This opinion piece in The Echo argues that "at the bottom of every COVID-19 related rabbit hole ... is a conspiracy so vast, it is highly improbable. When you combine them, the hypothesis is so impossible it beggars’ rational belief."
It goes on to say: "Which means that every single cantankerous obstinate defence lawyer I know, and all the judges and magistrates, and the Council for Civil Liberties, and Legal Aid and the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Community Legal Centres and the Law Society and Bar Association are all wrong, and they know they are wrong, and they are suppressing a legal perspective that immediately liberates us all from these rules. And with no internal dissent. Really, what are the chances of that?"
Read the full article: The mathematics of delusion
Hosted by Julian Morrow, the Round Table on this week's Sunday Extra considered the hard questions about police powers during COVID. Highly restrictive health orders have become part of life over the past 18 months - with the focus now shifting to vaccines, have police powers gone too far? How much of the restrictions will and should be wound back?
Listen here: Sunday Extra 5 Sept '21 ABC Radio National from 2:26
The Guardian reports on an app being trialled in South Australia that uses facial recognition and geolocation to enforce home quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our Secretary Michelle Falstein told the Guardian that the lack of primary legislation underpinning apps of this kind has made it difficult to assess how privacy concerns are managed, how long data is being kept, who it’s shared with, and how it is stored.Read more
The Coast Community News examines the Government's COVID roadmap out of lockdown and talks to our President Pauline Wright about the current restrictions.
“While this deadly pandemic is still around," she said, "we do need to accept there are going to be some limits and we’re going to have to show that we have a licence to go about our business.
However, Wright said she was highly concerned over the range of ‘Stay at Home’ measures brought in by the NSW Government.Read more
The ABC's James Valentine considers the likelihood of Australia opening up once the vaccine rates climb high enough, and examines what privileges for the vaccinated will look like.
He talks to our President Pauline Wright (from 7 min), asking whether it's discrimination if a restaurant is open only to the vaccinated.
Pauline describes this as discrimination, but not unreasonable discrimination.
"We are used to certain kinds of discrimination being fine," she says. "For example, you would say only people who have a driver's licence can drive a car. That’s potentially discriminatory against people who don’t have a drivers licence, but it’s perfectly reasonable.
And that’s really what we’re talking about here. Our rights and freedoms aren’t absolute - we do have to take our rights and freedoms and compare them to other people’s rights and freedoms and balance that. So if I exercise my right and it has a terrible impact on your rights, then it’s not reasonable for me to be exercising that right in that way.”
For more: Afternoons with James Valentine, ABC Radio 30 Aug '21
The Law Society Journal asks: 'a ticket to freedom or a rubber-stamped restriction of our rights? As the debate rages about mandating vaccinations or incentivising those who get the jab done with exemptions from border closures and lockdowns, whose side is the law on?'
President Pauline Wright says: “Governments across Australia have the right under our Constitution to impose conditions about who passes their borders, including imposing health restrictions
and proof of vaccination.”
Full article: The tipping point: Are vaccine passports our ticket to ride? Law Society Journal 30 Sept '21
This article by Lamont Law, published on Lexology, begins with the case of a NSW truck driver who smuggled 145kg of cannabis across the QLD/NSW border.
It cites an Australian institute of Criminology report which found that:
- regular cannabis users reported using cannabis significantly more often than before the pandemic
- people who had changes in their employment, financial or living situation or mental health were more likely to increase cannabis use
- many users reported increased prices and decreasing numbers of dealers in Brisbane, Queensland
It considers sentencing for drug offences, planned reforms and our statement condemning a Bill that would provide police with extraordinary powers in circumstances where adequate powers currently exist to search and seize items related to drug activity.
Read the full article: Cannabis, Covid-19 and Drug Supply Lexology 27 Aug '21
This Sydney Morning Herald article talks to people fined $1000 for eating outside. It quotes NSWCCL President Pauline Wright, who points out that the Police Commissioner's assurance to police that he wouldn't hold them accountable for wrongly issued fines is “tacit acknowledgement that the rules are difficult to understand.”
“If the police can’t be expected to fully understand them, and it’s their job, how are ordinary people expected to understand and comply as well?” Ms Wright said.Read more
The Sydney Morning Herald writes that, in a video to the force, NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller asked officers to "put community policing to the side" for 21 days. He went on to say "I have said before, if you write a ticket, and you get it wrong, I understand, and I won’t hold you to account for that."
Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions and NSWCCL committee member and former President, Nicholas Cowdery QC, said while it was important all legitimate means be used to deal with the crisis, it was a “failure of leadership to tell officers in advance that if they get something wrong, there will be no consequences”.Read more
Writing for Mondaq, Paul Gregoire looks at our rights in the context of the current COVID lockdowns. He concludes that we have very few, with Australia the only western liberal democracy that "fails to have a piece of legislation that establishes and upholds the rights of the people".
Examining our failure to pass such legislation, he refers to former NSWCCL president Stephen Blanks, saying that an underlying reason for the major parties not being keen on passing such a bill is it would place restrictions on their power whilst in office.
Read the full article: Australia: The federal government does not want a national bill of rights Mondaq 5 Aug '21