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The Victorian parliament will debate this week a new emergency bill to combat lockdown dissent, breaking the bounds of what is usually considered acceptable in a Western-influenced democracy.
The emergency bill would give the police the authority to arrest anyone if they suspect that they may do something illegal in the future; in other words a “pre-crime.”
During this coming week, the Victorian State Parliament will be debating the bill that allows authorities to apprehend people they consider to be “dangerous” during coronavirus lockdowns.
This group of people is supposedly made up of those who refuse to comply with the lockdown rules (such as the use of a face mask), those who go online to call for public protests to revoke these measures, and even those who are in charge of propagating “conspiracy theories” about the virus on social media.
The COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) bill would also apply to people who are mentally incapacitated or under the influence of drugs. Regardless of the case, all people detained following this mandate would be transferred to special quarantine facilities to avoid contact with other citizens.
There is a fear that this new law will serve to further control the Australian people, who have already this year faced a loss of civil liberties unprecedented in modern times. Victoria has been known to arrest citizens over their Facebook posts during the lockdowns.
Since the authorities will only need to think that an individual poses a future danger to be able to apprehend them, this new police capacity would be used oppressively.
Today, the parliament is already facing pushback for its recent authoritarian streak that increasingly limits its citizens’ free speech. Some news portals have even ensured that this bill is a way for the state to recover a narrative that is less and less credible.
Since COVID-19 broke out globally, Victoria police has arrested people for covering the news that does not come from official sources, or for simply sharing information on social media about the coronavirus that is not approved by authorities.
Even reporters have been targets of this censorship since they can be arrested if they are seen covering a protest against the lockdowns.
It should be remembered that currently the Victorian police already have the power to enter people’s homes without prior notice to carry out arrests.