Hefty fines, 2-year jail terms await people found guilty of breaching Australian pandemic restrictions

 A new bill rushed before the Parliament of Victoria on Oct. 26 states that residents of Victoria will face prison time or massive fines of up to AU$90,000 ($67,570) if they fail to comply with government-mandated health orders and pose a risk to the health of others.

The Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 was presented by Health Minister Martin Foley. It aims to override the “State of Emergency” powers provided under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, which was slated to expire at the end of this year.

These powers were extended twice and gave the state government authority to impose public health restrictions like mask mandates, lockdowns, business closures and domestic border closures.

The new bill grants permanent extraordinary powers to the health minister and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, along with new massive penalties to ensure compliance among Australians.  

The bill gives Andrews the power to “declare a pandemic” and to extend it for at least three months. There is no limit on the number of extensions.

With the bill enforced, Victoria can easily be placed under lockdown if the premier decides to declare one.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton previously signed off on public health orders. But under the bill, the proposal would shift this power to Foley, who will now have “broad power” to make pandemic orders and “protect public health,” with guidance from Sutton.

According to the measure, pandemic orders could be targeted and “differentiated” between different classes of people based on their alleged risk to public health and their vaccination status, proving once again that governments worldwide are discriminating against the unvaccinated.

Andrews explained that the bill was created with the support of community bodies, legal bodies, human rights groups and the crossbench. Allegedly, the bill has the support of the Greens Party and two independent parties: the Animal Justice Party and Reason Party.

New bill is “an attack on Australian democracy”

The legislation has been heavily criticized. Matthew Guy, leader of the opposition Liberal Party, warned that the bill was “an attack on Australian democracy.” And even though there’s an independent committee, it was appointed by the premier. Guy questioned the reasoning behind the decision, especially since Andrews himself appointed the independent committee that is supposed to monitor the premier.

Guy called on the public to discuss the matter with friends and online and to fight for democracy. He also warned that the bill would give Andrews, “the most power-hungry politician in Australia [license] to declare a pandemic,” ultimately giving the latter the authority to do what he wants indefinitely.

According to Rod Barton, leader of the Transport Matters Party in the upper house of the state Parliament, he wasn’t consulted despite Andrews’ claims that the crossbench supports the Pandemic Management Bill.

In a press release, Samantha Ratnam, leader of the Victorian Greens, announced that the party has negotiated with the government to create new, improved laws that will be “much fairer for the whole Victorian community.”

Ratman said that the Greens worked to ensure that the new laws have more transparency, particularly for disadvantaged citizens. For example, the laws would offer greater protection to QR code data and greater scrutiny from an independent panel that includes experts in human rights and health.

David Limbrick, upper house MP of the Victorian Parliament, disagreed. He said that the Greens aren’t to be trusted when it comes to human rights.

“What did they do after the housing tower lockdown disaster? Support more of the same,” wrote Limbrick in a Twitter post.

Morgan Begg, director of the Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne, cautioned that the law would bring about the end of democratic government in Victoria. Like Guy, Begg called for immediate action to end the bill.

Begg said that the government’s ability to declare emergencies and exercise emergency powers must be halted as soon as possible to ensure the freedom of Victorian citizens.

Hefty fines, 2-year jail terms await people found guilty of breaching Australian pandemic restrictions Hefty fines, 2-year jail terms await people found guilty of breaching Australian pandemic restrictions Reviewed by Your Destination on October 31, 2021 Rating: 5

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