Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has hit back at ‘vile’ conspiracy theories about his back injury in his first press conference since the horror fall.
Mr Andrews was on a family weekend at a rented Sorrento property when he slipped and fell on stairs, breaking his back.
‘It’s great to be back after a lengthy absence, one that was required in terms of a very serious injury,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘You can’t go back and do things differently,’ he told journalists during a press conference about the Metro Tunnel. ‘I’m not gonna apologise to you or anybody else for following medical advice and getting fit and well.’
‘I don’t know that you can put an end to some of these vile stories,’ he said.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews and his wife Catherine in the video he posted to Twitter yesterday, updating on his return to work
‘People who make up their own facts, you’re best not really to get into an argument with them. It’s very difficult to win those arguments.
‘Never get into an argument with a fool. That never works. And don’t get into a debate with people who make up their own facts – that doesn’t work either.’
Mr Andrews also provided more detail in response to questions about the holiday house his family had rented on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula when the accident occurred.
‘The minimum booking for the place was a week,’ he said.
‘As it turned out, we were there for a week, we were there for considerably less. We were in the Alfred Hospital instead.
‘Was it a commercially available rental? Yep. I don’t know who owns it. It’s through a leased – one of those holiday rental things, which we’ve done on numerous occasions.
‘I know no more, no less than that. But we paid for it with our own money, as we always do.’
Andrews said his record should explain why other theories about why he had to take time off should be discounted.
‘Some of the communications we had yesterday, together with statements from Victoria Police, statements from Ambulance Victoria, and, you know, my character, who I am, what I’m about, what I’ve demonstrated to the people of this great state, the values I have, I would have thought that that put beyond any doubt what occurred,’ he said.
In a video posted to Twitter yesterday, Mr Andrews explained what had happened at the holiday house.
‘As I put my foot on to the first step. I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t really connect with the step it just slid straight off, I became airborne almost,’ Mr Andrews said in the four-minute video.
‘Then all I can hear is just this almighty crunch.
‘When I heard the crunch, I knew. I thought this is serious, we’re in trouble here.’
His wife Catherine said in the video that she feared her husband would die.
‘It was awful because you were going blue, and we were looking at each other and I was thinking, you are going to die here in Sorrento at this holiday house,’ she said in the video.
‘You’re looking at me and you felt the same.’
Victorian Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has questioned Mr Andrews’ return date, amid school holidays and a six-week winter break for parliament.
‘People will be a little bit cynical about the fact that he only comes back when parliament’s shut down the next five or six weeks,’ he told reporters last week.
‘It would have been better for Victorians and better for democracy if the premier had been here this week to answer questions about our fourth lockdown, and why Victoria alone has had four lockdowns.’