2 June 2021

Sorry if i’m not delighted, but this lockdown should never have happened

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty says the restrictions now being eased in regional Victoria should never have been imposed in the first place.

From 11.59pm tomorrow, Thursday, many of the restrictions which have ground the state to a halt will be lifted.

But the Wodonga-based politician says the Andrews Government has had more than a year to learn how to handle an outbreak.

“I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies but this is a classic government move – crush public spirit and then ask us to feel grateful when they ease up the pressure just a little bit,” Mr Quilty said.

“Some people might fall for it, but the majority of regional Victorians know this lockdown should never have happened in the first place.

“This crisis has been rumbling on for more than a year and we have seen there are far more effective and less destructive ways to handle outbreaks - competent contact tracers for starters.

“So I refuse to say ‘great, eased restrictions’, because I am furious they were forced on us in the first place.”

Mr Quilty said the Government continues to abuse the powers it gave itself under the state of emergency legislation.

“Victorians are being kept on a knife-edge and, while regional communities can now start to crawl back towards a more normal life, the damage from this week of lockdown will take a long time to recover from,” Mr Quilty said.

“Next week the Legislative Council will be debating a Private Members Bill I am introducing which just might put the brakes on some of these kneejerk reactions.

“The threat of a five-year prison term for recklessly issuing unlawful restrictions will give government figures – politicians and bureaucrats – a solid reason to consider more delicate ways of handling outbreaks.

“The Government’s powers under the State of Emergency Direction are not supposed to be unlimited – any restriction on our liberties is supposed to be the minimum necessary, and proportional to the risk.

“Locking down communities, students and businesses when the risk was minimal was completely disproportionate and irresponsible.

“I have received many messages of anger from Victorians who have had enough of being locked down at the whim of a government drunk on power.”