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Without parliament, Victoria's Covid-19 response will become government by decree


The Andrews Government is seeking sweeping powers under its omnibus bill, making it imperative for parliament to continue sitting beyond this week.

For the next six months, the bill effectively empowers the Attorney-General to make new laws across the justice sector, in relation to bail, the courts, police and corrections, which can only be reversed by parliament. But the Government has suspended parliament indefinitely.

Because of these extraordinary powers, parliamentary scrutiny is now more important than ever.

Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read, said there was now no reason to delay parliament indefinitely over the coming months, and that with proper safety measures in place, parliament could continue to fulfil its vital function during the crisis.

He added that by preventing parliament from fulfilling its duty, Victoria faced a prolonged period of ‘government by decree’.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read:

“Even if MPs have to wear gloves and masks, it’s critical that they attend to scrutinise the effect of these new extraordinary powers.

“The experience of other nations tells us that when a government seeks to introduce far reaching emergency powers, ensuring their scrutiny is every bit as important as the laws themselves.”

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Dr Tim Read
Greens MP for Brunswick
21 April 2020
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