The COVID-19 border closure to India: Would an Australian Human Rights Act have made a difference?
journal contributionposted on 2021-08-31, 00:00 authored by Bruce ChenBruce Chen
In late April 2021, the Commonwealth government determined to prohibit overseas travellers who had been in India from returning to Australia, subjecting them to heavy penalties for breach. This measure was controversial and unprecedented in Australia’s response to COVID-19, drawing sharp criticism for breaching human rights. This article analyses the human rights issues arising under the Health Minister’s determination, and the ensuing Federal Court case of Newman v Minister for Health and Aged Care. Against the backdrop of a renewed push for a national Human Rights Act, it finds that a national Human Rights Act could have made a difference.