An Australian court has rejected a challenge to the federal government’s power to prevent its citizens and permannet residents from leaving the country so that they don’t bring COVID-19 home under the powerful Biosecurity Act.
Australia allows its citizens and permanent residents from leaving the country only in “exceptional circumstances” and with eveidence of a “compelling reason.”
LibertyWorks has argued before the full bench of the Federal Court in early May that Health Minister Greg Hunt did not have the power to legally enforce the travel ban.
LibertyWorks statement said:
“With 30% of Aussies born in another country, it’s cruel punishment to prevent travel for such things as being with loved ones, attending funerals or experiencing the birth of a new family member. And preventing outbound travel poses no threat to Australians remaining behind. It’s time to end this cruel legislation now.”
They further argued that all Australians have a right to leave their country under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Australia had ratified.
Justices Anna Katzmann, Michael Wigney and Thomas Thawley dismissed the application and ordered Libertyworks to pay the commonwealth’s costs.
The three judges ruled that submission was based on the “erroneous premise that the right is absolute.”
Further, the judges said in their ruling that that interpretation of the law would frustrate Parliament’s clear intentions when lawmakers created the emergency powers in the Biosecurity Act in 2015.
“It may be accepted that the travel restrictions are harsh. It may also be accepted that they intrude upon individual rights. But Parliament was aware of that.”
Most critics of the Australian travel ban argue that decisions on who can travel and why are inconsistent and lack transparency.
The case is the fourth failed challenge to Australia’s coronavirus restrictions.