The Omnibus Bill
There has been a myriad of drama over the Victorian Government's much maligned "omnibus" bill. So we want to give you a bit of history about it, expose some facts about the bill and how you've been lied to.
First off, what is an "Omnibus" bill?
An onmibus bill is a bill that changes a myriad of little things at once, they consist mainly of minor administrative changes that needs an act of parliament to affect the change i.e. clarifying small typos or unintended interpretations of acts. Most bills presented are omnibus in nature if there are many changes to other acts but few have "omnibus" in the bill title.
The bill in question was the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Act 2020, this bill is designed to be an improvement of the original COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 passed by all parties in April this year.
However in this bill there were two changes we absolutely opposed:
-Expansion of Authorised powers
These sections of the bill, we believe, were totally over the top and unnecessary and while they stood part of the bill we would oppose it. Jeff even spoke to 3AW's Neil Mitchell saying the Government "could offer him Victoria" but as the bill stood he would not support it.
Myth 1- "The bill extends the lockdown"
Fact: Legislated power enforcing the lockdown of Victorians was in the "state of emergency" bill we opposed
Myth 2- "Authorised officers can detain me without a court order"
Fact: Jeff successfully campaigned to have these sections of the bill removed and their powers limited
Myth 3- "anyone can become an Authorised Officer"
Face: Jeff again sucessfully campaigned to have the Authorised officer parameters tightened (even further) so those with relevant experience can become AO's
Myth 4- "the government will absolve itself of workplace manslaughter legislation"
Fact: There is no part of the bill that changed the current Workplace manslaughter laws
Myth 5- " They're going to take children away from families"
Fact: This bill acutally did the opposite. Parents now have an extension of time to complete training and programs required to get their children back out of care, in light of these courses being suspended
But as the week went on we started to see a pattern of misinformation from groups wanting to derail the bill.
So we're going to dispose of these myths.
So with these lies exposed we will now go on to the parts of the bill that actually helped people
1. Provided an extension of time for people on workcover benefits to complete "return to work" programs so they can continue to receive workcover payments.
2. Provides the courts the powers to continue to have "judge only trials" keeping the courts system going
3. Extends the registrations of TAFE's, Teachers and RTO's
4. Provides Parliamentary committees and the parliament with the resources and funding to continue
These are just some of the changes that were in the bill, it actually helped more people than hinder and the blatant misinformation being peddled around was a purely partisan political game.
If you want to read the bill for yourself you can follow this link here