Mr Somyurek, who successfully applied to have his suspension lifted on Wednesday after he was banned for failing to disclose his vaccination status, told the Herald Sun his intention to block passage of the bill.
Mr Somyurek said the powers would give too much authority to what was “essentially an elective dictatorship”.
The bill has been heavily criticised since the government passed it through the lower house in October, with the Victorian Ombudsman and eminent barristers calling for greater independent scrutiny.
Stream more pandemic power updates on Flash
Mr Somyurek told the Herald Sun, the lack of oversight built in to the legislation would lead to a government of “despots”.
“The pandemic Bill gives too much power to the government and risks our state being unjustly governed by a despot,” the former Labor powerbroker said.
“Given the democratic deficit in our parliamentary system, I believe the emergency powers need to come back to parliament for endorsement of a two-thirds majority.
“I will not support this bill in its current form, and I would encourage the government to go back to the drawing board and consult more broadly.”
‘A serious gap’: Ombudsman concerned with Andrews’ pandemic powers bill
His return to Parliament comes as the controversial Pandemic Management Bill looked set to pass later this week.
Mr Somyurek was sacked from the Cabinet last year and removed from the ALP after allegations that he was involved in wide-spread factional branch stacking which emerged during a 60 Minutes investigation.
The embattled MP’s return to parliament just as the government bill looked all-but certain to pass with the support of three crossbenchers led to speculation around Mr Somyurek’s intentions.
The Andrews Government was on track to pass the legislation after agreeing on seven amendments with crossbenchers from the Greens, the Animal Justice Party and the Reason Party.
Victoria’s pandemic laws ‘poised’ to pass through parliament after ‘key amendments’
The deal meant the government could secure victory with its own 17 seats, and the three crossbench seats.
However, with Mr Somyurek’s return, the Labor Government will need 21 votes for the bill to pass.
The 11 Coalition members of the Legislative Council along with the remaining eight crossbenchers have publicly declared they will oppose the bill.
Mr Somyurek’s vote would see the bill deadlocked, essentially defeating the government on the pandemic legislation.
Peta Credlin: Crossbenchers have ‘sold out fellow Victorians’ over pandemic powers bill
The Andrews Government would have 11 days to negotiate at least one more vote from the crossbench before Parliament sits again.
The proposed bill would remove the power to declare a pandemic from the Chief Health Officer and hand it to the Premier, along with the ability to extend the state of emergency in three-month blocks.
The Health Minister will also be able to introduce “pandemic orders” – without proper parliamentary approval – which carry a penalty of up to two years in jail for those caught breaching the orders.
The existing emergency provisions are set to expire on December 15.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

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