Let’s just say I’m a power-hungry psychopath intent on passing legislation to make me Dictator for Life. Not pointing the finger at anyone in particular.
I would draft legislation which gives me the ability to declare an emergency for no reason whatsoever. Said emergency would give me unlimited emergency powers.
When drafting the legislation, I would consult “experts” I knew would give me the answers I was looking for while avoiding asking the working class – whom I was ostensibly elected to represent – for their thoughts. I would do this so I could give the appearance of having consulted widely.
I would ensure said legislation was the size of a beer slab and I would plonk it on the opposition’s desk just hours before it was due to be voted on. Then I would use sheer weight of numbers to push the legislation through parliament:
Victorian politicians have screamed at each other and yelled insults across the table during a heated discussion over proposed pandemic laws that are set to bring unprecedented powers to the Victorian Premier and Health Minister if passed this week.
Premier Daniel Andrews was labelled a “dictator” during the chaotic screaming match between Labor and Liberal politicians amid a push to delay debate of the new pandemic powers the government is hoping to rush through parliament over three days this week.
The proposed laws, introduced to state parliament on Tuesday, would give the Premier power to declare a pandemic for three months at a time and allow Health Minister Martin Foley to sign off on public health orders without the approval of the chief health officer.
It was an ingenious idea to use the excuse for 21 months that we were just following the directions of the Chief Health Officer. The whole time we were just telling him what to say, writing documents for him and getting him to sign off on them for us. But the ruse meant that we had to put him in front of the cameras from time to time and he’s not really as good a bullshit artist as I am. So I figured, why not just give the job to someone better suited for it?
The legislation has angered opposition MPs, who claim they haven’t been given enough time to scrutinise the details.
Parliament descended into chaos on Wednesday as MPs quarrelled over the rushed legislation, with shadow attorney-general Tim Smith calling the legislation a disgrace.
“This is nonsensical, it’s an abuse of power,” Mr Smith said.
“It’s a disgraceful mistreatment of our democratic traditions giving the dictator dictatorial powers and you think that’s great. You think it’s absolutely fantastic giving the dictator the ability to rule by decree.”
Mr Smith said he was “outraged” the government was attempting to push the legislation through in two days.
“Why would you not let this be debated both in this place and the public realm for two weeks like usual?” he asked.
“What have you got to hide with regards to this legislation?”
Opposition MP Louise Staley labelled the 113-page document outrageous, calling for the debate to be adjourned until the scrutiny of acts and regulations committee could look over the proposed laws.
“It’s bad enough that they’re trashing democracy with the way that they’re handling this Bill in this place, but it’s doubly bad they’re doing it in a Bill that directly goes against the human rights of Victorians,” Ms Staley said.
“This Bill is the largest I’ve ever seen, and to be brought into this place and then be told they will be debating it later this day is a complete and utter assault on democracy.”
When the opposition understandably goes through the roof, I would get one of my underlings to label them as “hysterical” and portray myself as calm and evenhanded.
Labor’s leader in the Legislative Assembly Jacinta Allan blamed the opposition for promoting hysteria within the community and said the Bill had been through rigorous consultation.
“I think we’ve seen in the last couple of days the hysteria metre dial in the opposition rooms has been ratcheted up to a whole new notch,” she said.
“Just after 2018 you didn’t think it could get anymore hysterical. Well, 2021 has brought a whole new level of hysteria. A whole new level of misinformation and deliberate base politicking on one of the most important things we have to consider in terms of how we protect the Victorian community into the future.
Then I would accuse the opposition of politicising the entire thing in a neat little game of projection. After all, I was the one who created the supposed crisis then used the crisis as a pretext with which to give myself unlimited power:
Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday accused his critics of playing political games and denied he was being given too much power.
“Some people have been playing politics with this every day the last 21 months,” he said.
“But that does not work against the virus nor does it repair the damage done to us. I won’t be engaging in those political games now.”
And Bob’s your uncle. I’m Dictator for Life.