It just happened.
Chapter 5 notes that the decision to engage private security was not a decision made at the Ministerial level.
The Premier and former Minister Mikakos said they played no part in the decision.
Minister Neville was aware of the proposal but not responsible for it and Minister Pakula appears not to have been told until after private security had been engaged. Enforcement of quarantine was a crucial element of the Program that the Premier had committed Victoria to adopting, but neither he nor his Ministers had any active role in, or oversight of, the decision about how that enforcement would be achieved.
In his evidence, the Premier agreed that the question of how this occurred should be capable of being answered.24
As the head of the Victorian Public Service at the time, the then Secretary of DPC acknowledged it was a fair point that, if no one knew who made the decision, there was an obvious risk that no one would understand that they had the responsibility for revisiting the decision if time and experience showed that it was not the correct one.25 This was what occurred here.
The decision was made without proper analysis or even a clear articulation that it was being made at all. On its face, this was at odds with any normal application of the principles of the Westminster system of responsible government. That a decision of such significance for a government program, which ultimately involved the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars and the employment of thousands of people, had neither a responsible Minister nor a transparent rationale for why that course was adopted, plainly does not seem to accord with those principles.
The conclusions contained in Chapter 5 find that the decision as to the enforcement model for people detained in quarantine was a substantial part of an important public health initiative and it cost the Victorian community many millions of dollars. But it remained, as multiple submissions to the Inquiry noted, an orphan, with no person or department claiming responsibility.