Liberal Party MP and Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council Bernie Finn was among the crowd protesting against Daniel Andrews’ pandemic legislation.
The controversial political figure spoke to Rebel News about whether or not it would be possible to defeat the Bill in the Upper House.
“My view is that it’s [the Bill] is not passed until it’s passed,” said Bernie Finn. “I can see a path where we can defeat this Bill, but we need everybody in on it. We need a pile-on of mammoth proportions to do it, but I am pretty confident that we can do it.”
The amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 put forward on Monday will be fiercely debated, although public statements made by the three independents required for the Bill to pass have already indicated that they are happy to support the legislation.
While many commentators and political figures believe that the legislation is all-but guaranteed to pass, Bernie Finn insisted that there was still hope for the people of Victoria.
“I really think that anything is possible,” he said, pointing out there is precedence for the government to abandon unpopular Bills. “We all hang in there and keep fighting and pushing in the same direction – we’ve got a far greater chance than if we all just give up.”
The Rebel News petition to ‘Kill the Bill’ has over 100,000 signatures. It will be presented to the Governor of Victoria, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, in an attempt to persuade her not to grant Royal Assent to the Bill.
“If you can get the Governor to do that, that would be … extraordinary,” said Bernie Finn.
Royal Assent is generally considered a formality even though it is required before Bills become law. The Governor-General has never refused a Bill Royal Assent, but the Governor of Victoria has done it on several occasions.
The powers of the Australian Constitution give state Governors exceptional powers. When presented with a Bill, they can either:
Give the Bill assent and pass it into law.
Reserve the Bill for the Queen’s pleasure.
Return the Bill to Parliament with amendments.
Royal Assent exists specifically for circumstances such as what is playing out in Victoria where a Governor can prevent a government from granting itself too much power.
If Daniel Andrews’ Bill was refused Royal Assent, the pandemic emergency powers would expire in December as scheduled, bringing an end to authoritative health orders.