Nationals to oppose State of Emergency power grab
01 September 2020
Euroa MP and The Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan has condemned the Andrews Labor Government’s proposal to extend Victoria’s State of Emergency powers for a further six months.
Ms Ryan said the State of Emergency vests enormous power with the Premier and a small number of unelected officials with very little oversight and accountability, proven in recent months with the effective shutdown of the Legislative Assembly.
The Nationals will seek a number of amendments to the government’s proposal when Parliament resumes this week. These include requiring any extensions to be approved by both Chambers of Parliament for a maximum of four weeks and to remove the proposal for the powers to apply, even when there no active COVID-19 cases.
“Time and time again throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this government has sought to avoid Parliament by extending the State of Emergency in four-week blocks,” Ms Ryan said.
“However, the law states that there is a maximum six-month limit on a declaration of a State of Emergency, which is due to expire on 16 September 2020.
“This is an unprecedented amount of power that the Premier has proposed, granting his party the absolute power to bypass Parliament.
“There’s a reason why the state of emergency is limited in legislation by six months. No Premier, no politician should have that degree of power over the lives of Victorians indefinitely.
“Daniel Andrews has shown a blatant disregard for the safeguards that underpin democratic government.
“No government should write itself a blank cheque for such extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods.
“No matter the gravity of the current situation, we should all be concerned by how quick Daniel Andrews is to set aside the principles of democratic government.
“Victorians deserve democracy, they deserve accountability and they deserve transparency.”
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said no government should be able to write itself a blank cheque for extreme power over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods.
“Regional Victoria is only in the second wave of COVID-19 due to the inexcusable failures of the Andrews Labor Government including the botched hotel quarantine program and shortfalls in contact tracing.
“The Nationals will always stand for Victorians’ rights and freedoms in the face of government overreach.”