Federal Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, is backing her State Coalition counterparts in their fight to stop the Premier of Victoria, Mr Andrews, making new laws that have the potential to keep Victoria locked down until September next year.
“My constituents are angry and frustrated. They don’t understand why the Premier wants to keep a State of Emergency in place for another year. If implemented, regional Victoria could be forced back into further unnecessary wide-ranging restrictions. Regional communities need to have confidence they can get back to work, back to school and back to all the other places they need to be. People want to see their families,” Dr Webster said.
Dr Webster said she had been inundated with telephone calls, emails, social media posts and letters since Mr Andrews, on Monday told a press conference that he would ask State parliament to extend and expand his ‘Emergency’ powers as soon as next week.
“People are incensed by this and they are frightened. It has really worried people, many of whom as residents of border communities have had to endure the impacts of unjustified measures imposed by rival State governments.”
Dr Webster said the lack of clear and transparent medical evidence or other strategic justification for Mr Andrews’ proposal was of grave concern. Melbournian’s had expected the Stage 4 lock-down to finish on September 13.
“An emergency demands a precise and rapid response, with an identifiable beginning and a recognisable end point,” Dr Webster said.
“This is not what we are seeing. Instead, we are experiencing the complete lack of State government planning to either get us through this or get us out of it.
“Rather than a continuous, rolling State of Emergency, a clear plan is needed, to put in place rapid, targeted responses to future outbreaks. Our communities need to have confidence they will be able to get back to work, back to school and to see their families again.
“The extension of a State of Emergency gives the Premier and his government the ability to operate without parliamentary oversight, without the checks and balances which our democracy demands. The State of Emergency vests total power with the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with little accountability. Australians expect more.
“The Parliament of Victoria cannot let these restrictions go on for a moment longer than is absolutely necessary or without explanation and full disclosure of the facts.”