Western Australians have been enjoying a semblance of freedom after Mark McGowan ended the Covid state border restrictions several months ago. Recently, mask mandates were also lifted from public transport.
On the surface, things seem to be going ‘back to normal’, however, the draconian state government has been busying itself by ramming new and even more shocking Covid legislation through Parliament, without much in the way of public scrutiny.
Why the lack of public oversight?
There has been an abysmal effort made by legacy media to cover a bill that seeks to amend the Emergency Management Act 2005 and the Public Health Act 2016 to confer even greater powers to the state, effectively bypassing ‘emergency declaration’ requirements.
More to the point, why is the McGowan government proposing even greater draconian legislation after the pandemic is considered to as be over by most of the world?
On September 20, 2022, Mark McGowan released a media statement effectively outlining his administration’s agenda to pass a bill to rewrite the existing coronavirus legislation.
Previously, the law indicated that coronavirus measures and mandates could only be implemented in accordance with what is permitted under an ‘emergency declaration’. An emergency declaration, while considered necessary in rare circumstances, has often been used by tyrannical governments abroad to introduce measures that would otherwise be deemed unlawful or ill-proportionate in a free and democratic society where inalienable rights are supposed to undergird society.
This bill (Emergency Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Bill 2022) seeks to override the need for an emergency declaration.
Why seek to override normal legal functions?
Mark McGowan’s failed health measures did nothing to stop a coronavirus outbreak, they merely delayed it. The border closures, breaches of Section 92 of the Constitution (which supports free movement), incessant mask mandates, and vaccination policies were ultimately pointless, as many predicted. In fact, they did nothing other than prolong natural immunity from developing within the population and completely halt the economy. It was government policy that devastated lives, shut down businesses, and gave several children myocarditis – not Covid.
Still, the McGowan government appears bent on enacting further restrictive legislation that permits ‘Covid officers’ to break into vehicles, trespass on property, and breach a host of privacy concerns all to stop a virus that has already demonstrated its imperviousness to mandates.
The proposed bill is a shocker, featuring a broad and vague language to confer as much authority to the state as possible with little concern for human rights and the livelihoods of citizens.
The bill was introduced into Parliament on September 21, just one day after the media statement was made, thereby restricting public oversight it what might be seen by some as an attempt to circumnavigate accountability.
Section 77 of the bill indicates powers to manage a pandemic can be exercised by an authorised Covid officer. The bill defines an officer to be a ‘state emergency coordinator’ or a person authorised under Section 77I, which include ‘a person to act as authorised Covid officers’ as deemed fit by the State Emergency Co-ordinator.
These Covid officers are also given a wide ambit of powers to manage a pandemic as ‘managing the pandemic’ includes the ‘prevention, control and abatement of risks associated with Covid (including, without limitation, risks to economic and psychosocial wellbeing).
What is psychosocial wellbeing? Does it extend passed the purely physiological problems associated with a pandemic? Vague language such as this can be extremely problematic in legislation, especially when it comes to enforcing policies. Furthermore, officers may ‘direct or, by direction, prohibit, the movement of persons and vehicles within, into, out of or around the declarations area of any part of the declaration area’. Section 77L of the bill therefore is a direct contradiction of the Constitution, at Section 92, which promotes free movement.
Federal legislation trumps state acts. Or is supposed to in theory.
If Section 77L is not bad enough, Section 77N indicates an officer can make a person ‘submit to infection prevention and control procedures within such reasonable period, and in such reasonable manner, as is specified by the officer’.
Section 77Q states that while a Covid declaration is in force, an authorised officer may take, or direct a person or a class of person to take, any action that the officer considers is reasonably necessary to prevent, control, or abate risks associated with Covid’.
This effectively relays broad powers for an officer to take ‘any action’ necessary to restrict a person. In theory, it would pave the way to effectively force vaccination should they think it is a reasonable action to take to prevent or control risks associated with Covid.
The state government has already indicated it is an enthused fan of vaccination as a ‘Covid deterrent’, and pays little regard to the scarce long-term side effects of vaccination, lack of sufficient studies justifying it as a safe protocol, or the fact the vaccines have been tied to organisations that conducted controversial gain-of-function research, including at the Wuhan Virology Lab where ample research now indicates the virus originated.
In short, the state government’s enthusiasm for draconian policies that previously failed to prevent an outbreak and did nothing other than damage our economy, is being amplified thanks to the new bill on the table which is set to pass due to a majority Labor government.
To what effect? The citizens of Western Australia are about to find out.
The law is supposed to be the one mechanism that prevents tyranny across history and outlines the limits of government power. When the government itself seeks to pass legislation to transfer even greater power onto themselves at the expense of basic human rights and dignity, the result is rarely good.
We saw how coronavirus measures cost lives across the country, during the last three years. Now that the pandemic is considered over, it is questionable why the state government is hell bent on shoving even worse legislation through Parliament which, if passed, will be in operation for the next two years.