Pandemic laws surpass usual parliamentary process

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says she will oppose the Pandemic Laws introduced to Parliament by the Andrews Labor Government this week.

Ms Britnell said the proposal gave far too much power to one person and contained incredibly disturbing language.

“There is a clause in the legislation that says pandemic orders can be made on “classes of people” identified by “their characteristics, attributes or circumstances”,” Ms Britnell said.

“That clause alone raised alarm bells for me – as did the clause that says the Premier can declare a Pandemic and isn’t bound by the advice of the Chief Health Officer.

“That essentially means the Premier can do whatever he wants.

“This is a significant overreach and is just not something I can support.”

Ms Britnell also said the way the bill was introduced to Parliament was an attack on democracy and treats Victorians with contempt.

“It is a usual, long standing custom that legislation is introduced and then adjourned for 14 days to allow for briefings, consultation and review from the Scrutiny of Acts Committee,” she said.

“This bill was introduced on Tuesday morning, we had a briefing on the bill on Wednesday afternoon – just two hours before the debate started in the chamber and it will be voted on at the adjournment on Thursday.

“The Andrews Government has rammed this through because they know it’s not popular and they didn’t want the negative feedback from the community.

“The way Labor has approached this should shock all Victorians, this piece of legislation could have huge impacts on peoples lives and it has been rushed through Parliament in a matter of days. Daniel Andrews is riding roughshod over the democratic process of the Parliament.

“The Government has had months to get this legislation drafted and introduced into Parliament, but they have waited until the last minute because they know it will be unpopular. It is disgraceful and should make every Victorian question the way this Labor Government behaves.”

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