Parliament Mitchell Shire COVID-19

Local voices silenced by Andrews Government

06 October 2021

The Andrews Labor Government is refusing to hear the voices of people who oppose its decision making by continuing to limit the sitting of the Victorian Parliament.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Euroa MP and deputy Nationals leader Steph Ryan said the government had truncated the hours of the Parliament and had stopped members from raising local issues in person.

“Labor MPs are stifling the Parliament in an effort to prevent the Opposition from holding the government accountable to its draconian decision-making,” Ms Ryan said.

“Democracy in this state continues to be sacrified by Labor MPs who are so drunk on power, they are silencing the voices of anyone who questions them.

“No one is pretending that management of this pandemic is easy and that it does not present challenges, but there is no more important job than ensuring that the Parliament, which sits at the heart of scrutiny, transparency and accountability of this government, continues to operate.

“Labor MPs continue to hide behind health advice from a department that answers to Labor Ministers.

“Members have few opportunities to raise the questions put forward to us by our constituents for government ministers to answer in person in the chamber.

“The Nationals have proposed measures like rapid testing in order to return to normal sittings and in order to give voice to the very real concerns affecting our constituents.

“But Labor MPs continue to reject those measures because fundamentally, they want to stifle the Parliament and it does not want the Parliament to sit in the way that it usually would.”

Ms Ryan said she continued to be contacted by residents from Mitchell Shire wanting to have their voices heard as they continue to bear the brunt of harsh lockdown restrictions.

“Mitchell Shire residents are frustrated that the government continues to lock them down, despite there being no tier 1 exposure sites within the shire,” Ms Ryan said.

“They want to know why other shires with multiple tier 1 exposure sites can continue to operate while they continue to be locked down.

“Residents have asked me to share their stories about how lockdowns are impacting their lives – how they are facing financial ruin and how their kids are impacted by their inability to go to school.

“The reality is the Andrews Labor Government does not want to hear the voices of those impacted by its decisions.”

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