ABC presenter Leigh Sales calls for NSW’s health minister to follow in his Victorian counterpart’s footsteps and resign – after he escaped scrutiny over the Ruby Princess cruise ship debacle
- Leigh Sales questioned why NSW’s health minister didn’t resign over cruise ship
- Jenny Mikakos quit as Victoria’s health minister after hotel quarantine outbreak
- ABC presenter Sales compared situation to NSW counterpart, Brad Hazzard
- Ruby Princess debacle led to 28 deaths after passengers disembarked in March
ABC presenter Leigh Sales has called for NSW’s health minister to follow in the footsteps of his Victorian counterpart and resign over the Ruby Princess cruise ship debacle.
Jenny Mikakos quit her portfolio a day after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said she was partly responsible for the state’s bungled COVID-19 hotel quarantine scheme.
Victoria’s deadly second wave, which resulted in more than 18,000 new infections and 750 deaths, can be traced back to outbreaks at two Melbourne hotels used in the quarantine program.
The outbreak came after NSW’s Ruby Princess fiasco, which saw 663 passengers contract COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic. There were 28 deaths, including 20 in Australia and eight in the United States.
ABC presenter Leigh Sales (pictured) has questioned why NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard did not resign over the Ruby Princess debacle
Brad Hazzard is seen during a press conference in Sydney on July 14, 2020
Sales compared the two deadly outbreaks following the resignation of Ms Mikakos on Saturday and posed a question to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
‘The minister whose department allowed passengers off the Ruby Princess, the end result of which was 28 deaths,’ she wrote on Twitter.
‘Q Brad Hazzard – Jenny Mikakos is accountable for the mistakes for her department and has resigned – why did you not do the same?’
The ship – which was low on medical supplies and swabs for COVID-19 tests due to shortages – left Sydney on March 8 for New Zealand and returned 11 days later.
Passengers were allowed to disembark before the results of 13 expedited tests, which showed at least three people had the virus.
The 7.30 presenter made her bold suggestion by replying to a tweet from the minister.
Sales compared Victoria’s disastrous hotel quarantine program to the Ruby Princess debacle
Jenny Mikakos quit her portfolio a day after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said she was partly responsible for the state’s bungled COVID-19 hotel quarantine scheme
He wrote: ‘Sorry to see Jenny Mikakos resign. She has worked tirelessly in this pandemic.’
‘Premier Andrews assertion that the Health Minister was responsible for the Quarantine system lacks logic.
‘How could a health minister direct police to be involved?’
Mr Andrews told reporters on Saturday Ms Mikakos texted him to advise of her decision and he had not asked her to resign.
He believed her resignation ‘was the appropriate course of action to take’ but would not explain why he thought it was the right decision.
Mr Andrews said he would leave analysis about Ms Mikakos’ resignation to the final report to come out of the inquiry into hotel quarantine.
Victoria’s second wave came after NSW’s Ruby Princess fiasco, which saw 663 passengers contract COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic. Pictured: The Ruby Princess departs Port Kembla, south of Sydney, on April 23
‘She’s a very, very hard working person and I’m grateful to her for her efforts … I wish her well for the future,’ he said.
He would not be drawn on interpreting Ms Mikakos’ resignation statement, which she released hours earlier on Saturday morning.
Ms Mikakos also intends to resign from parliament after Mr Andrews on Friday gave evidence to the hotel inquiry, where he pointed partial blame at the minister for her role in the quarantine scheme, which led to the state’s deadly second wave of infections.
In her one-page statement, she said the premier’s comments led her to believe she couldn’t continue serving in his cabinet.
‘I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined,’ she said.