After restricting the movement of Victorians for the best part of two years, Premier Daniel Andrews is once again taking aim at our democracy.
The Premier is attempting to rush through legislation that will give him and the Health Minister ultimate control to declare pandemics and make public health orders.
Victoria’s State of Emergency powers are set to expire on December 15, and cannot be extended beyond this point. The legislation is designed to extend the Premier’s control.
The Bill will give the Premier the ability to enforce restrictions without the presence of a single case in the community – just the potential of a pandemic. Powers that can be extended as many times as he deems necessary.
Just as Victorians have been able to tentatively move into a more normal way of living, this Bill has been presented to the Victorian parliament. Argued as, “a crucial next step in the evolution of Victoria’s COVID-19 response.”
Under this legislation, fines will be dramatically increased of up to $90,500 for individuals, and over $450,000 for businesses. People in breach of pandemic rules, such as not wearing a mask, can be jailed for up to two years.
As we are on the cusp of 80% of Victorians fully vaccinated, we should be on a steady path toward ‘normal’. Instead, the Premier is legislating unlimited, unchecked extension of his powers.
Considering Australia is faring better than most countries where 11% of the UK population has contracted COVID, and 12% of the US, by contrast, only 0.4% of Australians have contracted COVID.
The blanket imposition of restrictions and rules, hefty fines, and the world’s longest lockdown, has been a disproportionate response to the outbreak of the pandemic by the Victorian Government.
Australia opened its borders to international travel for vaccinated Aussies on Monday, meanwhile the Victorian Premier is grasping for more power. Victorians deserve accountability, transparency and integrity as measures of our democracy.