The project: QLD and WA face legal problem beyond borders
If relatively Covid-free Australian states do not open up to the rest of Australia soon, they risk a very unusual problem, according to an expert.
The two states are in no rush to open their borders, but Queensland and Western Australia could find themselves vulnerable to unprecedented legal woes as the rest of Australia embraces ‘Normal Covid’ in the months to come. to come.
In an interview on Sunday projectConstitutionalist Professor Kim Rubenstein said anyone aggrieved by states’ refusal to open their borders could have grounds for prosecution.
“Anyone who is affected by these restrictions and who can demonstrate that it is a disproportionate burden on trade [could mount legal action],” she said.
“So if he can show that he’s in fact protecting one state over the other, without a legitimate or proportionate response, then he’s really ready to be challenged. And we can actually see it in front of us. “
Professor Rubenstein explained that Australia’s constitution “was driven by the desire to travel freely across the country. The colonies found it difficult to have barriers around trade. Section 92 was placed there to discourage restrictions on travel to Australia.
Professor Rubenstein said the court would consider “whether these restrictions are necessary for the purposes they seek to achieve in terms of protecting health.”
If they are found to be in default, the state could be much more “vulnerable” to legal action.
This week Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk came under fire when she dashed hopes for interstate meetings for Christmas whether or not vaccination targets are met.
“The reason we have strict border measures in place is that there is currently a massive epidemic in NSW and Victoria and their hospitals are going to be overwhelmed,” she said, refusing to answer questions about when these border measures could be implemented. relaxed or lifted.
Also in the same Sunday project segment, epidemiologist Dr Catherine Bennett said lower vaccination rates in both states – which have dipped more in remote regional areas – would also delay them opening their borders.
“A very cautious approach to opening borders gives relief to people who get vaccinated. It is becoming a done deal – you are unlikely to reach the vaccination levels necessary to be able to open safely, ”she said.
Only 63% of eligible Queenslanders and Western Australians received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, compared to 85% of eligible adults in New South Wales.