Flat White

How Canberra can open the borders of the corona crazed states

28 October 2021

5:03 PM

28 October 2021

5:03 PM

It seems as if the latest in-house polls have told Daniel Andrews that he is going to lose. With losing something that he can’t deal with, the rumours have now started to spread that he intends to take absolute control of Victoria and, under the guise of being motivated to protect the State from covid, Dictator Dan wants to pass sweeping new emergency power laws to replace the ones that will expire in December. 

Under the new laws, Victorians who break the rules could be fined over $90,000 and businesses, over $450,000. The rules under consideration “could include not wearing a mask, breaking a movement limit, attending an illegal protest or a gathering, refusing to get tested or failing to show ID.”

Looking around the country, what we see are two mad male Premiers in Victoria and Western Australia and one mad female Premier from Queensland exercising powers to lock down the population while making allowances for their friends. Did you notice that it is the ALP always revert to dictatorship when people object? 

In Victoria, during the height of the covid crisis, Black Lives Matter activists were allowed to riot in Melbourne while Daniel Andrews personal bodyguard, the Victorian Police, stood by and made sure that nobody interfered. In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ordained that while the rest of us were confined to quarters, football players from all different codes were welcomed into the state to play. 

If his bolshevik tendencies were ever doubted, Andrews has finally removed that doubt with his latest grab for absolute powers. The question is whether the trade union movement, which has kept him in power despite his multiple indiscretions, will abandon him so that his colleagues can remove him, or advise him to resign through ill health. After all, he did fall on his head when he tumbled down those stairs.

If you thought I was joking, you are of course correct. That idea is just wishful thinking.

The problem goes all the way back to Scott Morrison’s co-operative federalism, where everyone, the States and the Federal government all get together in a meeting and like the jolly old book club it sounds like, decide co-operatively on what they will read next, even while one of their members is burning all the books. 

I don’t want to be the one to advise Morrison, but this is what he should have done at the beginning of the year. He can still enact a law under s. 51(1) of the Constitution to ensure that Australia’s intra-state borders are open to all travellers and that States are not able to impose lock-downs. It might end up before the High Court, but it should win. After all, that was the original purpose of section 51(1), to ensure that the absolute freedom of section 92 was maintained.  Had the Commonwealth acted even earlier, I would bet that Clive Palmer would have been in sitting Western Australia having tea and scones with Mark McGowan.

The final exercise of Commonwealth power would involve legislating under the Commonwealth’s quarantine power, section 51(ix) of the Constitution, rendering inconsistent State laws invalid. That would be the end of Daniel’s, Annastacia’s and Mark’s obscene posturing. It would also of course mean the end of cooperative federalism; but it would also mean the rise of what might turn out to be a true federal scheme, as Viscount Haldane described our Constitution for the Privy Council. 

The Constitution was designed to protect the federation. Why doesn’t anyone use it properly?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments