Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has addressed the media this morning after it was revealed his government would be making amendments to its controversial new pandemic laws.
During the doorstop, a reporter told Mr Andrews that the Opposition is saying his government is “prepared to lock us down again” off the back of the new legislation – which will give the premier and health officer of the day the power to make public health orders (not the chief health officer, as is currently the case in Victoria).
The Premier said the Opposition is “back to just political games”.
“You’ve got the Opposition who are wanting to have it a bit both ways, you know, standing with people who are anti-vaxxers, sharing a podium with people who are anti-science, anti-vaccination,” he said.
“The reason we’re open and the reason we’re going to stay open is people have got vaccinated. I am … deeply grateful to [Victorians] for them having kept their end of the bargain and now we’re keeping ours.”
Protesters are continuing to camp outside Victorian Parliament, calling for Mr Andrews to “kill the [pandemic] bill”.
Footage posted to social media last night showed a four-wheel-drive pulling a wooden gallows along Spring Street before parking outside Parliament.
Some protesters were seen gathering around the structure chanting threats towards the Premier. The structure had a rope connected to a small cross at the bottom bearing the word “treason”.
A similar structure was carried by a marcher during Saturday’s protest.
Earlier this morning, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley appeared on radio station 3AW for what was, at times, a combative interview with host Neil Mitchell.
Mitchell asked whether, under the proposed legislation, some of Melbourne’s recent protests during lockdowns would have been legal.
“It depends on the circumstances of the day … but the government of the day will be obliged to make sure that the Charter of Human Rights, including the right to legitimate protest, will be protected in the orders,” Mr Foley said.
“It’s hard to predict what the future might bring because no one knows what the next pandemic might be.”
Mitchell went on to say: “That’s part of our worry, about the difficulty in predicting the future and therefore wanting adequate oversight and wanting this legislation written in a way which doesn’t leave room to be abused by either your government or any other government.”
The Health Minister responded: “Absolutely.”
The legislation has already been passed by the Legislative Assembly and is set to be debated by the state’s upper house later this week.