Western Australia Prime Minister Mark McGowan has been warned his Covid-19 border closure could be reversed
Why power-hungry prime ministers won’t have a chance to stick to hard border rules once Australia has hit an 80 percent vaccine rate?
- WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan has vowed to keep his border seal in place
- The Supreme Court ruled it was legal, in part because of a lack of vaccines and treatments
- Federal government warns Court may decide differently after vaccinations
Extremely cautious state prime ministers face the prospect of their border closures being declared illegal after 80 percent of Australians are vaccinated.
Mark McGowan, the Prime Minister of Hardline WA, has vowed to enforce his border ban to prevent Covid-19 from entering his state, even after vaccination thresholds are met that would allow easing restrictions under the national plan.
In November, mining billionaire Clive Palmer claimed WA’s border closure was unconstitutional and challenged it in the Supreme Court.
Mark McGowan (pictured with wife Sarah) has been warned his border closure could be lifted once 80 percent of Australians have been vaccinated
But judges ruled it was legal as a proportionate public health response, in part because of the lack of vaccines and treatments at the time.
Now Attorney General Michaelia Cash has warned that when 80 percent of Australians over 16 get vaccinated, states will find it harder to argue that border closures are warranted.
“Once you hit 80 percent, you’re in a fundamentally different position when you look at the issue of proportionality,” Senator Cash said. the Australian.
“Based on the reasons for that decision in that first case, and based on where we are now in terms of vaccine and vaccination rates, you would think that the grounds of any argument have now shifted.”
Chris Merritt, vice president of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia, has also argued that vaccines are a game-changer.
“McGowan’s win over Palmer was an aberration. It took place in circumstances that will never happen again,” he wrote in a statement the Australian last week, citing the lack of vaccines last year.
Police inspect cars at a border checkpoint on Indian Ocean Drive in WA in June
The battle centered on Section 92 of the Constitution, which provides for free movement throughout the Federation, which states, “Trade, commerce and interstate dealings, whether by means of internal transportation or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.”
However, the Supreme Court ruled that states can close their borders without violating the Constitution if the closure is proportionate and for a legitimate purpose.
WA argued there was “no alternative” to a border closure to stop the spread of Covid-19 and the Supreme Court accepted.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently pushed home quarantine for fully vaccinated as an alternative.
“The answer to future quarantine is basically home quarantine for Australians,” he said on Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, Mr Palmer announced he would launch a new Supreme Court lawsuit against WA over his policy of requiring residents returning from NSW to have had one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Mr McGowan does not want Sydney residents (pictured) to travel to his state due to high numbers of Covid cases
“By restricting the free movement of Australian citizens within Australia and creating an island-within-an-island, the WA Covid-19 eradication strategy is unconstitutional,” Mr Palmer said in a statement.
Section 117 of the Constitution says state governments must not discriminate against Australians because they are residents of other states.
“A subject of the Queen residing in one State shall not be subjected in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not apply to him in equal measure if he were a subject of the Queen residing in that other State ‘ it says. .
The federal government has urged cautious states such as Western Australia and Queensland to follow the national plan that will lift restrictions in stages when 70 and 80 percent are vaccinated.
Queensland has vowed to continue to suppress Covid, while WA and Tasmania have said they will maintain border closures.
What are the four stages of opening?
A. Vaccinating, preparing and testing (from 14 July)
Arrival caps halved to 3,035 per week; early, severe and short lockdowns if outbreaks occur; trials of seven-day home quarantine for vaccinated arrivals in South Australia; medicare vaccination certificates available in apps like Apple Wallet
B. Post-vaccination phase (when 70 percent will be stung, expected by the end of this year)
Lockdowns less likely but possible; vaccinated people face reduced disabilities; limits for unvaccinated arrivals increased; a larger limit for vaccinated arrivals with ‘reduced quarantine requirements’; limited entry for students and economic visa holders
C. Consolidation Phase (when 80 percent is pricked, time not announced)
Only ‘highly targeted’ lockdowns; lifting of all outbound travel restrictions for vaccinated travellers; no limits for vaccinated arrivals; increased limits for students and visa holders; more travel bubbles arise with countries like Singapore; booster shots rolled out
D. Final phase (percentage or time not disclosed)
Unlimited arrivals for vaccinated people without any quarantine and unlimited arrivals for unvaccinated people with pre-departure and on-arrival testing