1 September 2020

Today I spoke in the Parliament AGAINST the proposed six-month extension to the State of Emergency.

This is undoubtedly one of the most important pieces of legislation on which I will be required to vote on during my time as a politician. That’s largely because the Bill requires us to address very important questions about the extent to which it is appropriate for governments and public officials to seek to impose their own will over the rights, freedoms and liberties of citizens.

For my part, whilst I obviously recognise the need for very safe and careful management of COVID-19, I also firmly believe that extensive checks and balances should always be in place to guard against the misuse of power and authority by any government in Victoria or, indeed, anyone acting on its behalf.

For every day that this continues, our economy is further decimated, more jobs are lost, more businesses collapse, mental health problems more rapidly escalate, our schoolchildren face more setbacks, more domestic and family violence ensues, more relatives and friends are separated from one another, sometimes never to see each other again, and Victorians everywhere lose more hope.

My preference would be for an extension of one month, to then be reviewed by Parliament if and when necessary.  It’s my view there has not been nearly enough flexibility in the response over the past six months and this is something I continue to convey to Government, especially in pushing for more proportionate restrictions in the many regional areas that continue to have low (or zero) coronavirus cases.