SHEED (Shepparton) (10:28): Thank you, Speaker, for the opportunity, and I will not take long. I have been listening to the debate and I would like to indicate my support for the amendment that has been put forward and express my concern about no end date appearing on the motion at the present time.
I think we are in a stage now where we are moving forward. We have a national road map. We have Victoria’s road map. Just this morning I was in a cross-border briefing with both cross-border commissioners. New South Wales reached 70 per cent double vaccinated residents just last night, and they are now moving towards the changes that must take place. I understand their Parliament will be sitting next week for the first time in a long time. I congratulate the Victorian Parliament and the government and everyone who works in this place for the efforts that have been made for us to be able to sit most of the time. We have probably been able to navigate what has been a very difficult situation very well, but we do have to show confidence in this road map and we have to show some leadership. I think it behoves us then to perhaps look at how we go forward, and to lock this motion into place when within a few weeks we might be in a different place again is concerning to me.
I recall early on in the pandemic reading that wonderful article or booklet that the library put together on the history of pandemics and epidemics in fact. Back 100 years ago during the Spanish flu members of Parliament died. Everyone was dying of the virus, there was no vaccine, people did not understand how it spread and Parliament was sitting. I am not sure of the numbers, but members of Parliament died.
Well, 100 years later we are incredibly lucky in a way that we understand so much more. We have been able to put in place a whole range of measures. We just see it here with the perspex, with the social distancing. All these things have created a much safer environment, and we have been able to continue the business of government. While we need to continue this for another couple of weeks probably, I think the road map does indicate and support perhaps another change coming forward and then another change, so it does concern me that this is so open-ended. While it may well be fine for next week it does not give any indication of a closure date. On that basis I oppose the motion and support the amendment.