Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Australia over the weekend to oppose the country’s overreaching vaccine coercion efforts.
According to local police, more than 20,000 Aussies marched throughout the city of Melbourne on Saturday, with thousands more protesting in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, and other cities across the country. Similar demonstrations also occurred last weekend as part of an international day of protest against COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
Demonstration in Melbourne, Australia against vaccine mandates for certain professions and a bill that gives exceptional powers to the government including the state of emergency and the imposition of new restrictions. pic.twitter.com/uBxRgBF44f
— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) November 27, 2021
In Melbourne, the pushback comes on the heels of the state government announcing a slew of new vaccine mandates and state-of-emergency laws that would dramatically expand the power of the Victorian government during a pandemic. According to Rebel News, “[T]he Daniel Andrews Labor Government in Victoria has proposed two years in jail or a $90,000 fine for anyone who ‘intentionally and recklessly’ violates a public health order related to the Covid pandemic.” Businesses would also be covered under the proposed legislation, with violators facing “fines of $455,000 for the same offence.”
Additional bills include provisions that would significantly empower the state’s premier and chief health officer during a pandemic. Under the proposed laws, the state premier would be given the power to make pandemic declarations and extend them for “three months at a time, with no outer limit on the total duration of a declaration.” The legislation would also permit the state health minister to sign off on public health orders, rather than the chief health officer, which would give the health minister “‘broad power’ to make orders where reasonably necessary to protect public health.”
“When you’re in this stage of this pandemic, you need to have a broader focus and that’s exactly what these new arrangements will underpin,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. “They also set us up, having learnt many things along the journey, for whatever that next pandemic might look like, whenever that might be into the future.”
Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy has come out against the proposed bills, saying the government is drafting “the most extreme” pandemic legislation of any state in the country.
“We see these laws as an incredible attack on democracy, usurping the parliament, usurping the cabinet process, which is what exists in New South Wales, and then allowing the Premier to effectively rule by decree, for months on end,” he said. “In short, this bill is the most extreme of its kinds that we’ve seen in Australia. While a pandemic requires different approaches, it doesn’t require a law as extreme as this.”
WATCH: Massive march against vaccine mandates and Covid restrictions in Melbourne.pic.twitter.com/Aui1ZcP8fM
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2021