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Protesters camp outside Government House after Victoria's pandemic bill passes



Protesters have camped out the front of Government House in Melbourne in a relentless bid to speak with the governor about Victoria's controversial pandemic legislation which has now passed.

The state's upper house finally pushed through the pandemic bill yesterday after weeks of debate and protests.

The legislation passed 20 votes to 18 with the support of four crossbenchers, meaning Australia's first tailor-made pandemic laws will soon apply in Victoria.

The new laws will come into place in less than two weeks, with the state of emergency expiring on December 15.

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Protesters arrived outside Government House at 4.30pm yesterday, camping amid wild weather conditions as storms lashed Melbourne in the afternoon.

They set up tents and swags and camped overnight in the park, with dozens remaining today.

The park is dotted with 'kill the bill' signs and items of clothing with similar messages opposing the government and the controversial legislation.

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass had raised concerns about the bill but is now "satisfied" with the changes.

Ms Glass said the six amendments had increased the bill's independent oversight.

"This bill is very different from what we saw a couple of weeks ago when I was expressing, and a number of others, about the lack of independent oversight and review," she told Today.

"What we've seen in this legislation now are some really significant amendments that will deliver, I think, that necessary independence to the whole process."

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Ms Glass said she did not think it was a bad idea to have a minister declare a pandemic, rather than the Chief Health Officer.

The amendments have added a level of scrutiny to ensure there are checks on power.

"I think it's a significant victory for independent oversight and scrutiny," she said.

"I think the community can have a lot more confidence that there are checks on power that perhaps weren't there before."

A small police presence has kept a watchful eye over the protesters.

The demonstrators have vowed to remain outside Government House for some time, with more protests set to take place this weekend.

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