dictator dan

‘Dictator for Life’: Dan Andrews To Grant Himself Permanent Pandemic Powers

29 October 2021

1.8 MINS

Victorians could be fined $90,870 or imprisoned for two years for failing to wear a face mask — even if no pandemic is causing disease in the state — under new legislation set to pass Victoria’s upper house next week.

Introduced by the Andrews Government and passed in the lower house Thursday night, the Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 hands permanent pandemic powers to Premier Dan Andrews, allowing him to rule by decree through his health minister.

The bill would allow the minister to declare a pandemic for three-month periods and continue extending this declaration indefinitely without approval from the Victorian Parliament. It would enable businesses to be fined up to $454,350 for public health breaches such as failing to ensure a customer signs in with a QR code.


Rules that have until now been temporary — including lockdowns, vaccine mandates, gathering limits and police arrests — would be permanently etched in legislation if the bill passes next week.

The bill allows for health orders to be targeted at “specific classes” of people, making the Andrews Government immune from its own anti-discrimination laws. Victoria’s Equal Opportunity Act — which would be suspended under the pandemic powers — is aimed at shielding people from discrimination on the basis of their race, sex, religion, political beliefs and ten other protected attributes.

In introducing the hastily-written legislation, the Andrews Government claimed that the Victorian Bar association was among the stakeholders consulted in the process. But bar president Christopher Blanden QC was quick to set the record straight.

“This is a gross misrepresentation,” Blanden wrote in a communication to all Victorian barristers. “The Victorian Bar was not consulted … [and] was never provided with a draft Bill.”

The Victorian Bar labelled the legislation “the biggest challenge to the rule of law that this state has faced in decades.” The association warned that the bill would give the health minister “effectively unlimited power to rule the state by decree, for an effectively indefinite period, and without effective judicial or parliamentary oversight”.

Andrews has drawn widespread condemnation from political and media figures over the power grab. “This is not a power any government should have,” wrote Australia’s Assistant Attorney General Amanda Stoker in The Spectator.

It should scare the socks off every Australian, even those supporters of Daniel Andrews who believe he has their best interests at heart. Governments that seize greater power during a crisis rarely give it up once the crisis ends. This is not only true of dictatorships, but democracies as well.

Unless the extraordinary powers used during a crisis are immediately repudiated, they tend to remain on the shelf and become normalised, ready for use by future governments.

Victorians have been urged to immediately contact their upper house MPs and ask them to strongly oppose this legislation.

Image by The Advertiser.

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