The Liberals are reportedly seeking negotiations with upper house cross benchers to change the Pandemic Management Bill to give the courts the power to overturn a decision made under the proposed laws, according to the AFR.
Ms Henderson said the new law which would give the Premier the ability to declare a pandemic and extend it in three-month blocks was “so draconian”.
“Around the corner we have a very very dangerous proposal by Daniel Andrews by way of the Pandemic Management Bill,” she said. “These rules frankly… are so draconian.”
The bill, which passed in the lower house on Thursday, will also give the Health Minister the jurisdiction to make “pandemic orders” as well as broad legislative power.
Victorians deserve ‘transparency and honesty’ on health advice
These pandemic powers are broadly defined as “any order” with wide-ranging examples which a group of eminent barristers said was designed not to limit the Minister’s scope.
The examples given in the bill include the detention of people, restricting movement and regulating public or private gatherings.
Ms Henderson said the power to impose massive fines and “arbitrarily” imprison Victorians was “absolutely insane”.
“It is precisely why Matthew Guy needs to be elected in Victoria because he has vowed to repeal these dreadful laws if they are passed,” she said.
“If ever we see an example of a dictatorship here in Victoria it is this bill. It is horrendous.”
Victoria’s proposed new pandemic laws a ‘threat to democracy’
The Andrews Government has defended the bill arguing that necessary checks and balances to the powers exist including the establishment of the Independent Pandemic Management Advisory Committee.
A statement from the Premier said the legislation would “introduce greater transparency and accountability around decision-making”.
A group of 14 barristers wrote an open letter urging the Victorian Parliament to oppose the bill, and said the independent committee was not a substantial mechanism to hold the government to account.
“The Bill’s Independent Pandemic Management Advisory Committee is not a significant check on the Minister’s power,” the letter said.
“The Committee will be wholly appointed by the Minister him or herself (s 165CE) and will have no power to rescind or amend the Minister’s orders.”
‘Checks and balances are absent’ under Victoria’s new proposed pandemic bill
“It is, in our view, no answer to these criticisms to say that the Bill contains more safeguards than presently exist for the emergency powers under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.”
Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has vehemently opposed the bill declaring he would immediately repeal it should he be elected next November.
“I give an absolute guarantee: when we come back to government in this state, we will repeal this law because it is fundamentally right to do so,” Mr Guy said in Parliament on Thursday.
The bill will now head to the Victorian upper house where it needs 21 votes to be passed.
The Andrews Government has 17 seats in the chamber and is believed to have the support of the Greens, the Animal Justice Party and the Reason Party – all of which have one seat each.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *