If you’re in Victoria and can hear a cracking sound, it’s because The Spectator Australia has dealt some mighty blows to Daniel Andrews preposterous COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Amendment Bill.
Last Friday Ian Hanke, writing in these pages, exclusively revealed the Bill would allow citizens to be detained indefinitely and give sweeping powers to untrained people to become “authorised officers” with sweeping powers to arrest and detain fellow Victorians.
Since then, the veteran political strategist has told how Chairman Dan’s plan could create a situation where potentially anonymous officers were issuing fines, detaining individuals or groups, preventing freedom of movement — all without training or accountability.
Today’s Hanke’s come back with more, detailing just one scenario of how these bizarre proposals could be abused, the creation of a situation whereby a union official who is an “authorised officer” could enter a workplace to investigate so-called COVID-safe plans — with full powers of arrest and detention without review. You can see the scofflaws of the CFMMEU and all the other union thugs that prowl Victoria’s industrial relations Wild West already drawing up their hitlists.
Hanke’s scoop and follow up stories — amplified in recent days by veteran columnist Robert Gottliebsen in The Australian — have provoked outrage from the legal profession and exposed Andrews unprecedented threat to fundamental rights, due process and good governance.
His plans are cracking and the Chairman is now reaching for the political Pollyfilla. The Age is saying:
Mr Andrews said discussions were underway with the crossbench to try get support to have the bills passed…
“They’re based on a reasonable belief principle and proportionality principle about the risk of spreading COVID,” he said…
“There are some people who are not compliant, refuse to act in a responsible and safe way. Those powers would not be frequently used. They would be, I think, rare. But they are important.
“We wouldn’t take these steps if we didn’t believe they were proportionate to the challenge we face. We are in unprecedented times…
“I think it’s perfectly possible for the Legislative Council to work through a bill line by line. They do it every week they sit, that’s what they did last time and it’s what they’ll do with this and we’ll see what comes at the end of that,” he said.
“I don’t predict outcomes in the upper house but I can predict that our negotiation and our conversations will be in good faith and I’m always grateful to crossbenchers who engage in that.”
The Australian’s coverage shows just how wide the cracks in his plans now are:
Mr Andrews on Wednesday argued the provisions were necessary and would be applied in a “proportionate” manner, but the Premier was unable to specify circumstances where they had previously been required.
“I‘m not sure,” Mr Andrews said when asked whether he was aware of situations during Victoria’s coronavirus pandemic where having the legislation in place would have resulted in a different outcome…
“In terms of the concerns that are raised, people are free to raise concerns…”
Mr Andrews was unable to say whether police had asked for the provisions.
“There‘s been a long discussion over quite some time about the number of authorised officers we have, the fact that different powers sit with different people and some improvements to that whole compliance arrangement,” he said.
“As to detailed correspondence and all of that, I’d need to come back to you on that, but it’s been an ongoing discussion that I know the Department of Justice and Community Safety and all of their stakeholders have been an important part of that.”
That’s shag on a rock stuff.
It’s also the same sleazy mix of scaremongering, threats and bullying and post-truth obfuscation we’ve come to expect Andrews and the members of his ministry ever since their gross mismanagement of COVID-19 became clear, along with an admission that he’s miscalculated outrageously and overreached — not that he’d ever say such words — and is preparing for a defeat he will attempt to package up as compromise.
Good luck with that, mate.
As Hanke says today “This bill is repugnant. It is an attack on civil liberties and rights even as the virus is increasingly under control with existing measures. It is unnecessary and unjustified. It should never become law.”
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