In Parliament

Members Statement - Democracy & Institutions


Thursday, 17 September 2020

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton):

This government is systematically dismantling Victorian democracy and its institutions. Parliament has become occasional, cabinet has been forgotten, and Labor’s own caucus has been cast aside. And dangerously, the Premier is selectively choosing which laws apply to him, saying recently that human rights laws are ‘not the first consideration’.

At the same time, the State Government is weaponising and using the police as a wartime force. We have watched images of police arresting a pregnant woman, a man being arrested and kicked in the head while being pinned to the ground and hundreds of armour-clad officers swarming the internationally iconic Queen Victoria Market. And the government has rammed new laws into Parliament creating a new power to obtain people deemed as ‘high risk persons’.

Derek Scott, the Principal of Haileybury college and last year’s Australian School Principal of the Year, recently spoke about the impact of the State Government’s disregard for democracy on our children, saying: ‘We are always encouraging our students to be good citizens and think about the parliamentary democratic process being integral to the freedoms that we have and yet, that is the first thing we have cast aside when we reach a crisis. There was no debate, no broad discussion, no alternative views put. I think that is a great pity and I think we are going to have to work really hard on the other side of this to rebuild respect, integrity and trust in our political institutions’.

This government is picking apart the building blocks of who we are as a people and what we are as a state. And they have done so with indifference to our values—values that have always been innately respectful of our rights and freedoms.

History will remember the decisions of this government with shame.