Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Victoria has become the first Australian state to require all MEPs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or rejected by Parliament.

The upper house of the Victorian Parliament voted last night to pass a bill requiring MPs and their staff to show proof of their vaccination status or be expelled from the building.

This move came as the deadline for Victoria’s essential workers to receive at least one COVID-19 dose passed last night.

About one million workers from dozens of industries must now show proof that they have been given a dose of vaccine or have an appointment booked before October 22, unless they have a medical exemption.

The bill was introduced in the upper house by Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes.

“It’s basically about making sure MPs are not treated differently than other Victorian authorized workers,” Mrs Symes said.

Four members voted against the bill, including shooters, fishermen and farmers’ MP Jeff Bourman, Liberal Democrats David Limbrick and Tim Quilty and independent MP Catherine Cumming.

During the debate on the bill, Cumming accused the government of using the mandate to silence members who could oppose the expansion of emergency powers during the pandemic.

“This seems to be an overt attempt to make it easier for the government to get the legislation passed, and I know that,” she said.

Cumming proposed an amendment that allowed MPs to enter the parliament building if they passed a rapid antigen test, but the amendment was rejected.

The bill was previously passed by the lower house, with Liberal MP Neil Angus being the only member to vote against it.

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Recycling the waste COVID-19 has created(Emilia Terzon)

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