Government backdown on Omnibus Bill welcome
The Victorian Greens welcome the significant changes proposed by the Government to the controversial elements of its Omnibus Bill. It has finally listened to our concerns and those of the community.
The overreach in giving police and PSOs powers of detention for public health purposes was both unnecessary and dangerous. We are glad the government has seen sense on this issue and removed the pre-emptive detention powers and are specifically limiting the powers of police and PSOs as Authorised Officers.
Great to see police & PSOs no longer get detention powers in Omnibus Bill in #springst. Glad #Greens and community concerns addressed. @VictorianCHO and authorised officers still have broad detention powers in Public Health & Wellbeing Act, and these should be a last resort.— Tim Read (@TimRRead) October 7, 2020
However, the Greens remain very concerned about the role of police in managing the pandemic. The over-policing of First Nations people, the Sudanese community and other vulnerable groups risks undermining the public health response to the pandemic. We need enthusiastic participation from Victoria’s many diverse communities and for that we need a health-led, not a force-led response.
We also note there remain broad powers of detention available to the Chief Health Officer and these need to be used sparingly and as a last resort.
We will carefully consider the changes put forward by the government today.
Quotes attributable to Tim Read MP, Victorian Greens Health spokesperson:
“The Government’s welcome backdown on its Omnibus Bill today addresses many of the concerns I raised when I spoke to the Bill a fortnight ago.
In particular I welcome the fact that police and PSOs will now not be allowed to exercise powers of detention. Police will no longer be on the unenviable position of being both judge and gaoler.
The Greens have consistently backed the Government’s public health response to the pandemic but have strongly argued it shouldn’t be used to expand police powers.”
Sign up for my newsletter here.