At what time should police and authorities judiciously reconsider the hastily-drafted travel bans that have promoted a police state and are heightening the public’s anxiety and depression?
The current Draconian laws across each state have apparent sunset classes, but can be extended, as we have already seen overseas.
However, as “the infection curve” is now flattening in Australia, should people be allowed to exercise their liberty, use their commonsense and pursue harmless, non-contact hobbies and sports that can be practised in ones and twos?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Source: Our World In Data)
They could include, but not be limited to, golfing, fishing, boating, hiking, surfing and, of course, motorcycling, so long as they are also practising good hygiene and personal distancing.
After all, why should the long-term mental fitness of all be jeopardised by criminal laws directed at the inconsiderate behaviour of a minority?
All laws and rules have updates, modifications and amendments, so why not these hastily drafted travel restrictions?
How about a gradual easing of restrictions, to stem this jackboot culture where police harass and fine citizens without warning for sitting on park benches, mums teaching their kids to drive or riders go for a solo ride through the hills?
How about giving us the benefit of having some commonsense like they do in Sweden? Rather than the government telling people what to do or fining them, they are asking Swedes to do the right thing, and giving them the liberty to prove they are responsible citizens.
Unfortunately, appealing to the Swedes’ sense of doing the right thing hasn’t worked and the government is now planning tighter measures.
Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Norway are opening up from lockdown as cases have greatly dropped. It will be interesting to see how their infection curve develops.
Sunset clause on travel bans
MBW asks a police officer about the travel restrictions
The various travel bans around the country seem to have “sunset clauses”.
In NSW, the Police Commissioner says the bans will be in place “at least until the end of June”. But he didn’t rule out a continuation of the bans at that time.
(By the way, how did the police suddenly get legislative powers to make and amend laws?)
Queensland’s home confinement direction is in place “until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced”.
So there really is no guaranteed sunset clause written into the laws.
When do the laws end and what is the mechanism for winding them back?
Obviously the sooner we respond to staying home and getting the infection curve flattened, the sooner we may quash this Orwellian Big Brother state.
Or could we end up with a long-term or permanent erosion of our civil liberties as we witnessed with the introduction of Draconian anti-terrorism laws after 9/11?
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 still exists and has been the source of much government abuse and overreaching.
The 300-page Act sailed through US Congress seven weeks after the attacks with scant dissent; just like our hastily drawn-up pandemic restrictions.
Already these rules have resulted in police harassing innocent Australians doing such “criminal” behaviour as sunbathing in a park a healthy distance from other people.
We can imagine the police will do their utmost to hold on to as many of their new-found powers for as long as possible.
We have already seen that with the updated so-called anti-bikie rules that replaced Queensland also hastily-drafted VLAD laws.
When it comes time to revoke or revise these restrictions, police will no doubt cite the inevitable reduction in the crime rate and road toll as reasons to continue at least some of their new powers.