Victoria's harsh Covid-19 lockdowns went 'too far'

Opposition leader hits out at the Victorian government's 'overreach' in wake of a damning independent report that slammed state Premier Dan Andrews' handling of the pandemic

Victoria's harsh Covid-19 lockdowns went 'too far'
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Covid lockdowns in Melbourne went too far, Peter Dutton has said.

The Opposition Leader made the comment on Thursday talking to 2GB radio host Ray Hadley about results of an independent review into Australia’s pandemic response.

“Clearly with some of the lockdowns, I think they went too far, particularly in Victoria," Dutton said.

"And there was a different response by different state governments, quite a different response in WA to what we saw in NSW for example," he continued.

Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia, was locked down for 262 days - or almost nine months – as the Daniel Andrews government reacted to the pandemic.

An independent report by former public servant Peter Shergold, released this week, has slammed Australia’s handling of the pandemic. It criticised governments – federal and state – for “overreach” and “significant mistakes”.

"Governments and public servants were making decisions in a fog of uncertainty. But, looking back, we are persuaded that significant mistakes were made," the report said.

Mr Dutton - who was minister for home affairs and defence during the pandemic - said authorities were making decisions based on the information they had at the time.

He said in 2020, before there was a vaccine, authorities were watching Covid cases rise around the world and governments respond as if in “a war-like time” with a “war-like response”.

"I remember sitting at the national security committee being pretty confronted by the thought we were going to have to set up morgues adjacent to public hospitals,” he said.

"We had shortage of all sorts of supplies, we ran out of ventilators in our country and there was a prospect of intensive care units being overwhelmed."

He said Victoria, though, had gone too far with its lockdowns.

Mr Dutton said he believed federal, state and territory governments should launch their own reviews after the reported issues in the Shergold report.

Shergold was scathing of rules made during the pandemic that were “too often formulated and enforced in ways that lacked fairness and compassion”.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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