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NSW COVID cases grow, Victoria COVID cases grow, William Tyrrell search enters second week, Melbourne protest over Victoria pandemic bill continues

Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham says the government won’t be held to ransom as senators threaten to withhold support for key legislation unless the federal government overrides state vaccine mandates.

“The government won’t be dictated to,” Mr Birmingham told the ABC’s RN Breakfast earlier this morning.

Federal Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham.

Federal Minister for Finance Simon Birmingham.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“We’ll do what we’ve always done which is work with the health advisors.

“I fully respect the right of Liberal and National Party members to cross the floor … what I would urge any parliamentarian, though, not to do is to hold one issue ransom to other unrelated issues.”

The comments come as Mr Birmingham defended the Prime Minister amid accusations he failed to “unequivocally condemn” threats of violence and extremism by protesters across the country.

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Melbourne has faced large protests over vaccine mandates and proposed pandemic laws, with some marchers seen carrying nooses and a gallows.

Mr Morrison has condemned acts of violence, but says it is time for governments to get out of people’s lives.

“We absolutely condemn any threats of violence, acts of violence in Australian political debate, they have no place at all,” Mr Birmingham said.

“That’s not to say there aren’t Australians who have issues that they raise with politicians on a day-to-day basis, and some of them choose to protest.

“But any protest should be peaceful and should be undertaken in ways that are about advancing the cause, not undermining security or peaceful activity.”



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