Following last week’s shock blocking by former Labor power broker Adem Somyurek, the Victorian Andrews Government now requires one additional crossbench vote in the 40-member upper house to pass its controversial pandemic bill.
Parliamentary insiders have suggested that Sustainable Australia’s Clifford Hayes and Transport Matters’ Rod Barton are the government’s best hopes for getting the bill through the Legislative Council.
Hayes says the government must agree to a “complete reworking” of the provisions of the bill, and indicated that he hopes to present a list of his proposed “fundamental” changes to the legislation on Monday. Barton is also preparing a list of amendments that he will seek in return for his support.
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From The Age:
[Clifford Hayes] said he was concerned about many provisions of the bill including what he said was a lack of oversight of the proposed laws, the absence of appeal rights for people subject to public health orders and the inability of Parliament to disallow any of the pandemic powers.
“It’s really a complete reworking of the provisions of the legislation,” Mr Hayes said…
“We’re not anywhere close to on board until there are fundamental changes”…
“But if they can meet the democratic problems in this bill, the problems of overreach of power, then we’ve got a chance of getting this bill through.”
Mr Barton said he had a lot more consultation with human rights groups and legal advisers to do before he finalised his positions.
“These discussions will go on all next week,” he said.
“Whether they [the government] cut a deal with someone else, I don’t know. But they have taken six months to stuff this up, so they have got to give us a week and a bit. I won’t be making any decisions in the short term.”
The legal profession, human rights advocates, the Victorian Ombudsman, and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce have all opposed the bill (their concerns are summarised below).
The NSW Government has also abandoned plans to extend its COVID-19 emergency powers because Premier Dominic Perrottet believes they are undemocratic.
Why are such draconian powers necessary with Victoria having hit the 90% full vaccination target? The bill is a massive overreach and needs to be squashed.
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