A Victorian Liberal MP has hit out at three crossbenchers on Twitter, claiming they have “agreed to sell out” their votes to support the Premier Daniel Andrews’ controversial state of emergency extension.
The Bill would extend the state of emergency by six months and give the chief health officer power to ensure the community’s safety through detaining people, restricting movement and preventing entry to premises.
Opposition backbencher James Newbury posted the following tweet on Tuesday afternoon, as the crucial vote that will decide Victoria’s fate looms.
Mr Andrews needs 20 votes for the Bill to be passed in parliament.
There are 17 upper house Labor members, 11 Liberal members and 12 crossbenchers.
If the three votes fall the way Mr Newbury suggests, Labor would have enough support to pass the measure.
Reason Party MP Fiona Patten previously told NCA NewsWire crossbenchers would support a six-month extension, conditional on the establishment of an “bipartisan” oversight committee.
Politicians voting on the state of emergency extension say it‘s one of the most “controversial and polarising” bills to come before parliament, and threatens to “throw democracy under the bus”.
Liberal Nationals MP Melina Bath told parliament on Tuesday afternoon her party would oppose the Bill, after receiving 2500 emails, phone calls and letters from constituents “concerned” about the state of emergency extension.
“This has multiple flaws and the main flaw is it impacts on the lives, the livelihoods, the wellbeing, the sense, the emotions and the economy of so many people throughout Victoria and people in rural and regional Victoria specifically,” she said.
“This legislation threatens to throw democracy under the bus.”
Sustainable Australia Party MLC Clifford Hayes told parliament he’d support a three-month extension, but not without describing the Bill as “the most polarising and controversial i’ve ever seen”.
“I think I speak on behalf of all members when I say we’ve never been inundated by so many emails and phone calls with people concerned about this Bill.”
Liberal MPs Wendy Lovell called the Bill an “extraordinary overreach and desperate grab for power”, while Craig Ondarchie labelled it the “I’m Dan trust me bill”.
In parliament on Tuesday morning Opposition upper house leader David Davis said the Liberals would oppose the Bill.
He said the six-month extension being sought was a “power grab” by Mr Andrews.
Last week the Premier announced his plan to introduce a Bill to parliament to extend the state of emergency in Victoria until at least September next year in four-week increments.
But on Monday night, the draft Bill was tweaked to six months.
The current state of emergency expires on September 13.
The move would see the State Government and chief health officer suggest health measures and implement new strategies in an attempt to flatten the curve.
It comes after senior doctors across Melbourne urged politicians not to support a state of emergency extension, saying the move threatened to “destroy” the health and wellbeing of fed-up Victorians.
In a letter to Premier Daniel Andrews, seen by NCA NewsWire, 13 medical practitioners outlined their concerns about the State Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They say it is “vital” stage four restrictions are lifted on September 13, believe “an alternative medical response” is required and highlight key data they think is being “excluded”.
Parliament continues this afternoon.