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Premier still puzzled after road map leaking ‘witch hunt’

Premier Daniel Andrews said he doesn't know if a public servant accused of leaking his road map to ease lockdown restrictions has been suspended during a police investigation.

Accused yesterday of overseeing a "witch hunt" in the bureaucracy, Mr Andrews ­defended his government's ­actions and said he wasn't ­responsible for referring the matter to authorities.

"They are not matters I am involved in. The secretary of the department will hire staff and deal with any of those sorts of issues," he said.

But it is still unclear who ordered a complaint be sent to Victoria Police about the issue, with the department refusing to say if secretary Kym Peake signed off on it.

The Herald Sun published a top-secret leaked road map outlining the government's draft plans to ease restrictions on September 3 - days ahead of Daniel Andrews announcing the official version.

After it was made public, Mr Andrews said it held no "status", but the final road map was almost identical.

An internal probe at DHHS was launched over the issue, and it was later referred to police.

A police spokeswoman said it "received a referral from a government department in relation to unauthorised access of information".

"This matter is being investigated by the E-Crime Squad and as this investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Kym Peake, Victorian Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
Kym Peake, Victorian Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

A DHHS spokesman said: "This is a police matter and it is therefore inappropriate to comment further".

The DHHS has looked at an alleged breach of the VPS code of conduct by an employee who was in an administrative role, however, prior to it being referred on.

If a breach of the code is substantiated it can lead to dismissal and potentially police action.

Shadow Attorney-General Edward O'Donohue said Premier Daniel Andrews now led one of the most secretive and paranoid governments in history and he should be ­focused on the pandemic instead of "witch hunts".

"The decision to prioritise scarce resources into investigating how a document Daniel Andrews described as "out of date" and "of no status", came into the public domain just shows the true priorities of this rotten, lying government," he said.

matthew.johnston@news.com.au

 

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Originally published as Premier still puzzled after road map leaking 'witch hunt'



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