Law Institute joins fight against Dictator Dan’s pandemic power grab

Yesterday I reported how the Victorian Bar – the professional association of barristers – has urged the state government to reconsider its controversial new pandemic laws which would grant the Andrews Government “unlimited, unreviewable power” that “authorises extreme limitations of basic liberties of all Victorians and confers enormous powers on the executive”.

Sixty barristers have in turn signed an open letter in which they warn that the legislation would enable the government to effectively rule the state by decree for the foreseeable future.

Now the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) – the peak body representing nearly 20,000 legal professionals in Victoria – has joined the fight, warning that the bill lacks sufficient parliamentary oversight and would allow the government to declare a pandemic for an unlimited period of time. The LIV has also questioned why such laws are necessary given Victoria is approaching its 90% full vaccination target:

The Bill has been introduced at a time when the Victorian population is reaching its target vaccination rates, and we would question whether passing these powers so urgently in these circumstances is proportionate to the reduced risks currently posed by the pandemic. Rushed legislation is often compromised legislation. The LIV urges pause for law makers to further consider the potential impact of the proposed legislation, as it needs to be fit for the purpose of protecting our democracy, safeguarding members of the community, and be unable to be exploited by governments of unknown persuasions in the future…

The LIV is of the firm view that the Bill in its current form does not sufficiently protect the rights of Victorians. In a number of important ways, the Bill falls short of achieving its stated objectives, namely promoting transparency and accountability in relation to decisions made and actions taken.

The Bill places a significant amount of power in the hands of the Premier and the Minister to declare a pandemic and to make pandemic orders, respectively. The LIV calls for independent oversight and scrutiny to ensure that legal ‘protections’ are justifiable, transparent and do not unduly limit human rights…


The position paper sets out the LIV’s specific concerns in relation to the Bill, which can be summarised as follows:

  • A pandemic declaration can be in place for an indefinite period of time and very wide powers are conferred on the Premier, the Minister for Health and Authorised Officers without effective checks and scrutiny;
  • Many powers appear to be an unnecessary infringement on democratic rights and freedoms, with little oversight offered by a truly independent body;
  • There appears to be no quantifiable timeframe for the maximum period of detention and the Bill is unclear as to where people are to be detained;
  • The process for review of detention does not provide for an independent external merits review;
  • Further concerns include the use of punitive and coercive approaches such as terms of imprisonment for aggravated offences, the abrogation of the privilege against self-incrimination, and the extended powers given to ‘authorised officers’; and
  • The protections relating to information gathered for public health purposes do not go far enough and the provisions relating to the use or disclosure of contact tracing information for other ‘permitted purposes’ should be carefully reconsidered.

A key problem is that Victoria lacks an effective opposition party. Despite the world’s longest lockdown, Australia’s worst COVID outcomes, and heavy-handed tactics by the police, Victorians overwhelmingly still support the Andrews Government:

A Roy Morgan Poll on State voting intention in Victoria shows the ALP lead over the L-NP on a two-party preferred basis is virtually unchanged from a year ago…

The ALP leads comfortably on a two-party preferred basis on 58% (down 0.5% points from November 2020) compared to the L-NP on 42% (up 0.5% points). The result is similar to the results at the last Victorian State Election in 2018 which was won easily by the ALP 57.3% cf. L-NP 42.7%…

The Roy Morgan survey found 60.5% of Victorian electors now approve of the way Premier Daniel Andrews is handling his job, down 10.5% points from a year ago in November 2020 while 39.5%, up 10.5% points disapprove of his handling of the job…

Victoria is the closest thing in Australia to a ‘one party state’. One party states breed authoritarian leaders like Daniel Andrews, who also happens to be in bed with the CCP (as evidenced by his ‘Belt & Road’ deal).

Victoria desperately needs a strong opposition, not the useless rabble that is the Victorian Liberals.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Maybe if members in the Liberal party realised that people like Michael Sukkar and Tim Smith are the problem then they could clean up the party. They did an alright job in Menzies. Their failure to do anything constructive during the last couple of years and just pander to the anti-vaxers will not get them very far.

    • BoomToBustMEMBER

      So your a socialist who does not support freedom and free will if people to choose what medical procedures they will have without coercion. Wonderful.

      • kierans777MEMBER

        Nope, not a socialist (not under the othordox definition). I also support people having free choice. But free choice is not choice without consequences. Your right to choose also doesn’t trump my rights, and the right to public health. If you choose to ignore the data on vaccination then I choose not to have you pose a risk to my community.

        When the Liberals, or their propagandists on Sky talk about “rights” and “freedoms” what they mean is THEIR rights and THEIR freedoms and their right to be as selfish as they want to be. And the Liberals will continue to lose elections until they clean themselves out of this neolibertarian nonsense.

        The Liberals everywhere around the country need to suffer fatal election wipeouts until they purge themselves of the Howardesque rabble. In Victoria that means people like Smith and #shadysukkar. I’m watching the current Cold War in the party with interest as they tear each other apart.

        • BoomToBustMEMBER

          so to paraphrase your comments: Your right to free choice is more important than my right to free choice, but your opinion because you are fearful is more important than my opinion because i’m not fearful.

          The jab does very little, it doesnt prevent you from catching or spreading it, and very rapidly its efficacy drops. Your safety is definitely not any where near as good as you think. With zero long term data. Then there is what Bill Gates says:

        • Jik the RipperMEMBER

          Just curious – given that the virus still circulates amongst the vaccinated population as evidenced by case loads overseas, what additional risk does an unvaccinated person pose to you that a vaccinated person does not?

          • kierans777MEMBER

            That’s a fair question. I don’t disagree that the data is showing that after ~6 months the efficacy of mRNA wanes and that subsequent doses, or changes to the vaccines will be required.

            My main issue is the public health resources that unvaccinated people tie up that could be used somewhere else. The two reasons that our health systems haven’t suffered complete collapse like in Italy, the US, Brazil, and other places is because of lockdowns/masks and our high rates of vaccination as we start to mingle together again.

            (If people want to dispute that, use proper evidence and not some weirdo’s blog)

            Secondary to that is this constant arguments about “freedoms”. What did they US Revolutionaries do the moment they kicked the tyrannical government out? Setup a government. What did the French Revolutionaries do after they chopped up the government? They installed a new government (and a few more after that). There has been arguments as long as mankind about where the end of individual rights are and where the rights of the collective takes precedence. Yet this neoliberatarian nonsense (I’d use harsher language if it didn’t mean this would end up in the moderation queue) of “my rights” is a cancer on our society and our democracy. Traditional libertarians historically understood that individuals have a responsibility to society, and that does mean giving up some of our individual “freedom” for the benefit of the whole. I pay my Medicare levy gladly because I want universal healthcare and not be like America – but that means someone like me has to help pay for it.

            I have nothing against legitimate debate, and examination of data. I don’t agree with everything the state government has done (shutting down playgrounds IMO was a terrible idea). It’s possible that readers of this comment will disagree with me, and that’s OK. But calling someone a “socialist” (which is ironic given nothing about this thread has been about economics and socialism is an economic philosophy) is an example of the type of people who contribute nothing of value to a discussion and I have no time for that.

          • Jik the RipperMEMBER

            @ Kieran, I agree that the government mandates are motivated by not wanting to overwhelm the health system. But the responsibility for that lies with the government.

            P.S. They deduct the medicare levy from your salary – you don’t get a choice.

          • kierans777MEMBER

            P.S. They deduct the medicare levy from your salary – you don’t get a choice.

            My point was more about the attitude and the recognition of what I see as the role of government, the purpose of taxation, and the provision of services. We’ve been trained to think of tax as a bad thing. The gubermint is taking something of mine, instead of me contributing towards the upkeep of the services that I want my society to have. Once I was in the Reganesque mindset. Then I read a bit more, and I realised how shallow such thinking is.

        • “Nope, not a socialist (not under the othordox definition). I also support people having free choice…..And the Liberals will continue to lose elections until they clean themselves out of this neolibertarian nonsense”.

          Political philosophy FAIL.

          • kierans777MEMBER

            Care to justify that claim? Or would you rather continue to look like a fool while lobbing stones at others?

        • “Nope, not a socialist (not under the othordox definition). I also support people having free choice…..And the Liberals will continue to lose elections until they clean themselves out of this neolibertarian nonsense”.

          This is a contradiction.

          Political philosophy FAIL.

          Stick to the topic. The article is about a draconian bill, it’s impact on people’s civil liberties and the lack of any oversight but you just want to talk about the LNP, pathetic that they are.

          • kierans777MEMBER

            I have grave concerns about this bill, given so many in the legal profession have spoken out against it.

            However the last line of the article is Victoria desperately needs a strong opposition, not the useless rabble that is the Victorian Liberals.

            So commenting on the state of the Liberals and the reasons why they are unlikely to hold government anytime soon is “on topic”.

        • Well, you just changed your original response to cover but do you want to have another go. 🤦‍♂️😂

          Where do I begin?!

          Your first sentence doesn’t make any sense and you claim to support free choice but that’s a big plank of Libertarianism. The actions have consequences line is a strawman and a red herring.

          You sound like a Dan Andrews apologist.

          The bill has been rushed and as a consequence very poorly designed. I’m uncertain if that was an intentional feature or not but given the level of incompetence in the bureaucracy I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a design flaw. Having said that, this government is extremely corrupt so who would really know for sure.

          There’s no reason why all the modelling and key assumptions including alternatives that were considered by Cabinet regarding all 6 lockdowns shouldn’t be made available to the public but under current FOI laws, all Cabinet papers and related documents are hidden from the public. Secrecy in government is a very big problem.

          • kierans777MEMBER

            Well, you just changed your original response

            I have changed nothing (except some edits to correct bad spelling or grammar).

            I really must have really annoyed some trolls this time 😂

        • Sure you did

          Ignoramuses amuse me and the Dan fan boys need to be set straight.

          You need to do both a political philosophy and critical thinking course 101 pronto, because you’re not much chop.

  2. dan andrews has lost the fight on the pandemic law. the unvaccinated will be in retail before xmas, not locked down for whole 2022. dan andrews has boxed himself in and stuffed up. it came to my attention that a lot of people think dan was teflon and nothing would stick to him as he could get away with anything. not this time. think this is where it all goes downhill for him from now to the election. the change to pandemic law was so over the top and undemocratic that it has shone a light well and truly on him. my impression is the Victorian bar and law institute have cut him lose. when was the last time you saw legal titans like these two bodies challenge laws the way they have, to me this is unheard of. a normal person would think a leader would be furious at them and be looking to take revenge at the first opportunity, yet these two legal bodies have taken on andrews so makes me think very strongly that he has well and truly overstepped the mark and he will gone at the election. these are just my views. anyway the unvaccinated will be out in retail and doing everything just like the vaccinated pre xmas 2021. cause even if andrews gets law through (which i dont think will happen as either it gets pulled before going to senate, or senate not vote for it) he cannot use it to bash unvaccinated till end 2022 or longer, or even till after grandprix 2022, because victorian bar and law institute can rightly turn around and say told you so, told you dan should not have been given these powers as he has misued them. no medicine/science person will back him up for very long given everyone else around the world doing complete oppsote to andrews. too much loss of prestige and career risk for any medical/science person who backs up dan when everyone else in world not doing what dan is doing. human beings do NOT like to be outliers, they like to be in the group and not stick out. politcal people are especiallylike this. dan andrews has lost this fight.

  3. “Victoria is the closest thing in Australia to a ‘one party state’. One party states breed authoritarian leaders like Daniel Andrews, who also happens to be in bed with the CCP (as evidenced by his ‘Belt & Road’ deal).”

    Claiming Vic is close to a one party state and then tying in the CCP comment is pure hyperbole.

    The idea that Andrew’s can do as he please is crap.