Vic govt sat on parliament advice for year

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The Victorian Labor government received legal advice that gave state parliament the all-clear to sit online a year ago but hasn't acted on it.

Two sitting weeks were deferred in August due to the state's latest COVID-19 outbreak, though parliament has since returned with decreased hours and fewer MPs present because only one house can sit at a time.

Greens leader Samantha Ratnam last week put forward a motion calling on the president of the upper house to develop a hybrid sitting model, which would allow for MPs to participate from home.

Victorian Legislative Council president Nazih Elasmar's report, seen by AAP, reveals the parliament's clerks received legal advice in September 2020 on the issue.

The advice, from Chris Horan QC, states both houses of parliament may "adopt orders or rules that permit members to participate in proceedings remotely by means of audio-visual communication technology".

"In my view, such orders or rules may permit such members to vote and to be counted in a quorum," Mr Horan said.

His advice is based on a modern interpretation of the word 'present', meaning there would be no need to amend the Victorian Constitution.

The upper house will debate trialling the hybrid model on Tuesday, with a final vote expected Wednesday or Thursday.

"The parliament is really important, particularly at this time, as the government is making some extraordinary decisions that affect every single Victorian for decades to come," Ms Ratnam told reporters outside parliament on Tuesday.

"It's really important that everybody in this place is able to apply the scrutiny of government, hold the government to account, but also put big ideas on the table."

She said the change would also help parliament become a more "family-friendly, adaptable and inclusive workplace".

Last year, Ms Ratnam had to disrupt her maternity to vote on a bill extending the government's state of emergency powers.

"I had to come in with an eight-week-old baby and spend over 12 hours here because I was not able to get a pair and that was a very difficult circumstance," she said.

In Canberra, federal politicians are unable to vote remotely but can participate in question time, speak to bills and provide members statements. Both houses can sit at the same time.

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