Daniel Andrews’ body language at the hotel quarantine inquiry shows he is ‘fatigued’ and ‘feeling the pressure’, an expert has claimed.
The premier apologised for his government’s decision to use private security guards at coronavirus quarantine hotels as he faced the inquiry into the botched program on Friday.
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.
Founder and director of dating service Match Smith, Holly Bartter, analysed the premier’s body language as he spoke to the inquiry.
Daniel Andrews’ body language at the hotel quarantine inquiry shows he is ‘fatigued’ and ‘feeling the pressure’, an expert has claimed
The body language expert noticed Mr Andrews continued to look down to the left.
‘This is clearly an inquiry that holds a lot of weight for the premier,’ she said.
‘And looking down to his left can suggest he’s really reflecting on his answers, feeling the pressure and nerves associated with getting his wording and responses correct.’
Mr Andrews told the inquiry mistakes had been made with his state’s quarantine program and ‘answers are required’.
‘Those mistakes are unacceptable to me … I want to make it very clear to each and every member of the Victorian community that I am sorry for what has occurred here and I want to issue an unreserved apology to all Victorians,’ he said.
Ms Bartter suggested the inquiry and ongoing questions had taken a physical toll on the premier.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has sworn on the bible to tell an inquiry that he has no idea who decided to use private security to guard returned travellers
The quarantine disaster in Victoria spread to aged care facilities. Pictured: Medical workers evacuate a resident from the Epping Gardens aged care facility in July
‘Andrews looks fatigued,’ she said.
‘His posture is slightly slumped and hands resting on the desk.’
She also noticed Mr Andrews so ‘several hands clasped and palms-open movements’.
‘In body language terms this is often associated with being open and honest, especially with tricky questions that he’s trying to answer to the best of his ability, but may not be able to for whatever reason,’ Ms Bartter said.
‘He appears low energy but sincere in his efforts.’
Mr Andrews swore on the bible and told the inquiry that he did not know who made the decision to hire private security guards to oversee returned travellers.
‘I do not know who made that decision,’ he wrote in his submission to the inquiry on Friday.
ADF personnel and Victorian police officers are seen patrolling the Tan walking track in Melbourne
‘I expected that there would be a mix of different personnel playing different roles in the program, including members of Victoria Police.
‘But the way in which that decision was to be implemented, including the mix of personnel that would be engaged and their respective roles, was an operational matter.’
It comes after Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, Jobs Minister Martin Pakula and Police Minister Lisa Neville denied involvement in the decision to use guards, rather than the police or the Australian Defence Force, who assisted in NSW and Queensland.
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton and his predecessor Graham Ashton, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, as well as senior public servants, have also pleaded ignorance.
The inquiry has heard the decision was made on March 27, the day national cabinet announced the hotel quarantine program.
Security guards working at Victoria’s quarantine hotels have been blamed for bringing coronavirus into the community
Following the national cabinet meeting, the premier held a 3pm press conference during which he told reporters ‘police, private security, all of our health team will be able to monitor compliance in a much easier way’ at hotels.
He told the inquiry he’s not certain why he mentioned private security at that point in time.
The inquiry has heard the decision to hire private security guards wasn’t made until a meeting at the state control centre at 4.30pm that day.
‘I can’t clarify for you or outline for you why I chose those three groups. I’m afraid I have tried to search my recall of this and I simply can’t,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘I can’t provide you with detail as to why they’re mentioned and others aren’t.’
Mr Andrews is the final witness before the $3 million inquiry, headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate.
He is being represented by three lawyers: Stephen O’Meara QC, Kathleen Foley and Olaf Ciolek.
The inquiry will hand down its final report on November 6.