A COVID-19 vaccine mandate for politicians and staff entering Victorian parliament has passed the lower house, with just one dissenting MP.
The state government has imposed a rule that all members and staff must prove they’ve received at least one dose of a vaccine by October 15 to continue working on-site or have an appointment booked before October 22.
They will also need to have their second dose by November 26.
Any member who does not comply will be suspended from entering parliament until the second sitting day of the 2022 parliamentary year.
The government motion was supported by the Liberals, Nationals, Greens and the independent member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed.
Both the opposition’s Louise Staley and Greens’ Tim Read noted issues with the motion, including freedom of speech and right to consent to healthcare, in spite of their support.
However, Liberal MP for Forest Hill, Neil Angus, spoke against the motion entirely, prompting a failed division on it – during which he was the only person to vote no.
Mr Angus is the only one in the Liberal party room who isn’t vaccinated.
“I have certainly had a personal conversation with him no doubt about that. But I’m not about berating people. When it comes to vaccinations, my point of view is clear, educate people,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy told reporters at parliament.
All Labor MPs have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the “handful” who are not yet fully vaccinated booked in to receive their second dose in the coming weeks.
The motion will now go to the upper house, where is will meet opposition from the Liberal Democrats.
“We’re not doing this for our own personal reasons because we’re both fully vaccinated, but we believe that the human rights of Victorians to voluntarily choose medical procedures is a fundamental right that we need to defend,” Liberal Democrat David Limbrick told reporters.
For more information in regards to how changes affect your workplace visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/information-workers-required-to-be-vaccinated