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Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers

Perspectives on Australian Law





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AUD $150.00 gst included

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Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers: Perspectives on Australian Law explores the multi-layered and multi-faceted ways in which Australia’s laws, regulations and law-makers have engaged with the COVID-19 pandemic. What emerges from the 21 chapters from leading scholars in this edited collection is that there have been both successes and failures. The virus keeps evolving and we as a nation need to continue to learn from international developments and what has, and has not, worked in Australia. Law is an integral part of the public health framework that protects the community during a pandemic. A significant component of Australia’s legal response to COVID-19 has been to give extensive powers to State and Territory governments to manage the crisis. This has involved imposition of limits on individuals’ rights and liberties in relation to quarantine arrangements, border control, lockdowns, curfews and face masks, as well as requirements to use QR codes. At times these measures have been controversial, both legally and within the general community. Our workplaces, our clinical services, our research processes and our legal system will emerge changed after COVID-19 . This requires ongoing evaluation and reflection. Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers: Perspectives on Australian Law is a constructive early contribution to this end.

Foreword – Professor Peter Doherty

1. Rights and Powers During Public Health Emergencies – B Bennett and I Freckelton
2. Pandemics Will Happen: How Have We Minimised and Managed COVID-19? – ML McLaws
3. COVID-19 in Historical Context: Australian Legal and Regulatory Responses to Past Influenza Pandemics – G Wolf

4. Federal and State Powers to Deal with Pandemics: Cooperation, Conflict and Confusion – A Twomey
5. Public Health Emergencies in Australia – P Stephenson, I Freckelton and B Bennett
6. Government Inquiries, Investigations and Reports During the COVID-19 Pandemic – I Freckelton
7. Obtaining COVID-19 Vaccines: How the Government Sold the Parachutes – J Malbon
8. Human Rights in a Pandemic – G Williams and S Rigney
9. Facemasks for Public Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Examination of Responses in Australia and England – F McDonald and C Horwell
10. The Australian COVIDSafe App and Privacy: Lessons for the Future of Privacy Regulation – N Witzleb and M Paterson

11. Economic Hardship Payments in Health Emergencies – T Carney
12. Work Health and Safety: Regulating for Safe and Sustainable Work Practices in a Post-Pandemic World – J Riley Munton
13. Contract in the Time of COVID-19 – K Barnett and M Harding
14. Post-Separation Parenting During COVID-19 – D Cooper
15. The Administration of Justice During Public Health Emergencies – N Stobbs and I Freckelton

16. Patient Rights and Practitioner Responsibilities During a Pandemic – M Bismark, R Paterson, O Bradfield
17. Gender and COVID-19: An Australian Perspective – B Bennett and CE Brolan
18. First Nations Health During COVID-19 Pandemic – Reversing the Gap – F Stanley, M Langton, S Eades and J Ward
19. The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Impact of Legislative Requirements on Residential Aged Care – M Martin-Khan and E Beattie
20. Health Research and COVID-19 – M Otlowski and I Freckelton
21. End of Life Decision-Making, Advance Care Planning and Estate Planning During a Pandemic – K Purser, L Willmott, B White, E Close and T Cockburn

Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers is an early attempt to understand some of the policy and legal issues that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. It surveys a wide range of issues that have been identified and considered by government, lawyers, academics and others since March 2020.

Matthew Coe, Barrister, Hearsay, (2022) June, Issue 88

In the foreword to the text, immunologist Peter Doherty notes that it brings together a “spectrum of informed opinion and expertise that greatly broadens our perceptions of the pandemic challenge”. He was not wrong. The strength of this text lies in the breadth of its coverage, which both highlights and explains the very many ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted upon lives. Given the enormous social and economic disruption the pandemic has caused, it is imperative that we learn from the successes and failures of our response. One cannot go wrong with this edited text as a starting point. Read full review…

Johnny Sorras and Eloise Mack, Australian Law Journal, 96 (2022)

The work is evidence-based and well-balanced in its assessments. The authors show a deep knowledge of the subject areas considered. The perspectives discussed include constitutional law, human rights, delegated law-making, government inquiries, privacy, workers’ health, contracts, post-separation parenting, administration of justice, patient rights and practitioner responsibilities, women, Indigenous people and residential aged care.

Dr Jeffrey Barnes, Law Institute Journal (VIC), March 2022

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