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A new Bill being rushed through Parliament is set to dramatically expand the power of the Victorian state premier and his health minister, including the authority to place the state under lockdown almost unilaterally. A summary of the Bill obtained by media outlets The Age and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation revealed that while the proposed law is being pitched as taking steps to increase accountability, it also grants increased power to government ministers. Under the 112-page Public Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Management Bill 2021, the Victorian Minister for Health Martin Foley will, going forward, sign off on all public health orders. Currently, public health orders are used to give governments power to impose public health restrictions such as lockdowns, mask mandates, shutting businesses, and domestic border closures—previously, this was under the purview of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. The minister will also have the “broad power” to make pandemic orders where …