Daniel Andrews has been accused of turning Victoria into a ‘police state’ after he announced that residents will need permits to take their kids to childcare and go to work in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Liberal MPs have described the new rules as ‘terrifying’ and compared them to the harsh restrictions of apartheid South Africa and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, only workers in certain industries will be allowed to send their children to daycare and must apply for an Access to Childcare Permit to do so.
To get the permit, the parent must declare there is no-one in their household who can supervise their child and their boss must state they are employed in a permitted industry.
Also from Wednesday night, all workers that have to do their jobs outside of home will need permits to be allowed to travel to work.
The employer must declare the worker is needed on site and outline what tasks they will perform.
Huge fines of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses will apply to anyone caught breaking the rules.
Liberal MP for Brighton James Newbury said the new rules – combined with the 8pm until 5am curfew – meant Victoria has become a ‘police state’.
‘The Premier has imposed curfews and locked people into their homes,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Victorians now need permits to travel to work and, in a terrifying development, Daniel Andrews has introduced a permit system for our young children.
‘These decisions are disturbing and leave Victorians in no doubt that they are living in a police state.’
He said most people were doing the right thing and the permit system was not necessary.
Liberal upper house member Edward O’Donohue said work permits and curfews were ‘deeply troubling in a democracy.’
‘Such laws were the centre piece of apartheid South Africa and scores of totalitarian or fascist governments,’ he said.
‘For those who have fled such regimes, these laws will be deeply troubling.’
In South Africa, so-called pass laws were used to segregate the white and black populations by requiring citizens to carry pass books when outside a certain area.
They were repealed in 1986 as apartheid was unwound.
A police state is a system of government where a police force tightly controls and monitors citizens’ activities, often secretly.
Historic examples include Nazi Germany, policed by the SS, and the Soviet Union, policed by the KGB.
Melbourne has been in stage-four lockdown since Sunday with schools shut, weddings banned, and citizens restricted to within a 5km radius of their homes.
Between 8pm and 5am, residents are only allowed to leave their house for work and essential health, care or safety reasons.
Thousands of businesses including pubs and shops have been ordered to close from 11.59pm on Wednesday, putting 250,000 people out of work.
Premier Andrews said the restrictions were ‘essential to driving down movement’ to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The state reported a record 725 new cases and 15 new deaths on Wednesday.