Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has defended his decision to attend Tuesday’s police press conference on counter-terrorism arrests in the last week of the state election campaign.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy accused the premier of breaching caretaker conventions by standing beside Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton as he addressed media, but the criticism was dismissed.
“You thought the best thing to do during a terrorist incident is to make official complaints … I don’t go missing in action. I do my job,” Mr Andrews said during a leaders’ debate on Thursday.
“The caretaker conventions have been strictly adhered to and it’s wrong to suggest otherwise.”
The arrests – which were not related to Melbourne’s deadly November 9 knife attack – were announced on the the same day the victim of the Bourke Street tragedy Sisto Malaspina was farewelled at a state funeral.
Mr Andrews was also questioned on the ongoing police investigation into Labor for using taxpayer money in the form of parliamentary allowances to partially pay party campaign staff, known as red shirts, ahead of the 2014 election.
“You make claims knowing full well that I’m not in a position to be going through chapter and verse,” he said, citing the investigation.
An outcome had been expected before Saturday’s election.
The Age on Thursday ran a report citing a source familiar with the investigation saying it had been systematically undermined from “within”.
Chief Commissioner Ashton said he was unaware of any claims of interference.
“From my side of things there’s been no political push,” Mr Ashton told 3AW radio on Thursday.
“There’s been no pressure certainly from me to do anything differently.
“If any complaints are received or anything of that light comes to note, I’ll certainly look at it.”