Up until now it has been possible to make some lawyer-talk bullshit story that Australia’s internal state borders are not really closed. It has been possible to cross the border, but people have to go into quarantine and goods are able to cross the border.
Queensland will shut out Victorians entirely as the coronavirus situation worsens in that state, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.
From midday tomorrow, visitors from Victoria will be turned around at the Queensland border, and will no longer be able to quarantine in Queensland for two weeks to gain access.
So what rights do Australians have? Very few actually and those we do have are observed in the breach. So looking at the Australian Constitution:
s. 92 On the imposition of uniform duties of customs, trade, commerce, and intercourse among the States, whether by means of internal carriage or ocean navigation, shall be absolutely free.
s. 117 A subject of the Queen, resident in any State, shall not be subject in any other State to any disability or discrimination which would not be equally applicable to him if he were a subject of the Queen resident in such other State.
Any ‘hard closure’ of internal borders and/or Victoria only ban is a violation of those two provisions of the Constitution.
But wait … there is more. Why is the ADF being deployed to police internal borders?
s.119 The Commonwealth shall protect every State against invasion and, on the application of the Executive Government of the State, against domestic violence.
It is not clear to me that the ADF are fighting off an invasion – against unarmed civilian-citizens – or suppressing domestic violence – imagined here as being widespread public violence.
Question: What mechanism is there to prevent any future Victorian government from prosecuting any ADF personnel or Queensland Police for crimes against humanity? I suspect the High Court could pull out some story whereby the Constitution doesn’t really mean what it says. They have form.
I should also point out that Scott Morrison’s story about closing the Victorian border is just silly.
In a somewhat Jesuitical distinction, Morrison said they had agreed “now is the time for Victoria to isolate itself from the rest of the country. What’s different here [is] this isn’t other states closing their borders to Victoria”.
So, the problem with the Iron Curtain was what exactly? Those misunderstood totalitarians just wanted to isolate their citizens from decadent westerners?
Up until now the Morrison government has been somewhat sensible on the internal borders – arguing that internal borders should not be closed. Deploying the ADF to assist in closing borders is very inconsistent with that position – and it violates the Constitutional rights of Australians.