COVID myth-busting: power, rights and the law

Public panel and Q&A event in the Law Lecture Theatre, The University of Western Australia, on Wednesday 27 October 2021. A collaboration between the UWA Public Policy Institute, UWA Law School and Australian Association of Constitutional Law.

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?

• Associate Professor Meredith Blake, health law and ethics
• Dr Murray Wesson, constitutional law and human rights law
Constitutional law expert Professor Sarah Murray moderated the discussion.

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