South West Coast MP Roma Britnell has defended speaking to protesters on the steps of the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday but said scenes of gallows and nooses were abhorrent and must be called out.
Premier Daniel Andrews took a swipe at his political opponents saying politics was "often about what you stand for and it's always about who you stand with".
He said he didn't want the "appalling", "disgusting" and "potentially criminal behaviour" of a small number of people to detract from the amazing job so many Victorians had done by getting vaccinated.
Ms Britnell said the proposed pandemic legislation had caused such alarm that she had never been as inundated with concerned constituents contacting her on every medium about the issue.
She said as a member of parliament, it was her duty to listen to people's concerns - particularly those from her electorate.
"As such, I stopped for a few minutes to speak to a person I recognised from my electorate," she said.
"I spoke to a couple of other protesters who had legitimate concerns about the pandemic bill."
Ms Britnell said that while she was speaking to protesters, there was no sign of unrest, violent or disrespectful behaviour.
"I did not address the protesters collectively and in no way did I encourage the appalling things we witnessed as the day went on," she said.
"I have always advocated respectful dialogue on this, and every, issue. The scenes of gallows and nooses are abhorrent and must be called out."
Ms Britnell said she was not aware that a protestor seen carrying the noose at the mass rally that packed Melbourne streets on Saturday was reportedly from her electorate. The Standard has tried several times to contact the person for comment.
Ms Britnell said there was an inherent right in our society to peacefully protest, but there was no place for that sort of "ugly behaviour".
She said while some MPs, such as Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice Party, argued that by speaking to legitimate protesters outside parliament it somehow gave credence to the actions of the irrational extremists.
"This is not true," she said.
"I would remind Mr Meddick that his and his party's philosophies have emboldened his supporters to invade farms - engaging in illegal and intimidatory actions and making farmers and their children feel unsafe in their home environment.
"Everyone, from farmers to politicians, deserve to be safe in their workplaces and homes and I will continue to advocate respectful and peaceful discourse."
Mr Meddick has been the victim of threats of violence against himself and his family over the legislation that needs the support of him and other independents to pass.
Deputy Premier James Merlino claimed there were people within the Liberal Party "actively encouraging this kind of extremist behaviour and extremist views".
IN OTHER NEWS:
"Violent imagery, violent words, leads to violence against people. It's inevitable. You can't stay silent about this stuff," he said.
Ms Britnell has spoken out about the proposed pandemic legislation which is currently before the parliament.
"The Human Rights Commissioner's come out saying the pandemic law is wrong. Queen's Councils of Victoria, the top lawyers, over 60 of them, are saying that, the president of the bar association is saying that. The Ombudsman is saying that," she said.
"I have never been as inundated with concerns and people reaching out to me in every medium available about how this is very, very concerning, particularly the pandemic laws.
"The community are already talking with their feet. We're over 95 per cent double vaxxed right across South West Coast.
"There is no need for this heavy handedness. Even if you agree with vaccination, which many obviously do, I'm not sure you'd agree with the heavy-handed mandate."
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we aim to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.