20 October 2021

Business as usual for Tim Quilty during suspension, except one key function: voting

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty is continuing his work as a Member of Parliament in spite of his suspiciously timed suspension.

The Victorian Government last week passed a motion which required all MPs in the Legislative Council to provide evidence of their vaccination status, something Mr Quilty, although fully vaccinated, voted against and subsequently chose not to comply with.

Now he is barred from setting foot in Parliament House or any part of the parliamentary precinct.

The suspension has been cynically timed, so that Mr Quilty will be prevented from voting on the Victorian Government’s secret new legislation extending emergency powers - which needs to be debated in the next few weeks.

“The Andrews Government has got things pretty well worked out against those of us who refused to comply with their ruling – the State of Emergency replacement will have to be voted on before the current one expires on December 16. With the suspension, they have removed several known opponents on a rather flimsy pretext,” Mr Quilty said.

“Curiously, we will be allowed to return in February, after the Government has passed its new State of Emergency powers.

“I am not sure what magic takes place in February which would suddenly make it safe for me to sit again, but it’s probably safe for the Government to let me back in to vote by that time, after they’ve rammed through their secret State of Emergency legislation.

“We have not been given any information about this secret new permanent pandemic legislation, but we do know one thing: it’s coming, and soon.

“The Premier seems all too happy to pull strings and manipulate Parliament to ensure he gets to keep his unlimited power for an unlimited time.”

Mr Quilty questioned the risk his presence in Parliament House presents.

“The Government knows I’ve been vaccinated, but even if I hadn’t been, with over 90% of the chamber confirmed as vaxed, there are really no scientific grounds for the exclusion,” Mr Quilty said.

“I’ve never made a secret of my support for vaccines. However, I am also pro-choice. It is an outrageous breach of human rights to coerce people into being vaccinated by demanding their vaccine passports, and I will not be a party to it. I stand in solidarity with those who do not want to, or cannot, comply with this appalling mandate.”

However, other than voting, Mr Quilty is able to continue his work largely uninterrupted.

“Just like during lockdowns, I continue to do my job for Northern Victorians,” Mr Quilty said, working from his home office.

“I’m still able to keep doing all the things an MP does to represent his constituents.

“I can make speeches and ask questions of the Government, all via video link to the Legislative Council chamber, and I am allowed to go out and meet constituents - which is something I am doing today.

“I can do everything I would usually do, except vote. Which is very convenient for the Government.”