In a blow to democracy, the Andrews Government has voted down a motion that would have set up a stronger scrutiny committee to oversee its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Victorian Greens motion was defeated 19 to 17 votes, despite garnering the support of the opposition and the majority of the crossbench.
At a time when the Government is being afforded sweeping powers, it is crucial that a cross-party scrutiny committee is established to adequately oversee how those powers are being used.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) was not suitable to oversee the Government’s response given it is controlled and chaired by the Government.
She added that by voting down the Greens motion, the Government was sending a clear message that it was immune from adequate scrutiny.
As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“It is good that the Andrews Government has committed to resuming parliament on June 2 after weeks of pressure from the Greens and the majority of the crossbench.
“With many around the state in need of urgent support and important decisions to be made, setting a resumption date for parliament provides assurance that state MPs will be able to debate and pass necessary legislation to protect those most vulnerable.
“However, the Government’s decision to vote down our motion for a stronger scrutiny committee completely flies in the face of that. They are making extraordinary decisions on a daily basis and those decisions can’t be immune from adequate scrutiny.
“We don’t need the Government to tell the Government whether or not it’s doing a good job, we need oversight from other parties and independents.”