Disgraced former Victorian Labor MP Adem Somyurek’s parliament suspension has been lifted after proving his COVID-19 vaccination status, paving the way for him to potentially vote down the government’s pandemic bill.
Debate on the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill is set to resume on Thursday but a final vote may come as late as Friday, with MPs advised parliament could sit an extra day.
The Victorian government has been confident the bill will pass after making amendments to secure the support of upper house crossbenchers – the Greens’ Samantha Ratnam, Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick.
But the return of Somyurek, who quit the party before he was expelled for leading a widespread branch-stacking operation, opens the door for him to cast the deciding vote.
It’s not yet known whether the ex-factional heavyweight intends to vote on the bill.
If he were to vote against it, it would result in a tie and would mean the bill would have to be reintroduced in parliament’s lower house.
Somyurek has been contacted for comment.
Victoria’s current state of emergency expires on December 15 and cannot be extended.
The bill has become a lightning rod for anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination groups, who have occupied the steps of parliament this week.
They gathered around a wooden gallows on Monday evening chanting “freedom”, “traitor”, “kill Dan Andrews” and “hang Dan Andrews”, as an inflatable doll depicting the premier was thrown onto the structure.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, Victoria Police confirmed the driver of the black Toyota Landcruiser towing the gallows had been spoken to by officers.
The man, a 48-year-old from Badger Creek, was issued a warning for traffic offences.
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