Chip Le Grand asks whether in our singular determination to protect life from the spread of a virus, we were at risk of losing something just as precious.
This opinion piece for The Age quotes our Victorian sister organisation"
"Liberty Victoria president Julia Kretzenbacher says the pandemic has exposed the weakness of Australia’s human rights protections and the toothless nature of Victoria’s 15-year-old human rights charter, which doesn’t enable individuals to sue for damages when their human rights are unlawfully breached."
"Kretzenbacher says a central problem with the Victorian government’s public health response is the lack of transparency surrounding its decisions and their compatibility with human rights. She says it is difficult to draw a line between public health orders which are reasonable and those which are not because of the lack of information made publicly available about them."
It also notes that "The NSW Council of Civil Liberties has also warned about the overreach and disproportionality of stay-at-home orders imposed on some of Sydney’s most ethnically diverse suburbs".
Read the full article: Freedom, interrupted: Will the liberties we lost to COVID be regained?
Channel 10 considers the road map out of lockdown, looking at planned restrictions on unvaccinated people.
Our President Pauline Wright called for rapid testing: “If [people] can prove that they are covid free they should be able to go about their normal business just as you or I can”.
She also commented that, while restrictions on the unvaccinated are legal for now, “when they cease to be proportionate, if they outlast the crisis and outlast the threat, then that might not be the case any more.”
More: view the Channel 10 coverage. The content we linked to is no longer available
Four academics writing in The Conversation criticised Mark Latham's report into his own bill saying that the "inquiry ignores scientific research in supporting changes to the Education Act. These changes are likely to add to the risks of harm that transgender and gender-diverse young people face".
The piece quoted our Tweet stream calling out the inquiry and commending the minority report rather than the majority.
Full article: NSW inquiry rejects expert advice on Parental Rights Bill, and it will cause students to suffer The Conversation 14 Sept '21
SBS News covered Common Ground Towers residents' protest against 'overpolicing' on Saturday after revelations that officers were searching packages and confiscating alcohol under the direction of NSW Health.
The coverage quoted the open letter we signed with Amnesty International, Legal Observers NSW, Tenants Union NSW, Shelter NSW and Melbourne Activist Legal Support condemning "the inappropriate policing and unlawful searches imposed on residents of Common Ground in Camperdown".
Read the full article: Sydney social housing towers residents protest 'overpolicing' SBS News 11 Sept '21
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