Explosive email adds to mountain of evidence saying under-siege premier KNEW about Army quarantine offer, discussed AND rejected it. So at his press conference on Wednesday, it's Daniel Andrews' time to come clean
Federal government offered troops to man hotel quarantine from March 27
NSW accepted 360 troops and Queensland took 100 but Victoria refused
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews previously denied turning down military help
But emails from the prime minister's office show it was offered several times
Daniel Andrews has stood by his claim that hundreds of ADF staff were not offered to help run Victoria's hotel quarantine system.
Emails shown to an inquiry on Tuesday revealed the prime minister's office repeatedly offered military support for the bungled program as early as April.
The evidence appeared to contradict Mr Andrews' claim in August that: 'It is fundamentally incorrect to assert that there were hundreds of ADF staff on offer and somehow, someone said no.'
But on Wednesday, Mr Andrews stood by that statement and said he would explain why when he appears at the inquiry next week.
'I stand by those statements and I'll be providing evidence,' he said.
The premier refused to go into detail, telling a journalist: 'All can I can say is the statements I've made are accurate… it's not appropriate for me to run debates back and forth.
'You're fine to ask the question but there's a live process going on. I'm not distant from it. I'll be part of that process next week.'
When the coronavirus quarantine policy was announced on 27 March, New South Wales accepted 360 troops and Queensland took 100 but Victoria refused any help, an inquiry heard on Tuesday.
On April 8, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens emailed his Victorian counterpart Chris Eccles to again offer ADF assistance.
Referencing how the ADF helped with security in NSW, Mr Gaetjens wrote: 'I am sure the Commonwealth would be willing to assist Victoria in a similar way if you wanted to reconsider your operating model'.
Mr Eccles replied: 'Thanks Phil' - but no request for help was made.
Instead, Victoria used private security guards who flouted social distancing rules, caught the virus in late May and helped spark the state's second wave which has killed more than 700 people.
It wasn't until June 24 that Victoria's emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp made a request for 850 defence personnel to replace private security.
An email from the prime minister's office to the premier's office on that day shows the pair discussed the support.
But the request was rescinded a day later after the Department of Justice and Community Safety took over the program.