Around 200 Australians person marched from Melbourne’s Footscray Park to the gates of the Flemington Racecourse during protests against the Victorian government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Melbourne Cup, a nationalist vacation successful the authorities of Victoria, was underway astatine the racecourse, which saw astir 10 1000 afloat vaccinated punters articulation the festivities.
The radical stopped successful beforehand of the venue chanting and carrying signs reading, “Kill the Bill,” “No Vaccine Passports,” and, “The freedoms you surrender contiguous are the freedoms your grandchildren volition ne'er cognize existed.” Police monitored the rally.
Protests person go a regular occurrence successful the Australian authorities arsenic residents explicit vexation with vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and much recently, the impending Pandemic Management Bill.
On the weekend, thousands took to the streets protesting against the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021, which cleared the little location of Victoria’s Parliament past week.
The measure volition found a caller operation for the authorities to woody with aboriginal pandemics and is expected to regenerate pre-existing “State of Emergency” powers provided nether the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008—due to expire connected Dec. 15 and extended doubly already.
While the newer measure streamlines definite operational aspects of the authorities and establishes further safeguards astir privateness rights, it besides contains wide-ranging provisions that springiness the authorities premier and the wellness curate unprecedented power implicit the state.
These see “broad powers” for the wellness curate to marque pandemic orders, connected the proposal of the main wellness officer, wherever it is deemed “reasonably necessary” to “protect nationalist health.” Further, the premier tin “declare a pandemic” and widen specified a declaration three-months astatine a time—the fig of extensions is unlimited.
Pandemic orders would springiness the premier and wellness curate the powerfulness to contented caller nationalist wellness decrees including closing borders, disguise mandates, and introducing wellness restrictions. It would besides supply them with the quality to people classes of individuals, adjacent based connected vaccination status.
Further, constabulary volition beryllium capable to participate backstage premises without a warrant to instrumentality specified decrees.
New grounds penalties person besides been introduced including two-year situation terms and fines of AU$90,000 for “aggravated offences” wherever an idiosyncratic breaches a wellness bid and is deemed to person caused a “serious risk” to the wellness of another.
The authorities absorption person and highest ineligible body, the Victorian Bar, person powerfully criticised the Bill.
Christopher Blanden Q.C., president of the Bar, warned the Bill would let “unlimited interference” successful the liberties of Victoria’s residents.
“The overriding interest is that the measure confers connected the wellness curate what is, successful a applicable sense, an efficaciously unlimited powerfulness to regularisation the authorities by decree, for an efficaciously indefinite period, and without effectual judicial oregon parliamentary oversight,” helium said successful an interior email to Bar members.
“The measure confers powers that tin beryllium appropriately described arsenic draconian successful authorising virtually unlimited interference with the liberties of Victorian citizens. Yet the measure lacks the due checks and balances to guarantee the due workout of these powers,” helium added.
“This represents the biggest situation to the regularisation of instrumentality that this authorities has faced successful decades.”
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