It’s been labelled as “terrifying”, “dangerous” and a “massive threat to Australian democracy”, but really, the new laws that have been proposed in Victoria are nothing of the sort. Words like these are being used to unrightfully propagate hatred towards Premier Dan Andrews, so let’s go over why we shouldn’t be reading the “beware of the dog” signs that some folks are putting on their doors/news articles.
Depending on who your news source is, you may have discovered this morning that Dan Andrews is coming for global domination by tweaking his Premier powers to become stronger than the Prime Minister. Don’t worry though, nothing of the sort is going down.
In fact, the new proposed tweaks to the Victorian Premier’s ‘powers’ are quite a good thing, and are being put in place to prevent some turbo fuckery in the face of any more pandemic disasters.
The Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 will be introduced to Victorian Parliament on Tuesday, and has been reported to provide a “huge sweep of power” to the Premier.
Here’s an example of the wrong kind of take:
This Bill is a very dangerous overreach, placing all power – all power – in the Premier, with no oversight. A massive threat to an Australian democracy. It must be opposed. https://t.co/0CxVbGUMHq
— Matthew Guy MP (@MatthewGuyMP) October 25, 2021
Now, here’s what the bill will actually put into place.
Firstly, this bill is looking to mimic the way things are in NSW and New Zealand, so it’s not like Andrews has gone rogue or something. New South Welshmen have been living under these powers for some time now.
“After examining the powers in other jurisdictions like NSW and New Zealand and working through issues with an independent panel, we will introduce a bill to parliament to manage pandemics into the future and keep Victorians safe,” a government spokesperson told the ABC.
With the bill put in place, Andrews will be able to declare pandemics on his own, and will be able to enforce public health orders 3 months at a time. On top of this, the Minister for Health (Martin Foley) will be able to sign off on public health orders instead of the Chief Health Officer (Brett Sutton), which really just makes the process a tiny bit easier in order to protect Victorians in the future.
This happens all the time in NSW, with Health Minister Brad Hazzard signing off public health order amendments, while Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant gives the advice.
According to the ABC, the new law will also provide Victoria with an independent ‘oversight committee’, which will essentially keep everything in check. The panel will be filled with medical, public health and human rights experts, which rocks, and will make sure nobody makes an ill-informed step come COVID-20 next decade, or something.
To make things even better, public health advice will also be made… public, which will allow people like you and me to better understand what the fuck is going on and why. On top of this, QR code data will be changed so that it can only be used for health purposes, and not by the police.
So yeah, sounds like a bunch of good stuff because it is. Although Shadow Attorney-General Tim Smith reckons our “liberties and freedoms” are “under assault”, it’s really just the usual bunch of spin used against Labor politicians.