New Pandemic Laws Pushed As Victoria’s Cases Stabalise
'State of Emergency'
Victoria reported 1510 new infections on Tuesday and sadly four Covid-related deaths.
There are 24,715 active coronavirus cases, with 817 people in hospital, while 147 of those in ICU and 88 on ventilators.
The new cases were detected from 55,679 swabs delivered on Sunday, while 28,232 vaccine doses were administered at state-run hubs, with thousands more at GP clinics and pharmacies.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The Melbourne Briefing - keeping you in the loop with breaking news as it hits.
Meanwhile, a controversial new law is set to go before state parliament today, replacing the 'State of Emergency' framework that has steered Victoria's Covid response since the start of the pandemic.
The national broadcaster is reporting that under the proposed new laws, Premier Dan Andrews could be given the power to declare pandemics and have public health orders enforced for three months.
The pandemic response in Victoria has seen this authority historically given to the chief health officer, but instead the new regulations would proffer the health minister with greater authority to protect public health.
Shadow attorney general Tim Smith has branded the laws the most dangerous piece of legislation put forward to an Australian parliament.
"If the Premier doesn't like a protest, he'll just shut it down. If the Premier wants us locked down, he will. If he wants businesses closed, he can just do it. This is not a democracy; this is ruling by decree. It’s terrifying, its wrong and it must be stopped," he said.
Mr Smith is however most concerned over the clause which applies to “classes of person” who can be identified by their “characteristics, attributes or circumstances”.
"This means that the Premier could lock people down based on race, religion, creed, colour, vaccination status. This is terribly concerning for a liberal democracy like Australia to see these sort of provisions"
- Tim Smith
An independent oversight committee, including public health and human rights experts would also be instated to review the public health orders.
The bill also stipulates that all public health advice must be made public.
For Australians looking for intelligent and unbiased news coverage, join renowned journalist Natarsha Belling on Your Morning Agenda for breaking national and international stories as well as the top business and finance stories - every weekday from 6:30am on Listnr