'Stay at home' - Do I have to comply with COVID orders?

19/10/2021 | 3 mins

Legal experts and practitioners from The University of Western Australia will examine the implications of governmental emergency measures during a public panel discussion later this month.

Ask the Experts panel discussion, COVID myth-busting: power, rights and the law will be held on Wednesday 27 October, from 5.30pm to 7pm at the UWA Law Lecture Theatre and live-streamed online.

In an attempt to contain virus spread as well as harmful economic and social impacts, governments around the world have harnessed their powers to impose extraordinary obligations on their citizens. From lockdowns, curfews and travel bans, to vaccine passports and tracking and tracing apps, we have become aware of and felt the effects of concentrated executive power every day.

In Australia, the extended use of these exceptional measures have been challenged on constitutional grounds. They have led to heated criticism by civil rights advocates, and a recent series of “freedom marches” across the country. 

Are our constitutional rights actually being subverted? What alterations to our social fabric are permissible under the law? How much faith can we have in conventional checks and balances?

Hosted by the UWA Public Policy Institute, UWA Law School and the Australian Association of Constitutional Law, the in-person and live-streamed event will dissect some of the controversies in this space and participants will have the opportunity to ask their most pressing questions.

Panel moderator and UWA Law School’s expert on constitutional law Professor Sarah Murray said it was important for people to understand the implications of governmental emergency measures.

 “In uncertain times like we are facing at the moment, the limits and checks on power are becoming particularly salient,’ Professor Murray said. “This panel line-up will allow the public to hear from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives on these measures.”

Associate Professor Meredith Blake will outline COVID’s effects on health law and ethics, while Dr Murray Wesson will answer questions on human rights law and your constitutional rights. Administration law expert Julie Falck will focus on discretion and transparency in executive decision-making.

The panel discussion will be followed by a public Q&A session, where you can ask the panel about social distancing, lockdowns, border closures, and more.

Register to attend in person or online, or if you’d like to be able to watch a recording on demand: bit.ly/PowerRightsLaw

Media references

Dr Rebecca Rey (UWA Public Policy Institute) 08 6488 4840            

Annelies Gartner (UWA Media Advisor) 08 6488 6876

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