Victorian opposition accused of stoking conspiracy theories about Dan Andrews' injury

Victorian opposition’s Louise Staley accused of stoking conspiracy theories about Daniel Andrews’ injury

Daniel Andrews

Louise Staley, the Victorian shadow treasurer, has been widely criticised for her questioning of Premier Daniel Andrews’ injury and for suggesting there has been a “cover up”.

Victorian government MPs have accused Staley of spreading “conspiracy theories” about Andrews’ injury, after she issued a press release with a list of questions about how the Victorian Premier broke his back.

Andrews has been on sick leave since March 9 after a fall that resulted in him breaking several ribs and his T7 vertebra. By asking questions about the legitimacy of Andrews’ spinal injury, the Victorian opposition has publicly played into a number of bizarre rumours that have bubbled under the surface during his leave.

“Daniel Andrews has been on sick leave for 91 days. He has continued to be paid as Premier despite not doing the job,” Staley said.

The questions she listed included: “What time did the incident occur? And “Who called the ambulance?”

Asked by journalists about her press release on Tuesday morning, Staley said: “We all give up certain things when we become public figures and one of the things that we give up is the right to absolute privacy, none of us have that anymore”.

“Nobody’s got footage of the stairs. Nobody’s got really any idea where it happened and this is a very visual world these days where we seem to have everything out there on the media but not this.”

She also denied she was playing to “conspiracy theories”.

On Tuesday, in response to media queries, Ambulance Victoria released a statement explaining the details of Andrews’ patient care.

“Ambulance Victoria received a triple zero call for an ambulance at 6.36am on Monday 9 March 2021 for a patient who had fallen on steps at a house in Sorrento,” the statement said.

“The ambulance arrived at 7.01am. The patient was assessed by treating paramedics as having suspected fractured ribs, and pain relief was provided.

“The patient requested to attend a local hospital in order for the attending crew to remain within the area once cleared from the case.”

Daniel Andrews is awaiting a final medical clearance, but is expected to return to work sometime this month.

Victorian MP Tim Richardson said the behaviour from the Victorian Liberal party is the “most vile and disgusting gutter politics”.

“Instead of working to support the efforts of Victorians to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Victorian Liberals are spreading conspiracies about Premier,” Richardson said.

Harriet Shing, another Labor MP, said it was “cheap” and ‘utterly puerile”.

“A cheap, utterly puerile release that says far, far more about the person who wrote it, and the Opposition that authorises it, than anything or anyone else,” Shing said.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Acting Premier James Merlino said he wouldn’t spend much time discussing the issue and is treating it with “the contempt it deserves”.

“We are dealing with a global pandemic, for goodness sake. I treat it with the contempt it deserves. This is more about how the Liberal Party treat people. No decency, no respect, they should be ashamed of themselves,” Merlino said.

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