We might as well just stay locked down forever, right?
Legal groups have warned against Victoria’s plan to extend its state of emergency by 12 months, arguing that to comply with human rights obligations parliament should favour the “most limited possible option” when granting extraordinary powers.
Victorian law currently allows the government to declare a state of emergency for four weeks at a time and to extend that declaration for up to six months.
The state government declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic on 16 March and has renewed it six times in four-week increments.
The current state of emergency declaration expires on 13 September – three days before the six-month time limit expires.
On Monday the premier, Daniel Andrews, said he would ask parliament to extend the allowable period for a state of emergency to 12 months, and then renew it, allowing Victoria to remain in a state of emergency until September next year.
Separately, he indicated the AFL grand final would be held outside Melbourne for the first time.
It comes as Victoria recorded 15 deaths and 116 new Covid cases, the lowest daily increase in case numbers in seven weeks. To date, 517 people have died in Australia after testing positive to Covid-19, including more than 400 in Victoria’s second wave.
NSW recorded three new cases, two in hotel quarantine and one person who was a close contact of a previously identified case. Also, a hotel quarantine security guard who tested positive for Covid-19 last week was fined twice for allegedly breaching self-isolation rules. One case was recorded in Queensland.
The state of emergency declaration, made under Victoria’s Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, allows the chief health officer to issue enforceable public health directions – like the stay at home orders, rules around mass gatherings, the requirement that people with the virus self-isolate, and the requirement to wear face masks.
The requirement for international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days is also enforced under the state of emergency powers.
“We simply can’t have those important rules and the legal framework that sits behind them, we cannot have that end on 13 September because this will not have ended on 13 September,” Andrews told reporters.
Andrews said it was “not an unlimited extension” and the government would continue to have to apply the order in four-week blocks. But he said that if a vaccine is not found by September 2021, it may need to be extended again.
“If there is a vaccine before then, or if circumstances change dramatically, you would always adjust your rules, according to that,” he said. “But I think we have to accept that this is with us for a considerable time in one form or another.”
Anthony Kelly from the Police Accountability Project said he had seen “too many incidents of discriminatory policing,” including the hard lockdown of nine public housing towers, to be comfortable with a 12-month extension. “Until the government is able to guarantee a genuinely respectful, health-led response to the crisis, that fully complies with international human rights standards, then short-term extensions will be safer for all of us,” he said.
The health minister, Jenny Mikakos, said the Victorian government would start releasing public data about the location of coronavirus outbreaks and naming “high risk locations,” rather than just general figures on the number of active cases per local government area. It will bring Victoria in line with other states, which have for months been publicly listing locations visited by active Covid-19 cases.
“For example, people will be able to search and see if a known case has been in the local shopping centre, local cafe, workplace or another location,” Mikakos said.
Understand: Victoria is being used as a testing ground. This is going to be used on all of us.
I don’t know why they chose this place, but I imagine they figured out that these were the closest thing to “average white people” they could find. They want to see how much these people will take, so they know how hard they can push it on the rest of us.
They have military on the streets enforcing mask rules.
So far, no one has resisted any of it.
They are going along with the most insane destruction of their lives and of their basic humanity that you can possibly imagine.
The people in your town will do it too.
They bought into the masks. There is no bottom to the pit of willingness to obey among the masses of people.
The people telling you that this will end after the election are lying or they are unbelievably stupid. This is the greatest mechanism of control that has ever been created, and they have zero reason to get rid of that mechanism.
If Joe Biden wins, it’s going to get so much worse. If Donald Trump wins, maybe he’ll push back against it, but the media will continue demanding this lunacy.
The cities are going to be totally uninhabitable for the foreseeable future. You should get out.