Open Letter to all Legislative Councillors in Victoria

re: Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021

5th Nov 2021
5th November 2021
 
We of the Informed Medical Options Party represent thousands of Australians. Our large membership base and supporters in Victoria and all other states stand for the right to refuse or choose medication (including COVID-19 vaccines) without coercion, discrimination, bullying or punishment.
 
We are appalled at how this bill was rushed through the lower house seemingly for the purpose of gaining unbridled power. Where was the consultation with the public? Just as important, if not more so, where was the customary consultation with the Victorian Bar?
 
Christopher Blanden, QC, President of the Bar, has pointed out in a letter to its members [1] that the ‘consultation’ claimed by the Minister for Health amounted to a brief reference in a brief group meeting, and that the Bar was never provided with a draft of the Bill. In that same letter he went on to state that the Bar had grave concerns about some of the contents of the Bill.
 
In a separate, open letter, 14 other barristers (all but one a Queen’s Counsel) have also expressed their deep concerns about it [2].
 
Drawing upon these two documents, other sources of political and legal criticism, and the Bill itself, we wish to bring to your attention the following major issues with the proposed legislation. If the Bill were passed:
  1. It would allow the government to rule the State of Victoria by decree, potentially long-term, without proper oversight, checks, balances or opportunity for review – and without ever having to seek approval from the Victorian Parliament.
  2. The Premier could declare a pandemic even if there were not a pandemic in Victoria.
  3. The Minister’s extremely broad powers would enable him/her to make ‘any’ (i.e. unlimited) health orders (indefinite detention, restrictions, medical testing or examination and much more) based solely on his/her subjective belief in their reasonable necessity, which orders would be practically impossible to challenge.
  4. Orders that target ‘specific classes’ of people would be allowed on the basis of their race, religion, political affiliation, gender or any of 14 other attributes.
  5. Non-compliance could lead to two years’ imprisonment or fines of up to $90,500; up to $452,500 for businesses [3].
  6. The legislation would confer very broad powers on police and also unelected and often low-level authorised officers.
  7. Both the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) and the Bill’s Independent Pandemic Management Advisory Committee would have very limited powers and, furthermore, would be largely or solely appointed by the Premier or Minister respectively.
There is more content of concern in the Bill and we urge you to read it in its entirety if you have not already done so [4]; also, the opinions of the Victorian barristers mentioned above [1], [2]. 
 
In short and in the words of the Victorian Bar’s President, this Bill would authorise “virtually unlimited interference with the liberties of Victorian citizens” and “represents the biggest challenge to the rule of law that this State has faced in decades.”
 
In our own words, the Bill is most certainly not in the best interest of Australians, but rather only in the interest of greed for power. Those in the medical field who speak out against government actions, such as the COVID Medical Network, are ignored, while those who are supportive of government are praised. Daniel Andrews seems to have only one objective and, therefore, this Bill is nothing but dangerous for the population of the State.
 
Given the chance, would Victorians have voted for such power?  As representatives of your constituents, we ask that you vote against this Bill.
 
Thank you for your consideration.
 
Michael O’Neill
Secretary
 
 
References:
  1. https://www.vicbar.com.au/news-events/public-health-and-wellbeing-pandemic-management-bill-2021
  2. 211028-Open-Letter-re-PHW-APM-Bill-2021-Vic-FINAL-1-1.pdf (theaustralian.com.au)
  3. https://www.spectator.com.au/2021/10/exclusive-assistant-attorney-general-daniel-andrews-pandemic-bill-must-not-pass/
  4. https://content.legislation.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/bills/591316bi1.pdf
 
 
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Authorised by M. O'Neill, The Informed Medical Options Party, 1755 Nulla Nulla Creek Rd, Bellbrook NSW 2440
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