Former Labor powerbroker Adem Somyurek successfully applied to have his suspension lifted on Wednesday after he was banned for failing to disclose his vaccination status and indicated less than 24 hours before the ballot he would be voting against the bill.
He argued the powers would give too much authority to Premier Daniel Andrews in what was “essentially an elective dictatorship”.
The government successfully moved a motion to delay the bill despite Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes declaring it “urgent” only a couple of days ago.
It will give them more time to find crossbench backing ahead of the debate which is reportedly set to resume on Friday.
The government successfully moved a motion to delay the pandemic bill as they try to find one more crossbench vote. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw
But crossbench MPs have vented their frustration at the last-minute communication from those needing support for the legislation.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman said “no on event took the time to pretend to consult with us”.
Transport Matters MP Rod Barton was disappointed there wasn’t “professional courtesy” regarding the bill.
“What we’ve said to the government on many occasions is that they don’t have to do what I say, obviously, but they need to have the professional courtesy to at least listen to what we have to say, because I’ve had tens of thousands of people contact my office, and these people have been denied a voice,” he said.
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Mr Andrews was quizzed on why his government had only negotiated with three MPs – Greens leader Samantha Ratnam, Animal Justice MP Andy Meddick and Reason Party Fiona Patten – about the legislation.
“I don’t necessarily accept that criticism, and again, I’m not here to provide a commentary on individual members of the chamber,” he said during a COVID-19 press conference on Thursday.
“We will engaged, we always do, and I’m confident we can work through all these issues.
“Some rules are going to be very important, how we treat and protect and safeguard people who’ve got the virus from giving it to the people they love, all of those things require a legal framework.
He believes those in the upper house “knows and understands” the importance of the bill and is “confident” of an outcome.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy has offered to co-operate with the Andrew government on a “sensible piece of legislation”. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said his government was prepared to work alongside Mr Andrews to come up with a “sensible piece of legislation”.
“Again, I offer the Liberal and National parties’ hand of co-operation to work with the government to get a sensible piece of legislation through parliament,” he said.
If the government cannot pass the bill through before the expiry of the State of Emergency powers on December 15, they will not be able to enforce any pandemic orders.
Daniel Andrews ‘outplayed’ by Somyurek on pandemic powers bill
Labor: 17
Crossbench: 3 (Reason Party Fiona Patten, Greens Samantha Ratnam, Animal Justice Andy Meddick)
Coalition: 11
Crossbench: 9 (Independents’ Adem Somyurek and Catherine Cumming, Transport Matters Party Rodney Barton, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party Jeff Bourman, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party Stuart Grimley and Tania Maxwell, Sustainable Australia’s Clifford Hayes and Liberal Democrats David Limbrick and Tim Quilty).
A tie would mean the bill would be reintroduced back into the lower house.
Mr Andrews remains adamant the legislation will be passed in the upper house on Thursday following the changes.
Hundreds of protesters are expected to regather with dozens already on the steps of state parliament on Thursday morning.

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