Victoria Premier Dan Andrews bows to Melbourne pressure and makes changes to Covid pandemic laws

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews bows to Melbourne pressure and makes


Dan Andrews has made a raft of last minutes changes to his controversial pandemic management bill in a dramatic U-turn to push it through parliament.

The Victoria premier backed down in the face of fierce opposition to win over key crossbench MPs before the legislation goes before the Upper House on Wednesday.

Under the proposed legislation, the premier would be given the power to make a pandemic declaration without needing it to be signed off by medical advisers.

He would also be able extend it in three-month blocks for as long as he likes.

The original legislation would also have seen a range of unprecedented powers handed to the premier and health minister Martin Foley.

But after ugly public protests and a backlash from legal experts and other high-profile critics, the state government has now watered down parts of the Bill. 

Dan Andrews (pictured at Remembrance Day 2021 services with Scott Morrison) made a raft 11th hour changes to his controversial pandemic management bill in a dramatic U-turn to force it through parliament

Dan Andrews (pictured at Remembrance Day 2021 services with Scott Morrison) made a raft 11th hour changes to his controversial pandemic management bill in a dramatic U-turn to force it through parliament

Angry Victorians demand the end of Premier Daniel Andrews' bill during Monday's protests

Angry Victorians demand the end of Premier Daniel Andrews’ bill during Monday’s protests

Harsh financial penalties for breaching public orders will be cut in half and the timeframe to release public information about pandemic decisions ordered by the government will also be drastically shortened.

The amended bill, announced late on Monday night, will require ‘reasonable grounds’ for the premier to declare a pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

Under the older version of the bill there didn’t even need to be a single case of the disease in Victoria for the powers to be implemented.

The government will also be compelled to publish their public health advice before enforcing stay-at-home orders within seven days – down from two weeks.

While the maximum $90,500 fine for breaking health orders has been halved, a heavy two year jail sentence is still part of the legislation.

Under the proposed legislation, the man dubbed 'Chairman Dan' would be given the power to make a pandemic declaration off his own bat and extend it in three-month blocks for as long as he likes (pictured, protesters on Monday)

Under the proposed legislation, the man dubbed ‘Chairman Dan’ would be given the power to make a pandemic declaration off his own bat and extend it in three-month blocks for as long as he likes (pictured, protesters on Monday)

Under the proposed legislation, the premier would be given the power to make a pandemic declaration without needing it to be signed off by medical advisers (pictured, protesters on Monday)

Under the proposed legislation, the premier would be given the power to make a pandemic declaration without needing it to be signed off by medical advisers (pictured, protesters on Monday)

Changes to the Bill will also restrict the government of the day from making public health orders which differentiate between groups of people.

Prior to the amendments it may have been possible to discriminate against specific religious groups or races using public health laws. 

Health minister Martin Foley said the changes come after extensive consultations with public health and human rights leaders.

‘The new pandemic laws will provide a clear framework for managing pandemics such as COVID-19 – while putting the safety of all Victorians first,’ he said.

‘We have engaged extensively with some of the most trusted leaders in public health, human rights and law and policy making – and the amendments reflect that consultation.’

Hundry of angry Victorians turned-up to show their displeasure at the Andrews Government on Monday in Melbourne

Hundry of angry Victorians turned-up to show their displeasure at the Andrews Government on Monday in Melbourne

Changes to the Bill will also restrict the government of the day from making public health orders which differentiate between groups of people (pictured, protesters outside the Victorian State Parliament on Monday)

Changes to the Bill will also restrict the government of the day from making public health orders which differentiate between groups of people (pictured, protesters outside the Victorian State Parliament on Monday)

One protester marched through Melbourne's CBD carrying nooses on Saturday - something widely condemned across the country

One protester marched through Melbourne’s CBD carrying nooses on Saturday – something widely condemned across the country

Three crossbenchers – Reason Party MP Fiona Patten, Animal Justice MP Andy Meddick and Greens leader Samantha Ratnam – also released a statement on the amendments late on Monday night.   

‘While the official Opposition and some prominent shock jocks and tabloid commentators knowingly, dangerously incited and fanned unduly angry civil unrest with lies, the crossbenchers focused on improving the bill to better protect and support the Victorian community as we continue to face the pandemic,’ the statement said.

Melbourne’s streets on Saturday were swamped with angry protesters who rallied at the foot of Parliament House in driving rain to oppose the legislation.

The hard-hit city suffered through six gruelling lockdowns and spent more collective time living under stay-at-home orders than any other place on earth. 

The hard-hit city suffered through six gruelling lockdowns and spent more collective time living under stay-at-home orders than any other place on earth (pictured, vaccine-sceptic protesters on Monday)

The hard-hit city suffered through six gruelling lockdowns and spent more collective time living under stay-at-home orders than any other place on earth (pictured, vaccine-sceptic protesters on Monday)

Posters depicting Mr Andrews as Adolf Hitler – with a swastika armband replaced by a symbol for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation – were handed out to angry protesters in a move that has since been widely condemned.

Another protester waved a placard placing the premier alongside the names of dictators including Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini and Chairman Mao Zedong. 

In chilling scenes, at least two men were seen brandishing nooses, with one man brandishing a makeshift gallows with three nooses hanging from it.

Some waved Eureka and Trump flags, including one which portrayed the ex-United States president wielding an M-60 machine gun like movie action hero John Rambo.

Others adopted imagery of the Knights Templar and crusaders as they marched through the CBD shouting ‘Kill the bill’.

Under the older version of the bill there didn't even need to be a single case of the disease in Victoria for the powers to be implemented (pictured, protests on Monday)

Under the older version of the bill there didn’t even need to be a single case of the disease in Victoria for the powers to be implemented (pictured, protests on Monday)

Melbourne's streets on Saturday were swamped with angry protesters who rallied at the foot of Parliament House in driving rain to oppose the legislation

Melbourne’s streets on Saturday were swamped with angry protesters who rallied at the foot of Parliament House in driving rain to oppose the legislation

The Andrews Government hope to pass the bill through the Legislative Council on Wednesday to have it in place before existing state emergency powers expire on December 15.

The bill was tabled with little notice late last month.

Liberal MP Ryan Smith went viral hours later when he highlighted the dangers of the bill in parliament

‘This bill allows the government to do an extraordinary number of things that ordinary Victorians would be horrified with,’ he said.

‘And to hear the government at press conferences get up and say “Yeah, but we wouldn’t use it that way” is just a ridiculous comment from a government that just is trying to pull the wool over ordinary Victorians’ lives.’



Source link

Share:
Avatar of Bourbiza Mohamed

Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

Leave a Reply

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

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Fluffy cat called Mittens squeezes through the tunnel on a

Fluffy cat called Mittens squeezes through the tunnel on a model train set [VIDEO]

Frankie Smith and Savannah Brockill of Keighly deny murdering Star

Mother accused of murdering her 16-month-old daughter told police her baby ‘was my whole world’