Health | December 01, 2021

Premier handed blank cheque with pandemic powers

The Andrews Labor Government’s power grab pandemic legislation has passed despite vehement opposition from National and Liberal MPs in a marathon 24-hour sitting of Parliament.

The Nationals and the Liberals, along with legal experts and human rights advocates, raised serious concerns that the Bill handed the government and the Premier too much power to lock down Victorians – without parliamentary oversight.

Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said Labor’s scheming to secure eleventh-hour votes from Independent MPs gave the government the numbers it needed to pass the Bill.

“In its desperate grab for power, the Andrews Labor Government has ignored the impact its lockdowns have had on the mental and social wellbeing of Victorians, on the education of our kids, on elective surgery waitlists, and on businesses,” she said.

“The outpouring of deep concern and anger from people across my electorate and the wider Victorian community about this bill has been immense. My office has received thousands of emails and countless phone calls from people pleading for the Bill to be stopped.

“Lockdowns have had a devastating impact on people’s mental health and financial security. They have hurt jobs and spiralled Victoria into debt, with the Victorian economy now the worst in Australia and falling further behind.

“But now, with the support of Independent MPs, Daniel Andrews is securing even more power over Victorian’s lives and livelihoods.

“Even with amendments, this is still a bad bill – there’s simply no other way to describe it.”

Ms Kealy said the Nationals had pledged to repeal the pandemic legislation if elected to government next year, and had committed to ensuring there would be no lockdowns under a Coalition Government.

To better help our state recover and rebuild, The Nationals have also pledged $400 million to build a new infectious disease response centre to manage future pandemics, with 100 new specialised hospital beds across Victoria, if they are elected to form government in November 2022.

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