To Prime Minister Scott Morrison,
We are concerned with ensuring greater parliamentary scrutiny and safeguarding democratic processes in relation to the government’s response to COVID-19.
Normal Parliamentary sittings have been adjourned until August. Individual Ministers have been given the power to allocate multi-billion dollar discretionary funds and write the rules for major policy response programs.
This is an undemocratic and unprecedented response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Parliamentary democracies around the world are continuing to meet, including through virtual means in the UK and Brazil.
Parliament must resume as soon as possible to give proper scrutiny to government decision making. The COVID-19 crisis calls for greater spending of public money and increased government intervention and control. MPs are elected to represent the people in these important decisions and scrutinise government legislation. Parliamentary democracy is needed now more than ever.
We urge you to resume normal Parliamentary sittings immediately.
The Hon. Mary Gaudron QC The Hon. Michael Barker QC
The Hon. Tony Fitzgerald AC QC The Hon. Stephen Charles AO QC
The Hon. David Ipp AO QC The Hon. Paul Stein AM QC
The Hon. Anthony Whealy QC Michael Keating AC
Nicholas Cowdery AO QC Geoffrey Watson SC
Professor Joo Cheong Tham