14 October 2020


Tim Quilty says passing of Omnibus Bill is another nail in freedom’s coffin

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty spoke this morning after the Andrews Government’s Omnibus Bill successfully passed through the Upper House at 2am.

The Bill had attracted overwhelming criticism for extending the Premier’s powers over Victorians, to the extent that the Government had to make a series of amendments to pass it.

“I’m disappointed, I’m saddened and I feel like Daniel Andrews has hammered another nail in the coffin of freedom,” Mr Quilty said.

“While the worst parts of the Bill were withdrawn, it is still too much, for too long, too late.

“The Bill still allows the Government to give to anyone they like the power to close any venue and the power to force anyone to take any action, take anything and destroy it. This includes health workers and WorkSafe workers who do not have the skills or experience to wield such incredible power.

“My office has been swamped with emails from Victorians who were urging me to oppose this Bill, which I was happy to do – it’s an appalling piece of control.”

Mr Quilty said that, although the Bill had passed, he takes comfort from the fact that the power of democracy had forced it to be watered down.

“The Andrews Government removed one of the worst components of the original Bill, that of the appointment of literally anyone they chose as authorised officers, with the powers to arrest anyone, for anything,” Mr Quilty said.

“These ‘authorised officers’ would have had the ability to arrest people they thought might not follow directions – this was the worst part of the Bill and one which had upset so many people. This is arrest for pre-crime, for possible future actions.

“Giving inexperienced and poorly trained people such power, to arrest people with no checks or balances, was a recipe for disaster.

“I am pleased the power of democracy removed this awful piece of control, which was more reminiscent of pre-war Germany than 21st-Century Australia. But we shouldn’t forget that this government genuinely thought this was a good idea, and without sustained opposition would have put this into place.”

Mr Quilty expressed disappointment that several crossbench contemporaries had yet again decided to support the Government’s strategy of oppression.

“I have received so many emails from all over Victoria urging me to vote against the Omnibus Bill, and I have no reason to believe my colleagues’ emails would look any different,” Mr Quilty said.

“Not once did I receive an email urging me to support the Bill, and yet five crossbenchers - Rod Barton, Jeff Bourman, Andy Meddick, Fiona Patten and Samantha Ratnam - did just that.

“Members of Parliament are elected to represent the views of the people, and the overwhelming consensus was one of disdain for the Government’s Bill. These five crossbenchers have voted contrary to the voices of Victoria, people who have had enough of their lives and livelihoods being put on hold.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819