17 August 2021

Parliament closure is a blatant attempt to evade scrutiny over lockdown damage

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has condemned the Andrews Government’s closing down of Parliament.

The Government used health directions as a reason to close down the current sitting and prevent the asking of questions from MPs concerned about the damaging effects of lockdown.

During his speech, Mr Quilty said the Government was attempting to evade accountability and transparency.

However, the Government shut Mr Quilty down before he could finish his speech, so he took to social media to share a video of his speech made from his office in Parliament House.

“This government is again moving to shut down Parliament.” Mr Quilty said.

“The leader of the Government in the Upper House has made assurances that their legislative agenda will not be slowed and that we will make up the lost weeks.

“I am not concerned with the government’s legislative agenda. I am concerned with the function of Parliament as an oversight body.”

Mr Quilty said the Government is withholding vital information which would justify – or condemn – lockdowns.

“This government has hidden human rights assessments from the public,” Mr Quilty said.

“You’ve hidden information you claim exists to support these lockdowns decisions.

“You have hidden the advice used to justify the closure of the Parliament, instead just sending us a short letter saying we should not meet, from an unknown bureaucrat, acting in a role as head of a committee nobody has ever heard of.”

The Government, Mr Quilty pointed out, is losing the good faith of the public due to its handling of the COVID pandemic.

“This government has abused the public trust for months, and any goodwill we had towards them regarding the management of the pandemic has dried up long ago,” Mr Quilty said.

“I’m not surprised that people are fed up. They’re sick of living under authoritarian rules.

“The closure of Parliament while the Government is exercising emergency powers is just another contradiction to add to the list.

“Let us do our jobs and apply scrutiny to the Government over the lockdown.”