Despite tens of thousands of Victorians expressing concern about the extension of State of Emergency powers, the Andrews Labor Government has gagged debate and questions in the Upper House.
This is a dagger in the heart of democracy in Victoria.
As the Upper House debated the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (State of Emergency Extension and Other Matters) Bill 2020 overnight, Labor MPs, on multiple occasions, voted to stop questions being asked on the legislation.
During the Committee stage of any bill, key questions on the application of the proposed legislation are asked, which may be referred to later, including by courts, to help explain the intent of the Parliament.
Labor voted to gag the Opposition included questions on the impacts of further restrictions, on mental health advice the government received and the legality of the bill, based on expert external legal advice.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, David Davis:
“The Andrews Government described the bill as the most important to be debated this parliamentary term, yet time and time again, Labor voted to prevent important questions from being asked.
“It was a shameful, arrogant and undemocratic display that Victorians have been accustomed to from Victorian Labor and Daniel Andrews.
“Victorians have concerns they wanted addressed in State Parliament. Sole traders are suffering, self-harm in students has risen dramatically, families are being locked inside their homes, multicultural communities have been ignored and businesses may never open again. Yet, Daniel Andrews and Labor shamefully turned their back on all Victorians.”