COVID-19 personnel get power to ‘break and enter’ in Western Australia


The Western Australian Labor government appears to be about to pass imminent legislation for ‘continued control’ of COVID-19. The law grants law enforcement agencies broad powers, including the power to “enter and break into any location or vehicle.”

The debate has been ongoing since the end of September 2022, with opposition lawmakers refusing to support the 2022 Crisis Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Bill.

Under the COVID-19 declaration, the bill (pdf) allows “COVID-19 personnel” to “break in and break into” any location or vehicle and exercise these powers without a warrant or consent from the owner.

Officers may also control or utilize any location or vehicle to enforce health orders.

Section 77N also gives police officers the power to enforce quarantine on individuals and “follow infection prevention and control procedures.” Section 77O can be used to force businesses, places of worship, and entertainment venue owners to close for specific periods of time.

Labor MP David Templeman, leader of the House of Commons, said the state was operating under a three-month order resulting from the Emergency Management Act and that the new proposal would serve a “temporary purpose” to manage. “The legal framework for the COVID-19

“The reason why it is important that the bills are processed as soon as possible is to allow COVID-19 to be managed outside of the emergency and these arrangements to expire after two years,” he said in September. said in parliament. February 21, 2022.

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One of the main complaints from the liberal national opposition is the hasty introduction of the bill and questions about its necessity.

In response, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said opposition lawmakers had no time to consider the bill but had time to conduct “full-scale interviews” with the media.

“Opposition parties need to focus on what they need to do to understand the law and be ready for debate,” she said.

However, opposition leader David Honey called the comments “completely inappropriate”.

“To say that the opposition should not warn the public through the media about the dishonorable actions of the government and the contents of this bill, again goes against all democratic principles in this place.”

His colleague Shane Love of the National Party said the bill was introduced under “a flimsy pretext” and said Western Australia is in line with other Australian states that are scaling back pandemic control powers. said no.

“These states have made dramatically different decisions than this government on these measures and how to transition to the next phase,” he said. “I hope the government doesn’t just jump up and say, ‘Look how they manage everything else.'”

He said the Labor government should provide more transparency on the bill so that people in Western Australia can “get back to normal life as much as possible”.

The Mark McGowan government has implemented some of Australia’s toughest internal border closures in the pandemic year to keep COVID-19 at bay.

“I’m not convinced that this metric will go away in two years,” Love continued. “Other states are taking steps to take action they can request if necessary in the future, and we’re very clear about that.”

“I think it would be disingenuous to say that this will decrease within two years.”

The Labor Party has a healthy majority in both houses of the Western Australian Parliament.

Daniel Y. Teng


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. His focus is on national politics such as federal politics, the COVID-19 response and Australia-China relations. Any tips? Please contact [email protected].