Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has defended his decision not to contact the family of a teenager involved in a car accident with his wife, saying he did not want to compromise the police investigation into the collision.
Mr Andrews' wife Catherine was driving a taxpayer funded 4WD nine days ago at Blairgowrie when 15-year-old Ryan Meuleman collided with the side of the car, smashing the front windscreen – Mr Andrews and his three young children were also in the car.
Ryan was flown to the Royal Children's Hospital where he was operated on for internal bleeding – surgeons removed 10 per cent of his spleen. The teen also suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and cuts.
Daniel Andrews Photo: Wayne Taylor
The Herald Sun attacked Mr Andrews in an editorial, saying that he should have issued a statement about the accident when it occurred.
The Labor leader refused to comment on whether the newspaper handled the issue fairly.
''I'm not someone who criticises the way journalists do their job, I have never done that and nor will I,'' Mr Andrews said.
The story arose after the father, Peter, contacted the News Limited paper saying the family was dismayed that the Andrews family had not contacted them to check on Ryan or the family.
The Opposition Leader said Mrs Andrews contacted the hospital to get an update on Ryan's condition but were unable to get details because of privacy rules.
He said his wife had spoken to police five times to get updates on the teen's condition.
''I can only conclude that perhaps his dad does not know that my wife spoke to the children's hospital, perhaps his dad doesn't know that my wife has been in constant and regular contact with Victoria police.''
He said that he wanted to ensure that he did not interfere in any way with a police investigation.
''This was a serious incident. It could have been much more serious.
''I was very conscious from the outset to make sure that I did nothing, nothing whatsover, that could be seen or could in anyway influence or interfere with the Victoria Police investigation.
''That is why I and my wife have not sought to speak to Ryan or his family – that is after consultation with Victoria Police, they made it very, very clear to my wife that that should be left to them.''
Premier Ted Baillieu said Mr Andrews had ''done the right thing and appears to have not done anything wrong''.
Mr Andrews made several media appearances this morning and in every one stressed that his thoughts were with Ryan and his family, saying his priority was for the welfare of the teen.