking the hard questions about the hotel quarantine debacle.
‘Thank god for journos like #petaCredlin,’ she tweeted, alongside the praising hands emoji.
Mr Andrews was grilled on Friday by Credlin, Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, over why phone records were not tendered to the ongoing hotel quarantine inquiry which could reveal who had decided to use private security firms to guard them, rather than Victoria Police or the Australian Defence Force.
In her broadcast last night, Ms Credlin threatened to go to the Premier’s press conference ‘every day’ if she had to.
‘To get the answers, to get to the bottom of this debacle, I will get the truth,’ she pledged.
The Sunrise host (pictured) took to Twitter on Friday evening, hours after the Victorian premier’s press conference, to thank Peta Credlin for asking the hard questions about the hotel quarantine debacle
Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff Peta Credlin (pictured) made a surprise appearance at Premier Daniel Andrews’ 99th consecutive press conference on Friday
Samantha Armytage took to Twitter and praised Credlin for questioning the inquiry on Friday
In a made-for-TV moment, Credlin asked the premier at the press conference to hand over the phone records to ‘clear up’ six crucial minutes where the decision to use private security guards appeared to have been made.
But Mr Andrews insisted that phone records had not been requested by the inquiry examining the bungled scheme, which was headed by retired Justice Jennifer Coate.
‘At any point where this inquiry has sought more from the government, the answer has been yes,’ Mr Andrews told Credlin.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, are you, (Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary) Chris Eccles, and indeed your chief of staff prepared to prove your outgoing calls in that six minute period,’ Credlin asked.
Mr Andrews snapped back that he had not been asked to hand them over.
‘I am confident that if they believe there is a deficiency in the, or incompleteness in terms of the picture that they are working with, it is within their power to raise those matters,’ he said.
Later that evening, Credlin went on an extraordinary rant saying she may question the Victorian premier every day until she gets the truth.
‘I say again, I am not going to let this go. I will not go away. If I have to go to the premier’s press conference every day I will,’ she said sternly.
‘To get the answers, to get to the bottom of this debacle. I will get the truth.’
Not everyone was as supportive of Credlin’s grilling Armytage.
Other prominent Australians slammed Credlin for her behaviour toward Mr Andrews or said her criticism should be aimed on different subjects.
Tanya Plibersek, the Federal Opposition’s education spokeswoman, said: ‘I’d like Peta Credlin to interview @GregHuntMP about the COVIDSafe app.’
‘Imagine how much better contact tracing could be if the app did what it was supposed to. Another #ITfail brought to you by @ScottMorrisonMP and his government.’
‘Peta Credlin – a journalist. Sure… and I’m young and hip!’ John Kennedy, Victorian state MP tweeted.
Seven News Political Reporter Jennifer Bechwati was left shocked at the heated exchange between the pair.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) said he had not been asked to hand over the phone records to see who was in charge of hotel quarantine
Politicians and news reporters tweeted their reactions following the heated exchange between Credlin and Mr Andrews
Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine on June 25, 2020
Medical professionals are seen at Kilmore Soldiers Memorial Hall on October 10, 2020 in Kilmore, regional Victoria
A pop-up COVID-19 testing site has been set up in Kilmore after following a cluster outbreak in the regional Victorian town
Timeline to disaster: How the decision to employ private security came to be, according to what an inquiry has heard
Under the law, the hotel quarantine inquiry does not actually have the power to ask Mr Andrews for his phone records.
‘It is not a power or ability open to Justice Coate,’ Credlin told the premier.
‘But you as an individual, your chief of staff and Mr Eccles can willingly provide that information now and completely clear up this six minute period that has been I think the subject of a lot of debate.’
The inquiry had heard previously that former Police Chief Graham Ashton had received a call from someone within the premier’s department telling him that the decision to use private security had been made.
But the Premier couldn’t remember who had told him.
A clearly agitated premier told Credlin if the inquiry had not asked him the question, he had no intention of telling her.
‘With the greatest of respect, if you’re putting it to me that somehow you’ve got the power to make a request of me, but the board doesn’t, that’s just not right,’ Mr Andrew said.
‘I don’t agree with the notion that now you and your network have an ability to put something to me and make a request of me but the board of inquiry doesn’t. The board has that power.’
Premier Daniel Andrews swore on the bible at the inquiry to tell the whole truth and nothing but it
Peta Credlin has turned a blowtorch on Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during his press conference on Friday
Oddfellows cafe in Kilmore is seen closed as a passerby walks on October 10, 2020 in Kilmore, in regional Victoria
The stoush followed a suggestion by former health minister Jenny Mikakos that Mr Andrews’ evidence to the inquiry should be treated with caution.
Mr Andrews warned on Saturday that Melbourne is ‘unlikely’ to take big steps out of lockdown next weekend as planned with the state’s second wave proving ‘stubborn.’
In a fresh setback, the state’s 14-day rolling average of cases inched in the wrong direction on Saturday, rising from 9.4 to 9.5.
The state itself reported 14 new diagnoses in the past 24 hours plus 10 mystery cases. The Victorian government wants to get the 14 day average below five new cases each day by October 19 and mystery cases likewise to five.
In disappointing news for Melburnians who have suffered through months of harsh lockdown, Mr Andrews admitted the ‘tail’ of the second wave was proving stubborn and revealed the next steps out of lockdown may not be as big as hoped.
‘I think it unlikely that we will be able to move as fast as we would like to have done by next Sunday,’ the premier said.
Some restrictions will be eased next weekend but it’s ‘unlikely we can take as big a step … as we would hope’.