LIBERAL Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty says the forcing of the Andrews Government to resume Parliament on June 2 is a win for democracy and for all Victorians.
The crossbench, of which Mr Quilty is a member, was part of a group which forced the decision following three days of intense discussions.
The announcement comes on the day that both houses of the Victorian Parliament convened for a special sitting to pass legislation, with a limited number of members present.
Mr Quilty said the resumption of Parliament was a vital step towards restoring democracy in Victoria.
“We have seen Premier Daniel Andrews trample all over our freedoms and impose ridiculous penalties on anybody who dares so much as venture out of their front door, all in the name of preventing the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Quilty said.
“He and his Cabinet have needlessly overreached with decrees supposedly to prevent the spread of disease, but we have seen time and again that even the most innocuous of activities such as fishing and hunting, which take place far from any crowds of people, have been unnecessarily banned.”
Mr Quilty said that at the same time hordes of people have been seen shopping. “The Premier has so graciously permitted this, people jostling together in crowded shopping aisles and creating ideal conditions for the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
“And all of these decrees have been passed without any kind of scrutiny from Parliament, because we have been prevented from doing our jobs as Members of Parliament.
“There has been no possible opportunity for any dissenting voices in Parliament to speak out against the enormous overreach we have been seeing week in, week out.”
Mr Quilty was part of a group of crossbench MPs who joined forces last week to protest the suspension of Parliament.
“I was happy to add my name to the list of politicians who demanded the Victorian Government restore our ability as Parliamentarians to keep an eye on what Mr Andrews and his cronies were up to,” Mr Quilty said.
“Our role as representatives of all Victorians was completely eliminated while Parliament was shut down, which makes the resumption of regular sittings so crucial.
“We are in Parliament for just one day today, which was always going to be an interim measure to have a brief look at some proposed legislation connected with coronavirus measures.
“This single day is not anywhere near enough for a proper debate about the Government’s proposed Bills, but it absolutely highlights that a proper return to Parliamentary sitting weeks is vital to the health of Victorian democracy.”