The Liberal Nationals will vehemently oppose and vote to defeat the Andrews Labor Government’s attempt to extend State of Emergency powers for a further 12 months.
The State of Emergency vests enormous power with the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with very little oversight and accountability – proven in recent months with the effective shutdown of the Legislative Assembly.
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 on a declaration of a State of Emergency, which is due to expire on 16 September 2020.
The reason why a declaration of a State of Emergency is strictly time-limited is clear – because such massive government powers over the lives of Victorians must not be open-ended.
No government should write itself a blank cheque for such extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods. Oversight and accountability are paramount.
Any ongoing laws required to protect Victorians throughout the pandemic should be regularly brought through the Parliament.
The Liberal Nationals will always stand for Victorians’ rights and freedoms in the face of government overreach.
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Opposition, Michael O’Brien:
“This is the act of a Premier whose power has gone to his head.
“We will stand with Victorians whose rights and freedoms are threatened by this extraordinary power grab.
“Daniel Andrews caused this second wave by his government’s incompetence managing hotel quarantine and now he wants to extend his power without being accountable for it.
“Victorians deserve democracy, they deserve accountability, they deserve transparency but instead what we get from Daniel Andrews is another attempt to extend his power over the lives of Victorians.”
Comments attributable to the Leader of the Nationals, Peter Walsh:
“It’s a draconian move that should send a shiver down the spine of every Victorian.
“The State of Emergency hands enormous power to the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with very little oversight and accountability.
“There’s a reason it’s strictly limited to a maximum of six months – because no government should be able to write itself a blank cheque for extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods.”