The ACT Government Proposes Bill to Extend its Pandemic Powers

10 January 2022

2.1 MINS

Canberra residents are urged to make a submission to the inquiry about the ACT Government’s extended pandemic powers. If passed, the proposed Bill would give the territory considerable powers over Canberrans’ lives and bodies well into 2023.

Echoing last year’s Covid power grab by Dan Andrews, the ACT Government has introduced a bill to the territory’s Legislative Assembly that would require Canberrans to have a Covid-19 vaccination for work, a range of activities and attendance at venues.

Introduced late last year, the Public Health Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2) gives power to the Executive, the Minister for Health and the Chief Health Officer to issue public health directions even after the ACT is no longer under a Public Health Emergency.

What the Bill Would Mean For Canberrans

According to the explanatory statement released by the Andrew Barr Government, such directions would likely include industry vaccine mandates, vaccine passports for entry into public and private venues, and medical segregation in religious settings.

Given that over 99.5 per cent of ACT residents have already submitted to a Covid-19 injection, it can only be assumed that the territory’s Government is seeking such powers to mandate ‘booster’ shots into 2022 and beyond.

Commenting on the proposed legislation, Chief Minister Andrew Barr tacitly acknowledged that the ACT’s state of emergency could not be justifiably extended much longer — but that he wished to continue exercising the powers it grants his cabinet.

“It’s essential that we maintain the ability in the short to medium term to respond quickly to changing circumstances, such as fresh outbreaks or any emerging variants of concern,” he said. 

“That’s why the public health direction powers proposed in this Bill would continue to allow the ACT Government to implement test, trace, isolate and quarantine measures, as well as requirements for people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in some circumstances,” Barr added.

The Dangers and Limits of the Bill

The proposed law is considered a ‘Significant Bill’ under the ACT’s legislative framework, meaning that it requires more detailed consultation than regular laws due to its implications for the territory’s Human Rights Act (2004).

There are several notable limitations to the proposed bill. It does not give the Government the power to impose lockdowns or curfews, nor would it allow the executive to prevent businesses or activities from running.

Importantly, the legislation also has a built-in sunset clause. The Bill is specific to Covid-19 and would expire 18 months after it comes into effect. However, given that the ACT’s emergency declaration may yet be extended beyond the current 12th February 2022 deadline, that would grant considerable power to the Government over people’s lives and bodies well into 2023.

How ACT Residents Can Take Action

An inquiry into the bill is being held by the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing. Submissions can be made by members of the ACT public. The closing date is 5pm on the 14th January 2022.

Submissions are to be sent to (or by post, with details at this link). A guide for writing submissions can be found here.

Given that the Covid-19 vaccinations do not prevent transmission of the virus and pandemic powers exercised within Australia have led to considerable public suffering, we strongly encourage ACT residents to voice their opposition to this bill by making a submission.

Image by B2B Magazine.

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  1. David Findlay 11 January 2022 at 10:49 am - Reply

    So, you’re against policies that protect the sick, the vulnerable and the elderly, yet you call yourself Christian? Please explain

  2. Kaylene Emery 11 January 2022 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Thank you again Kurt.
    Given that we have elections in the not too distant future it would be good to have some direction in that area ? Personally I am daunted and yet I know the christian vote is going to be really important so if you et al can find time somehow… to explore /unpack/ our options for further discussion, debate, suggestions – I for one would be deeply grateful.

  3. Kaylene Emery 11 January 2022 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    Your point on booster shots being part of the unspoken rationale for extending pandemic powers is I believe, correct. Chilling and, correct.
    Even more chilling is that this does not surprise me but I have been following overseas news for the past 2 years. Had I not been – I might read a comment like my own as unthinkable and an article like this as out of line.
    As things stand I thank our Lord every day (many times throughout ) for His grace in opening my eyes and heart to what might otherwise be unbearable as I watch my beloved Australia become……..

  4. Jan Vagg 12 January 2022 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    The whole topic is enormous and is not helped by censorship of any view that does not fit with the governments ‘war time’ attitude that the public must hear one clear message. The trouble is that the one clear message is contradictory from one moment to the next. It is well-known that incoherent and inconsistent messaging has a tendency to freeze the mind, as does the constant promotion of fear and death.

    I have also been following overseas news and independent news sources. Sometimes it is difficult to sort the chaff from the wheat. Misinformation and deliberate disinformation is a hazard and an acknowledge tactic of what UK military now embrace as “hybrid war”, ie war that is neither on nor off, even on home territory. This is why at the outset of the pandemic the 77th Brigade was formed to monitor [and interact with?] social media in the UK .

    I had no idea that this legislation is proposed for the ACT, despite me being reasonably attentive to local media. I highly recommend, UK as an honest and reliable source of news, although even they need to be cautious of dishonest actors. We all need to be thinking for ourselves and doing our due diligence.

    I am very grateful to be informed of this not unexpected proposed legislation.

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