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Dan Andrews calls protesters opposing his unprecedented pandemic laws ‘UGLY’

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has slammed the ‘disgusting’ protests outside Melbourne’s Parliament House that saw people wheel in a wooden gallows and hang an effigy of the Labor leader. 

The ‘small, ugly mob’ of protesters who spent another night occupying Victorian parliament’s steps will not stop the government’s proposed pandemic laws, Premier Andrews said.

His comments come as New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet revealed the state will put off any extension of emergency pandemic powers until next year, as protesters in Victoria rally over similar laws being considered by its parliament.  

A video posted on social media shows the protesters gathered around a wooden gallows chanting ‘Freedom’, ‘Traitor’, ‘Kill Dan Andrews’ and ‘Hang Dan Andrews’ while attempting to place the head of an inflatable doll of the premier through the noose.

‘I’ll not be deterred from the work I’m doing to keep every family safe,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

‘I wouldn’t want the the appalling, the disgusting and the potentially criminal behaviour of a small number of people to detract away from the amazing job that so many Victorians have done.’ 

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has slammed the ‘disgusting’ protests outside Melbourne’s Parliament House that saw people wheel in a wooden gallows

Anti-vaccine protesters wheeled a wooden gallows to the steps of Melbourne's Parliament House on Monday night to hang an effigy of Dan Andrews during a wild rally

Anti-vaccine protesters wheeled a wooden gallows to the steps of Melbourne’s Parliament House on Monday night to hang an effigy of Dan Andrews during a wild rally

One protester marched through Melbourne's CBD carrying nooses on Saturday - as a part of city-wide demonstrations that spanned several days

One protester marched through Melbourne’s CBD carrying nooses on Saturday – as a part of city-wide demonstrations that spanned several days

Hundry of angry Victorians turned-up to show their displeasure at the Andrews Government on Monday in Melbourne

Hundry of angry Victorians turned-up to show their displeasure at the Andrews Government on Monday in Melbourne

Dan Andrews' wife Catherine (pictured together) has spoken out for the first time after protesters threatened to hang her husband at widely condemned protests this week

Dan Andrews’ wife Catherine (pictured together) has spoken out for the first time after protesters threatened to hang her husband at widely condemned protests this week

Debate on the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill began in the upper house on Tuesday afternoon and went well into the night.

The bill has become a lightning rod for anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination groups, with hundreds of protesters planning to camp out on the steps of parliament for the duration of the debate. 

‘It is so unfair for a small, ugly mob to be taking attention away from the more than 90 per cent of Victorians who have had a first dose and will soon have had a second dose,’ he said.

The Premier’s wife, Catherine Andrews, took to Twitter to thank those who sent messages of support following several days of ugly demonstrations in Melbourne.  

Mrs Andrews took the vile threats in her stride, offering a classy response to the horrifying ordeal.

‘We have received so many beautiful messages today from all over. Thank you,’ she said.

‘We are reminded that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. As ever #IStandWithDan #GoHigh.’  

‘There are some people who are threatening me and my family. They are essentially attacking the safety of my family,’ Mr Andrews said Wednesday morning.

‘I will not be deterred from the work I’m doing to keep every family safe. There are some out there making threats against me, Kath and the kids, but that’s not my focus,’ he said before referring to the ‘small, ugly mob’.

‘It is awful, but it does not speak to the conduct of the majority. On their behalf I am offended this ugly behaviour might be taking the focus away from how much we achieved.’ 

'It is so unfair for a small, ugly mob to be taking attention away from the more than 90 per cent of Victorians who have had a first dose and will soon have had a second dose,' Mr Andrews said

‘It is so unfair for a small, ugly mob to be taking attention away from the more than 90 per cent of Victorians who have had a first dose and will soon have had a second dose,’ Mr Andrews said

Angry Victorians demand the end of Premier Daniel Andrews' bill during Monday's protests

Angry Victorians demand the end of Premier Daniel Andrews’ bill during Monday’s protests

QAnon posters and a Donald Trump flag were spotted among the group of protesters on Monday night as the wild scenes continued into the early hours of Tuesday

QAnon posters and a Donald Trump flag were spotted among the group of protesters on Monday night as the wild scenes continued into the early hours of Tuesday

He then took a shot at his political opponents, saying ‘politics is often about what you stand for and it’s always about who you stand with’. 

‘I don’t think those who are not ugly extremists who has been out on the front steps currying favour with extremists.

‘Imagine a premier of this state managing this pandemic behing beholden to extremists. That is scary.’ 

Conversations around the bill is on hold as the chamber deals with non-government business, but it is expected to resume on Thursday.

The laws would give the premier and health minister the power to declare a pandemic and make public health orders, is all but guaranteed to pass after the government made amendments to secure the support of three crossbench MPs.

Meanwhile, NSW premier has put off a call on extending the state’s emergency pandemic powers until next year, as protesters in Victoria rally over similar laws being considered by its parliament.

As the state nears 95 per cent double-dose vaccination, the NSW government this week considered a proposal for some emergency powers to be extended or amended.

Under the Public Health Act – passed in 2010 – the Health Minister Brad Hazzard can make broad public health orders, like those during the pandemic used to restrict gatherings, limit travel or mandate masks or vaccination in some settings.

It is understood Mr Hazzard, on behalf of Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, this week sought changes that would make it easier for the state to force quarantine or self-isolation on people exposed to COVID-19.

But Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Tuesday night he would defer the decision on extending or changing any of the state’s emergency pandemic powers until 2022.

‘Only the health provisions that need to be extended will be extended,’ Mr Perrottet said in a statement.

‘I will be carefully considering this matter over the summer break.’

Dominic Perrottet said on Tuesday night he would defer the decision on extending or changing any of the state's emergency pandemic powers until 2022

Dominic Perrottet said on Tuesday night he would defer the decision on extending or changing any of the state’s emergency pandemic powers until 2022

Mr Hazzard, on behalf of Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, this week sought changes that would make it easier for the state to force quarantine or self-isolation on people exposed to COVID-19

Mr Hazzard, on behalf of Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, this week sought changes that would make it easier for the state to force quarantine or self-isolation on people exposed to COVID-19

Mr Hazzard on Tuesday night rejected suggestions he was seeking to drastically expand the powers given to the health minister.

‘Far from granting additional powers, the powers are exactly the same as exist now and are simply tweaks on timing for two provisions in the massive Public Health Act,’ he said in a statement.

It comes as protesters in Victoria again camped outside their state’s parliament, which is currently considering a bill that would extend emergency powers.

The Victorian bill has become a lightning rod for anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination groups, with hundreds of protesters planning to occupy the steps of parliament for the duration of the debate.

Video posted on social media shows the protesters gathered around a wooden gallows chanting ‘Kill Dan Andrews’ and ‘Hang Dan Andrews’ while attempting to place the head of an inflatable doll of the premier through the noose.

Meanwhile, unions are fighting the NSW government’s plan to scrap automatic compensation coverage for workers exposed to COVID-19.

Mr Perrottet this week announced his intention to remove a provision in the Workers Compensation Act allowing for the presumption that frontline workers who test positive caught the virus while on duty.

Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey urged the government to abandon its repeal of the provision, arguing it would be almost impossible for workers to prove they contracted the virus at work.

Failing that, he is calling on crossbench MPs to ‘block the attack on workers’ rights’.

‘This is a mean and nasty piece of legislation that is saying to every worker that kept the economy going, ‘You are on your own’,’ he said.

Changes to the Bill will also restrict the government of the day from making public health orders which differentiate between groups of people (pictured, protesters outside the Victorian State Parliament on Monday)

Changes to the Bill will also restrict the government of the day from making public health orders which differentiate between groups of people (pictured, protesters outside the Victorian State Parliament on Monday)

'It is awful, but it does not speak to the conduct of the majority. On their behalf I am offended this ugly behaviour might be taking the focus away from how much we achieved'

‘It is awful, but it does not speak to the conduct of the majority. On their behalf I am offended this ugly behaviour might be taking the focus away from how much we achieved’

Images from the demonstration show hundreds of people singing and dancing outside the government building, holding placards and chanting against the Victorian premier

Images from the demonstration show hundreds of people singing and dancing outside the government building, holding placards and chanting against the Victorian premier

The government estimates keeping the protection could invite 25,000 extra claims over the next 12 months, forcing insurance premiums up by an average of $950.

COVID-19 claims could cost the workers compensation system as much as $638 million in the coming year.

Business NSW supports the repeal of the legislation, saying small businesses will be unable to defend unsubstantiated claims made against them.

NSW reported 212 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, along with two more deaths.

The state is creeping closer to its target of 95 per cent double-dose vaccination, with 94.2 per cent of people over 16 having had at least one jab.

More than 91 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

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