Stop extension of emergency powers on Victoria

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“Premier Dan Andrews has said he intends to extend Victoria’s ‘‘state of emergency’’ for an extra 12 months past the September 13 deadline. Whether that ends up happening will reveal just how much our society values democracy. The DHHS directions that enforce the current COVID-19 restrictions come under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, and are only allowed to be made when a state of emergency has been declared. Importantly, under these laws a state of emergency cannot be in force for more than six months. Current stage 4 restrictions are due to run until September 13, which also marks six months since the government’s original declaration of a state of emergency. Andrews says he does not intend to extend the state of disaster, which operates under different legislation. So why does all this matter? Because the restrictions and controls being made by the DHHS are made under executive power – and this power is about to run out. This means that the state parliament is going to need to pass a new law amending the Public Health and Wellbeing Act to extend the amount of time a state of emergency may be in place for. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen. To simply tamper with the limits set on executive power, when it suits them, is repugnant to the principles that are supposed to underlie our system of government. the government’s willingness to introduce extraordinary restrictions on individual freedoms is untenable. It is unprecedented to put an entire state under what is effectively house- arrest, and keep them there indefinitely. What makes this all the more preposterous is the lack of a clear strategy at the end of the restrictions“ - (Quoted from “the Age - August 24, 2020).