THE COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020 is currently being considered by State Parliament’s Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC).
SARC’s role is to scrutinise whether a Bill is incompatible with human rights.
The committee, chaired by a Labor MP, has invited public submissions for the “highly controversial” COVID-19 Omnibus Bill for a period of 48 hours only, according to the Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.
Ms Bath is encouraging Gippslanders to urgently make a submission and have their say on the COVID-19 Omnibus Bill.
“While the Bill will be debated and voted on in the upper house of State Parliament next week, submissions are only open for 48 hours, closing at 5pm Wednesday 7 October 2020,” Ms Bath said.
“I’ve received hundreds of calls and emails from constituents genuinely afraid of the draconian ramifications contained within this legislation.
“The fact that [the] Andrews government has opened submissions for such a short period of time is a clear indication it is hiding from scrutiny and attempting to stifle community input.”
Ms Bath said if the Omnibus Amendment Bill passed, it would allow ‘authorised officers’ acting on behalf of the state government to arrest anyone they think may not comply with Daniel Andrews’ lockdown restrictions.
“Arresting someone on suspicion without an act being committed is ludicrous and a serious breach of human rights.
“There is no requirement for authorised officers to be police officers, they can be anyone the Andrews government deems to have ‘the appropriate skills, attributes and experience’, which could include security guards similar to those used in the hotel quarantine debacle.
“Daniel Andrews’ COVID-19 Omnibus Bill is unwarranted, excessive and open to abuse.
“SARC has a responsibility to scrutinise Bills and identify when human rights are compromised, which is why I am alerting constituents to the small window of opportunity to voice their concerns.
“This COVID-19 Omnibus Bill proposes unprecedented laws to control Victorians to a level that has never seen before in Victoria and The Nationals and Liberals will be fiercely opposing it,” Ms Bath said.
Submissions to SARC on the COVID-19 Omnibus Bill can be made by emailing email@example.com.