22 April 2020

Tim Quilty welcomes Parliament sitting, but holds concerns over accountability

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty will return to Parliament on Thursday but believes that the single sitting day is an abuse of democracy.

Where normally he would be in Melbourne for a week, Mr Quilty will only be allowed just a single day in Parliament.

Coronavirus fears have led to the move, which Mr Quilty believes is hindering the proper democratic process.

“The Andrews Government is introducing a COVID-19 Omnibus Bill which will modify current laws to take the lockdown into account, which all sounds fantastic at first glance, but it’s actually a sham,” Mr Quilty said.

“These enormous restrictions on personal liberty have brought Victoria to a standstill, but the Premier wants to change the existing laws with this Bill so that we can see at least some sort of balance return.

“But all this Bill seeks to do is correct the stuff-ups created by this Andrews overreach, and divert from the fact that the Victorian Government could’ve protected this State in much more targeted and less catastrophic ways.

“With a greater amount of testing, a more specific protection of the more vulnerable members of society and fewer restrictions on harmless public movements, we wouldn’t have to have this Bill to right the capsized ship that Victoria has become.”

Accountability is a vital part of any democracy, but the Andrews Government is eliminating proper scrutiny from Members of Parliament and instead putting in a committee with a Government majority to perform this important task.

“This Public Accounts and Estimates Committee will scrutinise all Government actions until this crisis is over, but the committee is composed of a majority of Government MPs and only one crossbencher from the Legislative Assembly, with possibly one from the Legislative Council,” Mr Quilty said.

“This is in effect a bunch of nodding donkeys who won’t question anything the Premier wishes to do, while any dissenting voices will be drowned out.

“I intend to go to Parliament on Thursday so that I can at least attempt to do my job – to hold the Government to account for the appalling overreach we have seen over and over through this coronavirus pandemic. The Liberal Democrats will not support an indefinitely suspended parliament and indefinite declaration of emergency.”

Mr Quilty has been vocal in his criticism of the measure taken by the Andrews Government during the crisis, including the aggressive behaviour of police in handing out fines to people innocently following self-isolation rules, the outlawing of fishing and hunting, and the ban on the sale of firearms and ammunition.

“Mr Andrews and his so called super-cabinet have been enjoying enormous power under this pandemic and they have created what is in effect a police state,” Mr Quilty said.

“The police can stop you and fine you for doing nothing wrong, there is no accountability and no recourse for innocent members of the public unless they wish to approach the media.

“As an elected representative, I want Parliament to resume its standard role so that we can provide oversight and hold Mr Andrews and his gang to account.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819