Daniel Andrews' right-hand man Chris Eccles resigns 

Daniel Andrews' right-hand man Chris Eccles has resigned from his position as Victoria's top public servant.

His decision on Monday morning came after phone records revealed he called police boss Graham Ashton as Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program was set up.

An inquiry into the program has been struggling to find out who decided to use private security guards instead of police or the ADF to man quarantine hotels.

Mr Eccles previously told the inquiry he did not recall phoning Mr Ashton in response to a text at 1.16pm on 27 March. 

But his phone records, requested by the inquiry over the weekend, show the pair chatted for two minutes. 

Daniel Andrews' right-hand man Chris Eccles (pictured at the hotel inquiry) has resigned from his position

Daniel Andrews' right-hand man Chris Eccles (pictured at the hotel inquiry) has resigned from his position

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews is pictured at a press conference on Saturday

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews is pictured at a press conference on Saturday 

Victoria Police submitted to the inquiry that someone phoned Mr Ashton between 1.16pm and 1.22pm on March 27 to tell him that private security would be used.

Mr Eccles and Mr Ashton's two-minute phone call occurred in this critical six-minute window.

Mr Ashton texted the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw at 1.12pm on March 27. 

'Mate. Question. Why wouldn't AFP Guard people At The hotel??' he wrote. 

At 1.16pm, Mr Ashton also messaged Mr Eccles: 'Chris I am getting word from Canberra for a plan whereby arrivals from overseas are to be subjected to enforced isolation from tomorrow. The suggestion is Victorian arrivals are conveyed to a hotel Somewhere where they are guarded by police for 14 days. Are you aware of anything in this regard?? Graham'.

The phone records reveal Mr Eccles called Mr Ashton a minute after receiving his message.

Six minutes later, at 1.22pm, Mr Ashton sent another message to Mr Kershaw: 'Mate. My advice is the ADF do passenger transfer and private security will be used.'

'Ok that's new,' Mr Kershaw replied.

'I think that's the deal set up by our DPC. I understand NSW will be a different arrangement,' Mr Ashton said.

In his resignation statement, Mr Eccles insisted he did not make the decision to use private security. 

But he said remaining in his role would be a 'significant distraction' to the government.

'Following a request by the board of inquiry on Saturday 10 October 2020, I requested detailed telephone records from my telecommunications carrier,' his statement read. 

'These records show I called Mr Ashton at 1:17pm and that I spoke with him for just over two minutes. At no time prior to 10 October 2020 had the Board requested access to these telephone records, and they had not previously been in my possession.

'The telephone records do not in any way demonstrate that I, or indeed anyone else in DPC made a decision that private security be used in the hotel quarantine program.'  

Almost all of Victoria's second-wave cases and deaths have been linked to outbreaks at two hotels in May and June. 

A total of 810 Victorians have lost their lives due to coronavirus and Melbourne is on track to suffer a 15-week lockdown.

Former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has already resigned after Mr Andrews said he held her 'accountable' for the hotel quarantine program.

Chris Eccles' resignation statement 

Today I have resigned from the position of Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, effective immediately.

I have been a public servant for over 30 years. It has been a great honour to have led the public services of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, having been appointed by both Labor and Liberal-led governments to the head of the Premier's Departments in those states.

I would like to thank the Premier for the most immediate privilege of serving his government and the people of Victoria.

I have taken this decision with a sense of clarity that to remain in this position would be a significant distraction to the ongoing work of the Victorian public sector and the citizens of our state as we enter a critical phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions.

It is also with clarity that I reaffirm the evidence I provided to the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Board of Inquiry and the department's closing submission to the Board.

My evidence is emphatic that neither myself nor the Department of Premier and Cabinet made a decision to use private security as part of the Hotel Quarantine Program.

I gave evidence that while I did not recall whether I telephoned former chief commissioner Graham Ashton in response to a text message he sent me at 1:16pm on 27 March 2020, I may have. Further, I gave evidence that although I did not recall telephoning Mr Ashton at

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