Throughout the pandemic, the Greens have always supported an evidence-based and health-led response to the crisis, which includes listening to experts and giving the Chief Health Officer the ability to make decisions to keep us all safe.
There are still over 2,000 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria right now. We need to make sure these cases can be contained so we don’t have a third wave, and we can get back to visiting our friends and family and so businesses can open.
For these reasons, Greens Upper House MP Samantha Ratnam (who is currently on maternity leave) will attend Parliament today to vote for an extension of the Chief Health Officer’s powers by six months.
She will vote on the condition that this extension is for six months only, that it relates only to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the Health Minister makes health advice publicly available every four weeks and the Chief Health Officer briefs MPs on this advice.
The Greens understand how difficult the current lock-down is for Victorians. We know people are really struggling. From the very beginning of the pandemic we have campaigned for better support for groups in the community hit hard by the restrictions including renters, international students, business owners, people living alone, and for health workers to be better protected.
We will continue those efforts to make sure no one is left behind.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
"The Greens have always supported evidence-based public health advice. Right now, all politicians need to be working together to defeat this virus, and listening to the health experts.
"I wasn’t intending to attend Parliament this week, but this is a really important piece of legislation that means the Chief Health Officer can continue to quarantine COVID-positive cases and keep us all safe. I am pleased that the Government has listened to our concerns, and I will only vote for this Bill on the condition that it is only for six months, and that the Health Minister is required to make health advice publicly available every four weeks to be transparent with the community.
"The Greens have had productive conversations with the Health Minister recently and, along with other crossbenchers, have secured these important transparency and accountability conditions."
Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
"We fully understand that Victorians are struggling with lock-down, but with over 2,000 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, we need the Chief Health Officer to be able to contain these cases so we can get back to seeing our family and friends and so that businesses can re-open.
"From the very beginning of the pandemic we have campaigned for better support for groups in the community hit hard by the restrictions including renters, international students, business owners, people living alone, and for health workers to be better protected. We will keep advocating for you, to make sure no-one is left behind."