Draconian pandemic legislation goes too far

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has strongly opposed the Andrews Labor Government’s proposed pandemic laws which he says are a “draconian over-reach of state power”.

“The pandemic legislation currently before the Victorian Parliament is seeking to permanently enshrine government over-reach into the lives and livelihoods of Gippslanders,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Gippsland has done a fantastic job of getting vaccinated and the subsequent winding back of restrictions has seen hope return that our lives are finally getting back on track.

“But at a time when are looking for certainty, the Andrews Labor Government is seeking the power to permanently hold our lives to ransom.”

Mr O’Brien said it was clear there needed to be powers to protect public health, but Labor had significantly over-reached.

Under the proposed laws a ‘pandemic declaration’ can be made “whether or not … the pandemic disease is present in Victoria” and could last indefinitely in blocks of three months, with no accountability to Parliament or the Victorian people.

“We are also alarmed that the Bill allows the Government to issue health orders based on an individual’s age, gender, sexual orientation and political belief or activity.

“These and other aspects of the Bill have prompted the Victorian Bar Association to compare it to powers given to the Stasi, the infamous East German secret police.

“On top of all this, the Government has used its numbers to ram the Bill through the Lower House in just two days, denying Victorians the opportunity to properly consider the Bill.

After voting against Labor’s Bill, The Nationals and Liberals have introduced a private member’s bill proposing common sense pandemic arrangements to hold the Government of the day accountable to Parliament.

“Under our proposal, extensions to emergency or pandemic declarations would require a 3/5ths vote of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.

“Victorians cannot suffer a repeat of the last 18 months. We need new protections that ensure transparency and accountability are at the centre of current and future pandemic responses.”

Mr O’Brien encouraged those opposed to the Government’s new laws to make their voice heard by signing a petition at www.noplandan.com.au/lockdown-legislation.

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