A Review of Emergency Powers, COVID-19 Restrictions & Mandatory Vaccination: A ‘Rule-of-Law’ Perspective. By Augusto Zimmermann and Gabriel Moens.
Connor Court, 2022.
This new book is urgently needed:
We are still reeling from the effects of not just Covid, but of government responses to it. Indeed, numerous people, including myself, have argued over the past two years that in many ways the cures have been far worse than the disease. I and others have warned that in using an emergency or a crisis as an excuse, governments can massively increase power and control, while wresting away basic human rights and civil liberties from the populace.
And that is exactly what has happened in Australia and most of the Western world. Indeed, I addressed this very matter in a chapter in another crucial volume which Prof. Zimmermann has edited: Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19 (Connor Court, 2020).
In this brief (130 pages) but very important book, two expert law professors look at Australian and international law, arguing that the use of emergency powers has directly impinged upon standard Western legal practice. Say the authors:
Since March 2020, Australia’s governments have been using their powers to excessively coerce, obstruct or otherwise unreasonably interfere with the life, liberty, movement, and property of the citizen. These governments are exercising emergency powers to impose measures that profoundly undermine basic principles of the rule of law. . . . These governments have adopted extra-constitutional measures that undermine the doctrine of the separation of powers and the principle of equality before the law, as well as the basic right of citizens to object to any form of medical treatment, including mandatory vaccinations, which are now increasingly imposed by the government.
They go on to point out some basic truths about our legal system: “One of the primary goals of the judicial function is to protect citizens against any adverse impact of their enjoyment of fundamental legal rights.” We certainly have seen a massive erosion of these rights over the past 24 months.
The authors discuss how the concept of the rule of law has developed over time, and then say this: “Unfortunately, the classical understanding of the ‘rule of law’ is gradually becoming obsolete and overturned by ‘progressive’ ideas that incorporate a myriad of statist considerations which seriously disregard the liberal-democratic legal traditions upon which Australia was once founded.”
The issue of the separation of powers is also addressed, and they also look at how governments have used emergency powers in reckless and draconian fashion. As basic civil liberties have been stripped away from the people, a nation like Australia can no longer refer to itself as a true democracy. That and the continued use of fear-mongering and panic-porn to keep the people in perpetual terror makes for the perfect storm: despotic rule which will eagerly be embraced.
While many have defended the federal government, claiming its hands are tied while the states can make these sort of alarming decisions and policies, the authors remind us of how the Australian Constitution works, including sections 51 and 52 which speak to these matters. And section 109 “provides that federal laws must prevail over those of a State to the extent of an inconsistency.”
They also cite various court cases and legal experts who have invoked these sections. Those include things like the provision of medical services. For example, the 2009 Wong v Commonwealth, Selim v Professional Services Review Committee dealt with such issues. It said, in part, “the ‘no conscription’ requirement to be found in that constitutional provision amounts to an explicit limitation on mandating the provision of medical services, for example, compulsory vaccination…”
In other words, state the authors, “no citizen shall be in any way coerced into any medical treatment whatsoever, including vaccination. A medical treatment which is imposed upon a person without his or her informed consent is a trespass upon that person.”
Because of the seriousness of all this, the authors feature an entire chapter on the matter of civil disobedience. They cite the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which says, “Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”
They examine the long-standing tradition in western legal-political history of the right to disobey the state when basic human rights and liberties are violated: “Since the primary purpose of representative democracy is the preservation of fundamental rights and freedoms, one must conclude that citizens have a lawful right to resist measures that grossly violate the enjoyment of these basic rights and freedoms.” They discuss in some detail four features of such rational civil disobedience: effectiveness, striking a healthy balance, willingness to accept the penalty, and proportionality.
Lessons from history are also discussed. They see Germany in the 1930s as a primary example of what we need to learn from. They note that most lawyers then supported Hitler. They refer to one German lawyer who argued that “the government can make any law it pleases so long as it is consistent in enforcing it.” They say he lived long enough to regret having offered this viewpoint. Would that Australian rulers today had such a change of heart.
This chapter is one of the longest and most detailed in the book – and perhaps the most important. Say the authors: “There is no doubt that Australia, now that it has embarked on rule by health decree, would be able to learn from this dreadful epsilon in German history.”
In their concluding chapter we read this:
The use of emergency powers in Australia certainly results in the abuse of power by arbitrary measures that profoundly undermine the rule of law. . . . Australians have passively watched their governments use a broad range of extra-constitutional powers to control almost every single aspect of their lives. The governments have acquired emergency powers that entitle public officials to detain citizens, search their premises without a warrant, and even force entire populations into lockdowns once this might be deemed necessary to protect public health.
And their final words must be heeded:
What is happening in Australia is profoundly tragic. John Locke famously argued that governments have no other end “but the preservation of these rights, and therefore can never have a right to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subjects.” The Australian people have a lawful right to resist and to demand the full restoration of their basic rights and freedoms. We can only hope that the High Court will be willing to assist the people in the process.
Thank you professors Zimmermann and Moens for this very important and urgently necessary book – one that is well written and well documented.
(Available in Australia from Connor Court: https://www.connorcourtpublishing.com.au/EMERGENCY-POWERS-COVID-19-RESTRICTIONS-MANDATORY-VACCINATION-A-%E2%80%98RULE-OF-LAW%E2%80%99-PERSPECTIVE_p_473.html )
11 Replies to “A Review of Emergency Powers, COVID-19 Restrictions & Mandatory Vaccination: A ‘Rule-of-Law’ Perspective. By Augusto Zimmermann and Gabriel Moens.”
Unfortunately the only recourse we have is the courts, and they have been taken over by activist judges, as illustrated by the situation in Queensland. Yesterday’s Courier Mail identified 17 legal positions, including Supreme Court appointments, that the Labor government has filled with associates, including close friends and spouses of MPs. It’s a classic leftist play, mirrored in the USA. So there is unlikely to be any departure from the government’s policies when they are challenged.
Dear readers of Bill’s excellent articles.
Bill is possibly to modest to ask, so please do not forget Averil Muehlenberg in her hour of need.
Please donate to help her get through this serious health challenge.
To date $39,000 of the required $60,000 has been raised.
Thanks again John.
Thank you Bill for that good news of the two books exposing the changes to our laws and seriously violated constitutional rights, under the guise of emergency powers. The whole he whole COVID saga has been like an insidious movement, and with the new legislations and fines, and loss of jobs and freedoms, its turned out to be a massive game changer used by the media as well. It was introduced under the radar during a ‘climate’ of fear and hype, and exploited by premieres wanting to expand their powers but in the end the harmful effects of lockdowns on mental health and on the economy; closure of schools, loss of jobs, broken economy, loss of housing as unemployed can’t pay rent all have given the state Governments the right to over rule individual choice and freedom. plus the side effects of the vaccines have been denied (e.g. heart attacks and thrombosis) and until recently Pfizer would not release their findings but have now released a little of their findings about the vaccine and its ingredients and value, and revealing the lack of monitoring side effect or having proper testing with control groups to ensure no harm would be done.
May these writers you have mentioned help portray the truth about what legislation has been trampled on. May many read the book “What really happened in Wuhan?’ by Sharri Markson, also which reveal more about the biological warfare planned by China but with finances from the West (one main country). The move to towards a central atheist world/global power and Govt seems to be yet another part of the jigsaw in our broken world.
Most court challenges have failed and it’s emboldened the policy makers each time. People have spent so much time lobbying, protesting, writing, researching and commenting to get the mandates overturned to no avail.
https://odysee.com/@OracleFilms:1/2022.03.04-A-Letter-to-Andrew-Hill-V8_HD:3?fbclid=IwAR1MGSYfp7qSLVCHdbhl-ya0Qtz1MYwBSUL92z0K_SZHJN8z3TEgHVYMVmA I was sent this video yesterday and I believe it needs to be shared everywhere. It shows how the whole pandemic could have changed course if one man had done the right thing.
Nearly finished reading this.
The chapter on the German legal system’s philosophy of law is chilling in its present-day applicability.
Thanks John for the recent comment and Bill for the original article…I so agree with you both and the word ‘chilling’ you used John sums it up. The whole move to gain power and total power over all ways of life has increased in such an accelerated manner under COVID (a great blanket /cover to use to implement draconian laws in the West).
I am sure all you have said Bill is part of Gods warning to us and the book Fundamental Rights in the Age of COVID-19 (Connor Court, 2020) by Prof Zimmerman. I weigh that up too wit God’s word showing us that in the end there will be a global Govt and antichrist figure in power and then the beast and false prophet…but we have a role to pray and help others become aware and to study the word and where we can make a stand.
I have just been reading a profound book: ‘The Death of Western Christianity: Drinking from the poisoned wells of the cultural revolution’ by Patrick Sookhdeo of Barnabus Fund Pub 2017. UK. This book also reveals part of the plan of Global Govt and those with wealth (the elite) to continue to bring in a Marxist Govt and value system in the schools, Universities, and to undermine the family unit and centralise power.
Patrick Sookhdeo has also written ‘hated without reason’ tracing the persecution of the disciples and famous saints who were persecuted or died for Christ
It also shows how the West (including the churches) have been influenced by materialism and the world’s morality system, and in an attempt to become seeker friendly too much compromise has occurred and sadly it hasn’t been noticed as much by each generation who have not known the Biblical voice of God.
Those churches who have fought back have had to fight the legal system as well at times.
Others have prayed through and fought the good fight of faith.
The Marxist plan to degrade and ‘hate’ the West and to bring shame on all institutions that have a Christian base is made evident in the book. The younger generation have not known the earlier models so are taught to rebel against the existing models that remain.
The changing values have brought confusion to many and also corruption in the courts. Marxism has made its impact on all institutions, while Islam has penetrated society in a different way.
So there has been a gradual slide away from the authority of the word of God and move from the Bible in each generation.
The ‘insidious’ plot to bring down Christianity and to marginalize it has been exposed.
Where the church has fought back and kept fundamental Biblical values it is uphill.
Despite this I remain holding on to Gods promises. ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail.’…The churches in Revelation that endured persecution were commended. The 2 spies of Joshua were brave enough to ‘go in and possess the land’ as commanded and to teach their children and children’s children the word of God day and night….They honoured the Almighty God we serve and loved His word to the end.
The 10 other spies shrank back and said there were ‘giants in the land’ whereas Caleb and Joshua were told to enter in and ‘be strong and good courage’…
Plus King David heard the Lord say ‘I will fight for you’ and Moses heard ‘I will go before you’ and conquer your enemies… so we have a mighty God to lead us through this century and look up to Him for hope, strength and endurance as we move forward.
May God bless you Bill and Averil and keep you in His care
(praying for her and you both)
Thank you for all your research and writings.
Many thanks Gail.