The Victorian government is moving to prevent unvaccinated MPs and parliamentary staff from entering or voting in parliament, in a national first for Australia.
The notice of motion – distributed to upper house MPs late Thursday night – would see parliamentarians barred from entering the chamber and their security access passes revoked if by October 15 they fail to show proof of their first dose or of an appointment within a week.
Politicians and staffers will have to be fully vaccinated by November 26.
It has always been obvious to anyone of even average intelligence that the ever-soaring number of “cases” in Melbourne is caused by locking people indoors and depriving them of sun, fresh air and those healthy excursions without which all illnesses thrive. Even though Brett Sutton is a mediocre quack – which is why he works for the government – he must know this. He and Premier Andrews persist only to protect the banal lie that an improvement – if and when it comes – was their doing. Neither of them can change course without being found out. Instead of fighting this latest outrage all the way to the High Court, Matthew Guy says the Opposition will obey the Premier and support what, to a layman, looks like an unconstitutional medical eligibility test:
Forest Hill MP Neil Angus, a Liberal Party member, told several colleagues he was unwilling to get a COVID-19 vaccine. That will make him ineligible to sit in Parliament under the government’s push, supported by the opposition, to mandate vaccines.
Senior Liberal sources confirmed to The Age that Mr Angus told Opposition Leader Matthew Guy on Thursday that he would not be inoculated. Mr Angus declined to comment.
Mr Guy told The Age the Coalition supported the motion, meaning it would pass the Parliament. He said he was “urging and encouraging” all his MPs, including Mr Angus, to get vaccinated before the deadline later this month.
Upper house Liberal Democrat MP David Limbrick said he and party colleague Tim Quilty would refuse to hand over their medical details. Even though both are vaccinated, Mr Limbrick said the condition breached the human right of participation in public life.
Limbrick and Quilty’s principled boycott means the government will more easily pass an upcoming ‘emergency powers’ bill that would further entrench the Premier’s police powers. Mr Limbrick says that is the intention: “I think this is one of the most undemocratic things I’ve ever seen… Basically, what they’re doing is removing opposition to their pandemic legislation.”
Given that legislatures elsewhere in the world have made provisions for remote voting and that Mr Andrews has demonstrated no respect for the living assembly anyway, the Opposition should at the very least counter the Premier’s stunt by insisting on a vote to amend the Victorian Constitution to allow remote voting. That would itself require physically attended votes in both houses but Mr Guy could argue it would be worth it on two grounds: to protect the rights of MPs and their constituents and to secure democratic continuity in the event of future parliamentary lockdowns.