MEDIA RELEASE

7 October 2020

 

Tim Quilty says backdown over controversial omnibus bill is a win for democracy

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has claimed the Andrews Government backdown on its controversial Omnibus Bill is “a win for democracy”.

The Bill had passed through the Lower House and was facing a rocky path through the largely unsympathetic Upper House, where Mr Quilty sits.

But in an attempt to appease the Legislative Council, the Government today said it will change the Bill.

“This is a massive win for democracy and a huge signal to the Premier – enough is enough,” Mr Quilty said.

“Daniel Andrews has overseen the suspension of a huge raft of our freedoms and he had started to believe everything he touched turned to gold.

“This backdown has shown him that the Victorian public will no longer tolerate being treated like badly behaved children.

“We are sick of having our communities and our livelihoods destroyed by heavy-handed and poorly formulated laws.”

Much of the condemnation of the Bill focused on powers of arrest which were to be handed to inexperienced members of the public.

These ‘authorised officers’ were to be given the same power as the police but without the 31 weeks’ training and on-the-job supervision and experience which all police recruits undergo.

“I am delighted to see the back of this particularly nasty aspect of the Bill, which has featured in almost all of the flood of emails coming to my office urging me to vote against it,” Mr Quilty said.

“We have already seen some appalling examples of police brutality in the name of fighting this virus, and these are from trained professionals.

“I shudder to think what an overenthusiastic and undertrained member of the public with a badge would do when faced with a mental health situation or a citizen with strong views on these oppressive laws.

“Fortunately this prospect has been blown out of the water by the power of democracy. The people spoke, members of the Legislative Council such as David Limbrick and myself have passed on these views, and the Government backed down and made changes.

“However, this is only a small victory, and I will be looking closely at the amendments and the rest of this Omnibus Bill.

“I am still highly likely to oppose this Bill - but the worst bit is gone.”

Mr Quilty will attend Parliament next week, October 13, when the crucial vote will take place. He is one of 11 crossbench Members who are not aligned with the two major parties and are free to vote as they choose.

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819