The Informer: Inquiring minds ask more of Brett Sutton, Helen Coonan

Onetime politician turned Crown Resorts chair, Helen Coonan (left) and Brett Sutton, Victoria's chief health officer.
Onetime politician turned Crown Resorts chair, Helen Coonan (left) and Brett Sutton, Victoria's chief health officer.

We've been enduring a bit of an "inquiryathon" - from bungled hotel quarantine to COVID-related cruise ship chaos and Royal Commissions galore.

At an extraordinary hearing of Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry this afternoon, the state's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has been asked to provide a new statement after emails emerged contradicting his earlier testimony.

This involves a chain of emails about the decision to use private security firms when Victoria's hotel quarantine program was set-up.

Mr Sutton has seven days to respond to inquiry head Jennifer Coate. The $6 million inquiry was scheduled to give its final report on November 6, but this new evidence may "unsettle" the deadline.

Also today at another inquiry, former pollie now Crown Resorts chair, Helen Coonan, has conceded the casino giant facilitated money laundering at its Melbourne casino.

But Ms Coonan blamed it on "ineptitude" rather than the company deliberately "turning a blind eye" to criminals banking their dirty cash with the company.

Those comments came at one inquiry - the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority's inquiry into Crown - and hours after financial crimes watchdog, AUSTRAC, announced it is undertaking an inquiry into casino junket tours and would be formally investigating Crown for potential breaches of anti-money laundering laws.

On the virus front, Victoria recorded one new case on Tuesday and no deaths while NSW has recorded two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and three cases in hotel quarantine.

There was much border-opening talk - even between the nations's most troublesome states. But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian suggested the Victorian border could open within a month if case numbers stay low in the garden state.

South Australia opened its border to Kiwis but probably most expectantly, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was "well placed" to bring forward the further easing of restrictions slated for November 2, which includes the reopening of retail and hospitality industries in Melbourne.

No surprises that more revelations will be made ... on Sunday. That's when all the big announcements are made these days.

Meanwhile, in scenes reminiscent of our own Black Summer, Colorado firefighters are struggling to get ahead of the state's largest wildfire on record; Wales is going into a "firebreak lockdown" as another wave of the virus seems likely to swamp the UK; and, oh-so importantly, Thursday's US leaders debate will feature a mute button.

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