Australian state leaders want unprecedented power to impose blockades


A new bill rushing through Congress is set to dramatically expand the power of the Victorian Prime Minister and his Minister of Health. This also includes the authority to blockade the state almost unilaterally.

NS summary Summary of Bills Obtained by the Media The Age and Australian Broadcasting Corporation have also revealed that the proposed law will empower government ministers while taking steps to increase accountability.

Under the Public Health and Welfare Pandemic Management Bill 2021 on page 112, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley will now approve all public health orders.

Public health orders are currently used to empower governments to impose public health restrictions such as blockades, mask orders, business closures, and national border closures. Previously, it was under the jurisdiction of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

The Minister also has “broad authority” to issue pandemic orders when “reasonably necessary” to protect public health.

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Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley speaks to the media on September 28, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (QuinnRooney / Getty Images)

On the other hand, Prime Minister Dana Andrews has the authority to “declare a pandemic” and extend such a declaration “three months at a time”, and there is no limit to the number of extensions. Such legislation could actually be in Victoria. It has been locked down for a long time at the discretion of the premier.

Pandemic orders can also be targeted and “distinguished” among people according to potential public health risks, such as “immunization status.”

From an accountability perspective, the bill strengthens privacy and contact tracking information protection, requires the Supreme Health Officer to disclose the reasons behind public health orders, and establishes an independent pandemic management advisory board. increase. Its members are appointed by the government.

The proposed law also increases penalties for violations of pandemic-related health regulations. This includes $ 20,000 for individuals and $ 100,000 for businesses. 3AW radio— In line with the record penalties introduced by West Australian Labor Prime Minister Mark Magawan.

In addition, penalties may be imposed by courts that prevent companies from profiting from activities that violate pandemic orders.

“Consultations were not as extensive as usual due to the short time frame and complexity involved in drafting this bill,” the summary said.

The Victoria State Government has introduced legislation proposed to replace and extend the emergency powers granted by the Public Health and Welfare Act of 2008. Authority was to be extended for up to 6 months, but was extended to 21 months during the pandemic process.

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Protesters were pushed to the ground by police during an anti-blockage rally in Melbourne, Australia, on September 18, 2021. (William West / AFP via Getty Images)

The latest legislation was developed through deliberations between Greens and the Independent Party, and Crossbench, including the Animal Justice Party and the Reason Party.

In response, Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy said he had never seen “such an attack on Australian democracy.”

“This is an extraordinarily extreme law, even though the government promised not to detain us again last week. Well, if they never detain us, why are you so extreme? Do you need a law? “He told 3AW Radio.

“They say there is an independent committee — an independent committee is appointed by the Prime Minister, so you are an independent member appointed by someone who somehow intends to be a guard dog. I have a meeting, “Guy said.

“There is no mention of the cabinet in this law, so there is no cabinet scrutiny. It’s all about one man who is the prime minister. There is no parliamentary oversight as you would expect,” he added. rice field.

“Don’t stand there and destroy our democracy,” he said, calling on the general public to “speak” to friends and online on this issue.

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Opposition leader Matthew Guy addressed the media at a press conference on parliamentary stairs in Melbourne, Australia on September 12, 2021. (AAP image / Daniel Pocket)

The state’s health minister, Martin Foley, dismissed criticism from opponents and was “hysteric.” I’m chasing you. “

“Opposition leaders stood here two weeks ago and demanded exactly what the crossbencher offered. It’s a Westminster-style engagement process that puts administrative responsibility on Congress, and Congress. We asked the people of Victoria through to make that decision. The government will make it, “he said in a comment received by ABC.

Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said: Press release“We have negotiated with the government to create a new law that is a major improvement for the entire Victorian community and is much more equitable.”

“We are pleased to see that Greens has increased the transparency of these new laws and made them fair to all Victorians, especially those at disadvantage,” she added. Scrutiny from an “independent committee of human rights and health experts”.

But David Leanbrick, a senator in the Victorian Parliament, was critical.

“The Greens have zero credibility for human rights. What did they do after the blockade of the residential tower? Please support the same more,” he writes. On twitter.. “What did they do when people protested human rights abuses? They filled them as” right-wing extremists. ” “

Daniel Y. Ten

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