Melbourne: The Victorian Parliament will be recalled two weeks early for a one day emergency sitting on Thursday 23 April 2020 to pass vital legislation to assist the ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Victorian Government is drafting legislation to address issues such as the tenancy reforms agreed to by the National Cabinet, and the Parliament will also be asked to pass urgent appropriation bills which will ensure our healthcare workers and other vital public sector staff continue to be paid.
All members of parliament will be offered detailed briefings on the legislation before it is introduced to the Parliament and Question Time will take place in both houses.
While Parliament House is normally a busy place with large numbers of staff, media and visitors in addition to members, this emergency sitting will follow practices observed by the Commonwealth Parliament to protect members of parliament and staff.
A reduced number of MPs will be present in each chamber and a skeleton staff will be present to ensure both houses are able to function.
The Government will move motions in each house to amend the arrangements for the day to allow for urgent passage of these bills and make other temporary changes to allow MPs to continue representing their communities by tabling members statements rather than having to read them out in each house.
In recognition of the importance of providing information to the public during this unprecedented crisis, the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC) will conduct an enquiry into the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria.
Leader of the House Jacinta Allan said, “Parliament is sitting to pass a number of significant bills so we can continue to support Victorian workers and businesses as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic.”
“We’ll continue to work closely with all parties and all members to ensure there is appropriate physical distancing and safety measures in place in the Parliament.”
Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council Jaclyn Symes said, “It will be a very different parliamentary sitting day – but it’s important that the Parliament meets as we support all Victorians during this difficult time.”