Daniel Andrews has the power to lock communities down again after The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 became law in Victoria.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath grilled the state’s Attorney General Jaclyn Symes about the bill during a marathon 24-hour sitting of the Parliament’s Upper House.
“Despite our best efforts, this law has passed after Daniel Andrews did a dodgy backroom deal with independents,” Ms Bath said.
“Labor’s pandemic legislation is a bad law, there is no way to sugar coat that. The Premier now has unprecedented control over Victorians with no judicial oversight by the courts.
“Daniel Andrews’ pandemic bill disgracefully allows Victorians to be detained and held for 10 days without any charges being laid.
“Any detainment of citizens without judicial oversight is not democracy, it’s a heavy handed dictatorship.”
Ms Bath questioned the Andrews Government extensively on the legislation and its failure to properly consult with the Victorian community, saying Victorians had the right to feel aggrieved with the Premier and Labor’s handling of the pandemic legislation.
“The outpouring of anger and concern from every day Victorians was something I had never witnessed in my seven years as a MP – my office has processed over 6,200 emails, countless phone calls and my local petition opposing the bill was signed by more than 12,500 people,” Ms Bath said.
“Lockdowns have had a devastating impact on mental health. They have hurt jobs and plunged Victoria further into debt, with the Victorian economy now the worst in Australia and falling further behind.
“The Andrews Government has not given due consideration to the impact of lockdowns on education, other health issues, mental wellbeing and people’s livelihoods.”
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh thanked Ms Bath for her efforts, saying she had staunchly defended the interests of all Victorians.
“Melina has fought tooth and nail through the night to prevent Labor from stripping Victorians of some of their most basic rights,” Mr Walsh said.
“Unfortunately, once independent MPs backflipped on their previously stated opposition to the bill, there was no chance of stopping it.”