Absurd laws in Victoria

30 November, 2021

There are some times during a long stay in this parliament, like I have had, when I need to bring to your attention, Deputy Speaker Mitchell, and to the House's attention and to the attention of the people of Australia what's going on in my state of Victoria. These things need to be recorded on Hansard so that the world knows exactly what's going on in Victoria, my home state.

Recently, a friend of mine brought to my attention that a fellow friend of his had heard about a vigil being held in a Bayside suburb. It was opposing what the Victorian state government is doing. He thought: 'I'd like to go and sit with that vigil. It's a quiet vigil.' He went and sat on the lawn quietly. There were some police nearby, but they were just watching. Some journalists came along and he spoke to them. As he spoke to them, the police walked towards him and then issued him with an infringement notice. He took his infringement notice and went home, and last week he received the fine. The fine was more than $5,000. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people have entered the streets each weekend and yet there were no fines for them.

How is it that what we would have seen as absurd and unconscionable even a year ago in this nation is now here? How can we have a nation so corruptly divided as this, where thousands can march—thousands can march—and yet this one person who spoke to two journalists receives a fine for more than $5,000? This was at a time when he had decided he didn't want to take these vaccines. He's not an anti-vaxxer, but he didn't want to take these vaccines, so he has lost his job and he has a $5,000 fine. That family was already struggling. This is my 'great south land'. There are things that we don't do. I think this is wrong. I think it is unconscionable. I think it is criminal. And I think it is immoral.

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Russell Broadbent MP
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