Long list of judges, law professors and QCs write to Andrews Government over draconian detention laws
Here's the Bill
And here's the letter.
We are deeply concerned by the passage of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2020 (Bill) through the Legislative Assembly.
Emergency powers already allow authorised officers under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) to detain people and to restrict movement.
The Bill would expand the emergency powers to allow an authorised officer to detain:
• any person that the authorised officer reasonably believes is likely to fail to comply with an emergency direction and is a close contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 (or a person diagnosed with COVID-19) not given clearance from self-isolation;
• for so long as the authorised officer reasonably believes the person in detention is likely to fail to comply with an emergency direction.
The Bill would also allow any person the Secretary considered appropriate to be authorised to exercise emergency powers. There would be no requirement that persons authorised be police officers, or even public servants.
Authorising citizens to detain their fellow citizens on the basis of a belief that the detained person is unlikely to comply with emergency directions by the “authorised” citizens is unprecedented, excessive and open to abuse.
We call on the Legislative Council to amend the Bill, or to vote against it.
MICHAEL MCHUGH AC QC
PETER HEEREY AM QC
NEIL YOUNG QC
JAMES PETERS AM QC
PETER COLLINSON QC
MARYANNE LOUGHNAN QC
MARY ANNE HARTLEY QC
PHILIP CRUTCHFIELD QC
GEORGINA SCHOFF QC
PHILIP SOLOMON QC
DAVID BATT QC
STUART WOOD AM QC
FELICITY GERRY QC
MICHAEL BORSKY QC