The Commonwealth parliament is sitting this week. The Victorian parliament is supposed to be. Except it isn’t. On the advice of the state’s Acting Chief Health Officer, it is shut down as a non-essential workplace. MPs and staff apparently are deemed non-essential workers. Melbourne’s Parliament House is closed, so not even a small physical quorum of MPs, with virtual attendance for the rest, is a goer.
Premier Daniel Andrews perhaps thinks this sends an example to others to stay at home during Melbourne’s lockdown No. 6, or that parliament is a distraction from his undoubted responsibility to lead Victoria’s combat against the current Delta outbreak, but he is wrong.
Andrews heads an executive in a parliamentary democracy. That executive is accountable to the people through parliament. Our democracy depends on that accountability, and the scrutiny of government’s actions by parliament and its committees.
Ergo, Victorian MPs are essential workers, and this week should be hard at work.
Terry Barnes edits our daily newsletter, the Morning Double Shot. You can sign up for your Morning Double Shot of news and comment here.
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