On 16 June 2021, right in the middle of ‘Budget Week’, the Minister for Health, Yvette D’Ath, tabled a new Bill extending the Public Health Emergency Response measures from 30 September 2021 to 30 April 2022.
The Public Health and Other Legislation (Further Extension of Expiring Provisions) Amendment Bill 2021 extends a range of emergency measures, including the extraordinary powers of the Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young.
These powers include the ability to impose restrictions on the free movement of citizens, their ability to travel, conduct a business, attend school, church or sport, as well as the power to issue mandates on mask wearing, social distancing rules, the numbers of persons who can gather at any one time, border closures, area lockdowns and quarantine mandates.
The Bill also extends emergency measures, and creates new ones, for the care of mental health patients and persons with cognitive or intellectual disability, the operation of prisons and youth detention centres and related measures.
As far as I have been able to tell, no mention of the Bill, its contents or tabling last Wednesday has received a single mention in the media or state legal bodies.
This is surprising. By 30 April 2022, Queenslanders will have been living under ‘state of emergency’ conditions for more than two years, with every chance the date will be extended yet again, judging on past experience.
This is something that warrants public discussion, if not debate, I would have thought.
From the time Queenslanders were first told we needed a ‘short, sharp lockdown’ to ‘flatten the curve’, the Government has released no ‘exit strategy’ or ‘roadmap’ for a way out of the current ‘emergency’ conditions – an ‘emergency’ which many agree, is starting to look ominously permanent.
The Bill was referred to the Health Committee by the Minister in the Speech, however it appears the Bill did not go to the Health Committee, of which I am a member, but appears instead on the list for the Economics and Governance Committee.
The Committee is due to report back to Parliament by 6 August 2021, and has called for submissions on the Bill by 5pm on Wednesday 7 July 2021, so only a week from today.
I hope as many people as possible will lodge a submission on the Bill, if for no other reason than to let the Government know that some Queenslanders ARE still paying attention, and even some who continue to believe in out-dated democratic principles like the need for public debate, transparency and accountable government.
Send your submission to Email: egc@parliament.qld.gov.au
Or Post to:
Committee Secretary
Economics and Governance Committee
Parliament House
George Street
Brisbane Qld 4000
Submissions must include your full name and at least two of the following:
o mailing address
o email address
o daytime telephone number.
Further details can be found at the Economics and Governance Website:
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