Clive Palmer’s challenge against Western Australia’s border ban rejected by high court | Australia news

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The high court has rejected Clive Palmer’s challenge against Western Australia’s border ban.

In orders pronounced on Friday, five justices of the court unanimously held that the state’s quarantine directions and the emergency management law authorising them do not breach the constitution.

The mining tycoon had argued the border directions infringed the guarantee that interstate trade, commerce and intercourse shall be “absolutely free”.

The chief justice, Susan Kiefel, said the five justices had found the emergency laws – insofar as they deal with a “plague or epidemic” – comply with the constitution and the border closure “does not raise” constitutional questions.

The court ordered Palmer to pay costs.

Although no date has been set for the court to provide its reasons, the result demonstrates that the justices accepted that the directions were intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19 rather than discriminating against interstate movement.

Despite the federal court finding the border ban was “substantially effective” at preventing the reintroduction of coronavirus, Palmer had sought to argue it was not “reasonably necessary” because WA could have opted for less restrictive alternatives.

Western Australia countered that since Justice Darryl Rangiah concluded the ban was “the most effective” policy there were therefore “no other measures available” that were less restrictive of movement.

Although Rangiah found some jurisdictions presented a low risk, the WA solicitor general, Joshua Thomson, argued that the risk was not zero and was worsened by the prospect of travellers “border hopping” from higher risk areas.

The premier, Mark McGowan, has announced WA will reopen to all states and territories from 14 November, with some restrictions remaining for residents of New South Wales and Victoria.

WA’s case was supported by other states and territories, which argued that it was entitled to a tighter border due to geographical differences and to pursue the aim of excluding the virus to a greater degree.

After months of backing Palmer’s challenge, the federal government pulled out of the case in August under sustained pressure from McGowan. Scott Morrison then asked Palmer to drop the case.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
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