‘Slow car crash’: Victorian premier to back down on state of emergency plan

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

The Andrews government has reportedly agreed to back down from its controversial 12-month State of Emergency extension, agreeing to put forward a potential six months instead.

It comes as the Australian Medical Association called for a royal commission into the Victorian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, branding the response “a slow car crash”, The Age reported.

AMA state president Julian Rait called such a move “necessary” in his submission to a state parliamentary inquiry into the Andrews Government response, which he believes has lacked transparency.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is set to revise his proposals for the state's State of Emergency legislation. Source: AAP
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is set to revise his proposals for the state's State of Emergency legislation. Source: AAP

He produced a long list of failures amid the pandemic, including hotel quarantine, the handling of aged care, misinformation and the delivering of key information to minority groups and allowing for the Black Lives Matter rally to go ahead.

Dr Rait also criticised the state government for alienating AMA members in its response, many who have regularly voiced concerns over a lack of urgency surrounding personal protective equipment.

On Tuesday, it was revealed up to 80 per cent of infected healthcare workers had acquired the virus at work, despite weeks earlier Premier Daniel Andrews claiming the majority had contracted COVID-19 elsewhere.

More than 600 staff at Frankston Hospital were in isolation on Wednesday after it was confirmed 44 staff had tested positive for coronavirus.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos after negotiations has agreed to reduce its potential 12-month State of Emergency extension to six in a bid to secure the vital votes of crossbench MPs to pass the legislation, The Age understands.

Mr Andrews has faced intense backlash for the proposal, which has been slammed as “extraordinarily overreaching and anti-democratic" by Victoria's shadow attorney-general Edward O'Donohue.

The move has also been a surprise of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who while refraining from criticising the proposal, said discussions were vital when “you don’t agree on everything”.

Mr Andrews has repeatedly stressed the move is simply an “insurance policy” and that the proposal doesn’t mean measures would necessarily last for 12 months.

On Wednesday, scores of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Dandenong, prompting at least one arrest.

A large police presence was deployed to contain the protest, with online video showing clashes between those failing to comply and officers.

Anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Dandenong on Wednesday. Source: 7News
Anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Dandenong on Wednesday. Source: 7News

Few wore face masks while social distancing was widely ignored, and current restrictions were breached.

Melburnians are currently in their four week of six weeks of Stage 4 restrictions.

On Thursday, Victoria recorded 23 more deaths while daily cases dropped to 113.

While the new daily infections total is the lowest since the peak of the second wave, the state’s daily deaths fail to show similar signs of falling with 87 deaths in the previous five days.

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