All Bets on the Executive(s)! The Australian Response to COVID-19

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Abstract

This chapter examines the response of the Australian Federal and State governments to the COVID-19 pandemic. While successful in limiting the spread of the virus, the response caused significant challenges from a rule of law perspective. Executive powers were exercised after the declaration of states of emergency in a quasi-vacuum of checks and balances, with little parliamentary or judicial scrutiny and no clear end date. The prolonged international isolation, coupled with the uneven distribution of consequences attached to intermittent restrictions, put the institutional and legal framework of Australia to the test. The picture emerging is one where all bets are on the executives to exercise their significant emergency powers effectively and as reasonably as possible. But few substantive accountability mechanisms are in place while the pandemic (at the time of writing in July 2021) is still ongoing and so are the states of emergency.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Law and the COVID-19 Pandemic
EditorsJoelle Grogan, Alice Donald
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter37
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

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