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Premier responds to state of emergency backlash

1 month ago 18

The Premier has responded to fierce backlash over his move to extend Victoria’s state of emergency, saying harsh lockdown restrictions would not be in place for a day longer than they need to be.

“This is very much like an insurance policy,” Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday morning, while announcing a further 148 new infections and eight deaths overnight.

“We certainly hope that we don’t have to draw down on it. We hope that we don’t have to make a claim against it.

“These restrictions will be in place for not one day longer than they need to be. And the extension just brings us into line.”

Mr Andrews expressed his intent on Monday to introduce a bill to parliament where the state of emergency in Victoria would be extended until at least September next year.

The current state of emergency expires on September 13, 2020.

“We would be able to extend the state of emergency in four-week blocks, and there would need to be fresh advice and a fresh case mounted and we’d have to be – we would have to continue to reaffirm that that was the appropriate thing to do,” he said.

“This is not in relation to curfews. This is not in relation to Stage 4. These are many of the rules that we have had to become particularly familiar with, and they’re the sorts of rules that will be here, potentially, for a long time.

“Keeping your distance, washing your hands, staying in your own home if you’ve got this virus. I’d love to think that this virus would end on the 13th of next month. It’s not going to.”

Opposition leader Michael O’Brien blasted the move as a power grab.

“This is the act of a Premier whose power has gone to his head,” he said.

“Victorians deserve democracy, they deserve accountability, they deserve transparency but instead what we get from Daniel Andrews is another attempt to extend his power over the lives of Victorians.”

While Nationals leader Peter Walsh said he would not be supporting the extension.

“It’s a draconian move that should send a shiver down the spine of every Victorian,” he said.

“There’s a reason it’s (state of emergency) strictly limited to a maximum of six months – because no government should be able to write itself a blank cheque for extraordinary powers over Victorians’ lives and livelihoods.”

Seven of today’s eight deaths were connected to aged care, with two men in their 70s, four women and a man in their 80s and a woman in her 90s dying.

There are 617 Victorians in hospital and 35 in intensive care, while 4061 cases are from an unknown source and 475 healthcare workers remain infected.

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