Update on extension to the state of emergency powers from Cindy Mcleish
As Victoria battles COVID-19, the State of Emergency is the legal framework under which the current wide-ranging restrictions on people’s lives and livelihoods including restrictions on leaving your own home, business closures, travel bans, quarantine arrangements and curfews are made.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Andrews Labor Government has been extending the State of Emergency in four-week blocks. However, the law states that there is a maximum six-month limit, with the current declaration due to expire on 13 September 2020.
Next week, the Andrews Labor Government wants the Victorian Parliament to pass a new law that will extend the maximum duration of state of emergency powers from the current 6 months to a potential 18 months. The proposed extension runs counter to our democratic principles and conventions as well as the rights of all citizens.
As it stands, the draft legislation which gives effect to these proposed laws raises some serious concerns.
As well as extending the maximum duration of a state of emergency from 6 months to 18 months, under the proposed new laws:
- a State of Emergency may still apply even if there are no active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria
- the Chief Health Officer can take action to eliminate a serious risk to public health if he believes it to be ‘reasonably necessary’ rather than the current ‘necessary’ which represents a much lower threshold.
This proposed new law is unacceptable to the Victorian Liberal Nationals and we will oppose it.
To date over 25,000 people have signed our petition calling for changes to be made.
Due to the widespread opposition to this proposal the government looks to be considering amendments. However, it is the votes of the minor parties that will eventually determine how this may look.
The Liberal Nationals will always stand for Victorians’ rights and freedoms in the face of government overreach.
Victorians have fought and died for our freedoms. We will stand up for them in the face of a Premier who seeks control without accountability and oversight.
Cindy McLeish MP
State Member for Eildon