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Law Institute of Victoria urges members of parliament to take opportunity to get Pandemic Management Bill right

Law Institute of Victoria urges members of parliament to take opportunity to get Pandemic Management Bill right

By LIV Media

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The Law Institute of Victoria urges all members of parliament to take the opportunity to consider its suggested amendments to the Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management) Bill 2021 (‘the Bill’), following its adjournment of debate in parliament today.

LIV president Tania Wolff said the adjournment of debate represented a critical opportunity for parliament to take the time to ensure the Bill is fit for purpose.

“As the LIV has said from the outset, there needs to be independent oversight and scrutiny of the powers conferred in the Bill. There also needs to be provision for accessible merits review of detention orders. We have made a number of recommendations as to how the Bill can and should be improved. We encourage members of parliament to use this opportunity to make the Bill fit for purpose, not just for now, but the future, for the benefit of all Victorians.”

The LIV released its position paper on the Bill on Wednesday 10 November, which outlined 32 recommendations in full.

While the LIV acknowledged proposed amendments to the Bill announced earlier this week, it maintains more needs to be done.

“The amendments announced earlier this week are a step in the right direction, but now we can take more time to ensure the Bill that will be passed through parliament meets the needs of the community,” Ms Wolff said.

Key recommendations the LIV would like to see adopted in further amendments include:

  • effective, independent and properly resourced oversight and scrutiny of the use and exercise of the powers under the Bill, such as by the Ombudsman
  • accessible external merits review of all decisions relating to detention and that VCAT be given jurisdiction
  • the Bill should not include terms of imprisonment
  • the privilege against self-incrimination should not be abrogated, and
  • there needs to be stricter controls on the use of information gathered for public health purposes to protect individual privacy.

 


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