Newly renamed emergency powers could turn Western Australia into a police state



Since March 15, 2020, there has been a state of emergency in Western Australia (WA). This gave the government special powers that could impose strict rules and restrictions with the stroke of a pen. These measures are now renewed every two weeks by a brief signature of Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson.

Using these powers, the government has over the past two years closed borders, required passes to enter states, and required masks to restrict people and their movements, including vulnerable indigenous communities. .

But now, after more than two years of declaring a state of emergency, the Washington state government is swiftly passing laws that are even tougher than existing laws. The new scheme is worse than the rebranded emergency as it removes the requirement for the Minister of Emergency Services to declare such an emergency.

Instead, sole responsibility for making the declaration rests entirely with the Police Commissioner’s discretion, removing the need for Congressional oversight as to when an emergency can actually be declared. In other words, almost the entirety of the draconian measures used during the alleged pandemic are at the disposal of the Police Commissioner.

On September 21st, the WA Labor Government passed the Emergency Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Bill 2022 (WA) in the State House of Commons. Opponents were notified within 48 hours that the bill would be introduced that day.

In an interview with ABC Radio Perth on September 20, Prime Minister Mark McGowan said: Declared“We need to pass parliament quickly so that these new measures can take effect when the existing emergency ends.”

McGowan explained to local reporters how emergency powers would be maintained. [facilities], stay-at-home rules for COVID-positive people where appropriate. “

Epoch Times photo
People wearing face masks are seen at the entrance of Menalok Life Aged Care Home, where a cluster of about 28 new infections was reported, in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon, Australia, July 14, 2020. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

repackage something similar

The new scheme creates a longer time limit of two years for exercising emergency powers. This allows the Police Commissioner to give full powers to police officers and “authorized officers” after seeking advice from the Chief Health Officer.

According to state opposition leader Mia Davis, the new plan is basically reach “Also known as emergency declaration” [and] more extreme force. “

“If you have a police commissioner in charge of responding to health issues, you will still end up with a state of emergency,” she said.

Former WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan comment This “cleanly removes accountability and controversy from the government regarding the exercise of emergency powers” and removes executive branch accountability to the public.

While the state of emergency is in force, people will be allowed to have the power to do all or any of the following, among other things:

  1. Direct or prohibit the movement of persons or vehicles within, in, or around the declared area or any part of the declared area.
  2. Direct the evacuation and movement of people from the declared area or part of the declared area.
  3. Closure of roads, access routes, or bodies of water within or leading to the declared area.
  4. Control or utilize any place, vehicle, or anything else
  5. Break into any location or vehicle, or break in and break in if you want.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive, so these are just a few examples of what authorized personnel do. However, it has certainly been shown that this change could be seen as instigating the institutionalization of a police state in Western Australia.

Epoch Times photo
Washington State Police inspect a car at the Indian Ocean Drive border crossing, north of Perth, Australia, June 29, 2021. (Matt Jelonek/Getty Images)

Emergency powers can be used as a cover for infringing on people’s freedom

Now you can better understand why the Police Commissioner and former ‘Vaccine Commander’ was appointed Governor of Western Australia.

It is also possible that history is repeating itself, as the desire to extend the state of emergency seems to confirm the worst fears of Austrian-British economist and philosopher Friedrich Hayek. .

In Law, Legislation and Liberty (1981), the Nobel laureate states:

“The ’emergency’ has always been a pretext by which the protection of individual liberties has been eroded, and once suspended, it has ensured that the emergency persists for those who have assumed the powers of such an emergency. It’s not difficult to do.”

Benjamin Franklin, a major figure in early American history, once commented“Those who give up their essential liberties to buy a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.”

Epoch Times photo
A hotel patron uses the SafeWA app to scan a QR code before entering Perth, Australia, December 5, 2020. (Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Germany in the 1930s is an example. At that time, Germans were very willing to give up their freedom and be protected by the state. Under Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution (1919-45), the President of the German Republic was empowered to issue orders in emergencies. These authorizations he is valid for four years, after which they can be renewed in the event of a continuing “emergency”.

German jurist Karl Schmidt (1888-1985), then Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Berlin, argued that the exercise of such emergency powers meant that the state would “temporarily” suspend all constitutional rights. claimed to allow protect the community. Schmitt says: This decision exempts public power from all normative constraints and makes it truly absolute. In emergency situations, the composed authorities suspend the law on the basis of their right to protect their existence. “

Western Australia, experiment

Clearly, to conclude that Western Australia faces similar challenges is utterly absurd. However, the exercise of emergency powers inevitably leads to the exercise of powers that facilitate violations of basic human rights.

Moreover, the emergency could at any time become a more permanent instrument, which is now effectively a law rebranding the use of emergency powers by Western Australian authorities rather than unwinding them. It might explain why you’re trying to enact it.

But I think at least our prime minister confessed honestly, as he did in late March. that: “Western Australia is an experiment. We have very high vaccination levels and we have a very docile population.”

As a jurist who has taught constitutional law for over twenty years, I certainly agree with him. is now severely compromised in Western Australia.

Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Epoch Times.

August Zimmermann


Augusto Zimmermann is Professor and Legal Director at the Sheridan Institute of Higher Education, Perth. He has also served as President of the Western Australian (WA) Association of Legal Theory and Editor-in-Chief of The Western Australian Jurist, and from 2012 until 2017 he was a member of the WA Law Reform Commission. “Composition Brasileiro”, “Western Legal Theory”, and “Christian Foundations of Common Law”.