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Where is the line on COVID-19 emergency measures?

Rights Rights and Freedoms
Visiting grandma Covid-safely

The Federal Court of Australia lists all the Federal, State and Territory legislation that has been changed or enacted since the start of COVID-19 on its website here.

Law firm King & Wood Mallesons has also produced a very useful table of all the COVID-19 measures – Federal, State and Territory – which is updated regularly. You can download a copy on their website here.

  • Further detail

    “[I]t is not sufficient that the restrictions serve the permissible purposes; they must also be necessary to protect them.” – UN Human Rights Committee.

    When making a decision about whether a measure is proportionate or not, International human rights law uses ‘the principle of proportionality’. The principle of proportionality is whether the ‘public interest’ achieved by the measure outweighs the limitations it places on people’s individual human rights. 

    In other words, a worldwide pandemic could threaten many lives and have large, long-lasting public health impacts – so the need to combat this threat could justify more significant limitations on human rights than a measure designed to combat a less serious threat to the community.

    One test is whether the measure being imposed is the only possible one that would work, or the least restrictive one that could achieve the desired outcome.  

You can make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission if you have experienced discrimination, harassment and bullying based on your age (young or old), disability, race, sex, gender identity, intersex status, sexual orientation, sexual preference.

You can also make a complaint to the Commission if you have experienced discrimination, harassment and bullying while in employment only based on your criminal record, trade union activity, political opinion, religion or social origin (in employment only).

We can also investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints about alleged breaches of human rights against the Commonwealth and its agencies.

Find out more about the Commission’s complaints process.