The Lack of Proportionality in COVID-19 Decision-Making

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Many radical reminisce astir the past clip they were sitting connected a level to sojourn their favourite vacation destination.

In November 2021, the disruption to people’s lives volition participate its 20th month. During that time, Australia has witnessed the imposition of draconian restrictions, which impact superior violations of quality rights, and the emergence of authoritarianism with Australian characteristics.

Australian Commonwealth and authorities leaders are obsessed with numbers. As soon arsenic a fewer infections occur, preparations are made instantly for a lockdown due to the fact that they privation to prosecute a zero infections target.

This pursuit is arsenic fanciful arsenic it is unattainable arsenic the failed lockdowns successful New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria person demonstrated.

Like successful Europe, Australians volition yet person to larn to unrecorded with the virus.

In their pursuit of an unattainable zero infections rate—“zero” being an appealing fig successful politics, besides successful the discourse of Australia’s determination to prosecute zero c emissions— governments person been liable for the imposition of the astir intrusive authorities this state has ever seen.

Epoch Times Photo Police tackle demonstrators during a rally protesting the state’s strict lockdown laws successful Melbourne, Australia, connected Sept. 5, 2020. (WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Conor Friedersdorf, a writer from America, questions whether Australia is inactive a wide democracy erstwhile it “indefinitely forbids its citizens from leaving its borders, strands tens of thousands of its citizens abroad, puts strict rules connected intrastate travel, prohibits citizens from leaving location without an excuse from an authoritative authorities list, mandates masks adjacent erstwhile radical are outdoors, and socially distanced, deploys the subject to enforce those rules, bans protest, and arrests and fines dissenters.”

Of course, determination are capable commentators wrong Australia who reply Friedersdorf’s question successful the affirmative.

For example, Australian commentator Kevin Donnelly notes successful an article that, “Victorians person been refused the close to sojourn dying household and relatives, homes person been invaded by the police, tiny concern owners driven into bankruptcy, and students forced to larn arsenic champion they tin from location for weeks and weeks connected end.”

For sure, 1 is amazed by the absurdity of the regulations imposed by wellness administrations connected people.

These regulations are examples of capricious authoritarianism, with children prevented from visiting their dying parents, constabulary wrestling women to the ground, handcuffing a large pistillate successful her ain home, and strangers dobbing successful a erstwhile Prime Minister of Australia for not wearing a mask.

There is nary uncertainty that the pandemic managed to show an disfigured broadside of Australia.

Undoubtedly, the wellness bureaucracies of the Commonwealth and the states person adopted oppressive policies, arguably to safeguard the wellness of its citizens.

Epoch Times Photo Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media astatine the regular briefing successful Melbourne, Australia, connected Aug. 12, 2020. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

However, the unrelenting and inflexible usage of powerfulness has transformed Australia into a bureaucratic and illiberal state.

This translation disregards the rule of proportionality. According to this principle, authorities decisions should beryllium logically and cogently related to the objectives it wants to achieve, successful this case, the combat against the COVID-19 virus.

Measures that are disproportionate would truthful beryllium unnecessary and interruption this principle.

Of course, passim history, governments person overreached to woody with superior challenges.

For example, pursuing the Peterloo Massacre connected Aug. 16, 1819, the Parliament of the United Kingdom exceeded its legislative powerfulness by adopting the alleged Six Acts to forestall protests that called for extremist electoral reforms.

These acts were disproportionate and panic-stricken responses to the protests and abrogated people’s rights.

Why bash governmental leaders, careless of enactment affiliation, edifice to the adoption of disproportionate measures successful the pursuit of their aims?

One reply proffers itself: to amusement their electorate that they are beardown leaders. Such an attack to governing whitethorn good beryllium successful, astatine slightest temporarily.

CNN writer Luke McGee, aft noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled satellite leaders to tighten their grip connected power, expresses his concern that, “as the satellite comes to presumption with its mode of life, citizens go numb to what were initially utmost and bonzer measures.”

Epoch Times Photo A COVID-19 informing motion is seen astatine Bondi Beach successful Sydney, Australia, connected July 10, 2021. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

However, communal consciousness suggests, and acquisition confirms, that disproportionate measures are not indicative of beardown leadership.

Instead, lone a measured and proportionate effect to a situation exemplifies beardown leadership.

Australian governments, successful imposing intrusive COVID-19 restrictions connected people, routinely interruption the rule of proportionality.

Indeed, the governments’ powerfulness drawback has spawned the adoption of ludicrous, inconsistent, and incoherent regulations and misguided policies. It suffices conscionable to springiness immoderate examples.

The Queensland authorities keeps its borders unopen and refuses to let applicants—call them COVID-19 refugees—from NSW oregon Victoria to relocate to Queensland.

Queensland refuses to assistance these applicants support to participate the authorities connected the crushed that it excessively burdens the quarantine hotels.

Yet adjacent a cursory reappraisal of the 2 quarantine hotels connected the Gold Coast reveals that determination is important accommodation capableness for different applicants. But the nonstop fig of radical allowed to relocate to Queensland is shrouded successful mystery.

The sanctimonious and smug promises that the borderline mightiness beryllium re-opened successful clip for Christmas, oregon adjacent earlier for afloat vaccinated people, is an violative and disagreeable show of power.

During the past mates of days, the little location of the Victorian Parliament adopted extremist anti-democratic authorities to amended combat the COVID-19 pandemic and aboriginal pandemics.

Specifically, the projected authorities would let the premier to govern the authorities by decree without having to question the anterior support of parliament.

Epoch Times Photo A pistillate holds a banner during a protestation successful Melbourne, Australia, connected Oct. 30, 2021, to reason the Victorian governments pandemic legislation. (Supplied)

To that purpose, the authorities adjacent allows differentiation betwixt radical connected the crushed of their vaccine presumption portion claiming that the authorities is accordant with Victoria’s Charter of Rights. The Minister of Health would besides beryllium capable to marque wellness orders nether the projected bill.

The information is that erstwhile governments alteration arsenic mightiness hap eventually, these odious laws volition stay connected the statute book. It is uncertain that a caller authorities would person the capableness oregon the volition to repeal these laws.

Victoria’s absorption leader, Matthew Guy, has fixed an “absolute guarantee” that the Liberal Party volition repeal this authorities erstwhile it comes to power.

History volition uncover whether this committedness is simply a specified puff oregon a genuine effort astatine restoring parliamentary ideology successful Victoria, which respects the exertion of the rule of proportionality.

Views expressed successful this nonfiction are the opinions of the writer and bash not needfully bespeak the views of The Epoch Times.

Gabriël Moens


Gabriël A. Moens AM is an emeritus prof of instrumentality astatine the University of Queensland, and served arsenic pro vice-chancellor and dean astatine Murdoch University. In 2003, Moens was awarded the Australian Centenary Model by the premier curate for services to education. He has taught extensively crossed Australia, Asia, Europe, and the United States. Moens has precocious published novels arsenic good including, “A Twisted Choice,” and abbreviated story, “The Greedy Prospector” successful “The Outback” anthology (Boolarong Press, 2021).

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