The decision came after a marathon sitting overnight.
After a marathon late-night sitting overnight, a law change to extend Victoria’s state of emergency has passed the state’s Upper House, clearing the way for the Victorian government to proceed with its pandemic response for up to a further six months.
The current state of emergency was set to expire on Sunday September 13, so from this date moving forward, Premier Daniel Andrews and his government are poised to have the power to continue enforcing public health protections such as mandatory face coverings and the current and past restrictions that have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The sitting extended from Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, as a long debate saw 20 MPs vote in favour of the bill, with 19 voting against it. In a surprise decision, Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam returned from maternity leave to throw her hat in the ring, herself voting in favour of the amendments.
Others to have voted in favour of the six-month extension included Reason Party’s Fiona Patten and Animal Justice Party’s Andy Meddick. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos offered her own support of the way the sitting was conducted via Twitter.
Thankyou to all Government MPs & to @AndyMeddickMP @FionaPattenMLC & @SamanthaRatnam who put public health above politics & voted to allow a declaration of a State of Emergency to continue for another 6 months if necessary to protect Victorians from #COVID19 #springst
— Jenny Mikakos MP #StayHomeSaveLives (@JennyMikakos) September 1, 2020
The decision comes after the state government recently announced that on Sunday September 6, it would be announcing its plan to transitioning Victoria out of its current lockdown. As part of this, the government is consulting with a range of health experts, industries, unions and community organisations to develop what they are calling a ‘COVID Normal’ roadmap.
The plan aims to provide clarity and certainty for Victorians and will outline how businesses and workplaces operate across all industries post-lockdown.
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