Coronavirus Melbourne: Top QC says curfew has ‘no legal basis’

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Michael Wyles said the 8pm to 5am curfew, brought in as part of Melbourne's Stage Four restrictions, had not been authorised under state law

Michael Wyles said the 8pm to 5am curfew, brought in as part of Melbourne’s Stage Four restrictions, had not been authorised under state law

A top QC has questioned the validity of the coronavirus curfew imposed on Melbourne by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. 

Michael Wyles said the 8pm to 5am curfew, brought in as part of Melbourne’s Stage Four restrictions, had not been authorised under state law.  

‘There is no legal basis for the curfew,’ he told The Australian.      

Legislation allows health officials to make emergency orders to protect the public but chief health officer Brett Sutton has revealed he did not seek the curfew.  

Premier Andrews instead said the restriction had been ‘about enforcement’. 

Mr Andrews was asked if the measure had been requested by police and said this week that restrictions were decided on advice from a variety of authorities.   

‘Some of that’s public health advice, some of its law enforcement advice,’ he said.

A top QC has labelled the coronavirus curfew imposed on Melbourne by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) during Stage Four lockdown as 'invalid'

A top QC has labelled the coronavirus curfew imposed on Melbourne by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) during Stage Four lockdown as ‘invalid’

The curfew was brought in for 'enforcement' rather than for public health and is not seen as a valid reason to enact emergency orders (empty streets in Melbourne pictured on Friday)

The curfew was brought in for ‘enforcement’ rather than for public health and is not seen as a valid reason to enact emergency orders (empty streets in Melbourne pictured on Friday)

Mr Wyles’ pointed out the potential flaw in the curfew as assisting law enforcement was not a valid reason to enact emergency health orders.

‘It is invalid and everyone can ignore it because the direction is not, according to what Sutton said yesterday, for the purpose of eliminating or reducing the risk of COVID,’ Mr Wyles said. 

The revelation comes as the bizarre reason why the Victorian government turned down help from Australian Defence Force with hotel quarantine was revealed. 

An inquiry into Melbourne’s botched quarantine program heard ADF troops were not used as it would have been ‘daunting’ for arriving passengers. 

The strict curfew ordered Melburnians (pictured wearing masks on a walk) to stay at home between 8pm and 5am. Residents must also stay within 5km of home for exercise

The strict curfew ordered Melburnians (pictured wearing masks on a walk) to stay at home between 8pm and 5am. Residents must also stay within 5km of home for exercise 

The DHHS revealed Australian Defence Force troops (pictured in Avalon on Friday) were not used in hotel quarantine hotels as it would have been 'daunting' for travellers

The DHHS revealed Australian Defence Force troops (pictured in Avalon on Friday) were not used in hotel quarantine hotels as it would have been ‘daunting’ for travellers 

A Department of Health and Human Services director Pam Williams said she didn’t know why the ADF hadn’t been used for security, Herald Sun reported. 

Ms Williams said many returned travellers had experienced difficult journeys to get back into Australia. 

‘An ADF presence upon their arrival at the hotels may have been a daunting experience, particularly for people from war-torn countries,’ she said.  

Finding out who decided to use private security rather than the ADF or police is a key issue for the inquiry.

Victoria has recorded just 43 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths on Friday (people exercise along the Tan track in Melbourne pictured)

Victoria has recorded just 43 new cases of coronavirus and nine more deaths on Friday (people exercise along the Tan track in Melbourne pictured)

Former chief commissioner of police Graham Ashton and his replacement, Shane Patton, are set to give evidence next week.   

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp and Mr Sutton will also face the board. 

Victoria’s deadly second wave of coronavirus was sparked when at least 29 of the private security guards caught COVID-19 from quarantine guests.

Victoria recorded 43 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths on Friday.  

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.

Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28. 

Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:

Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – September 28:

Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – October 26:

Curfew is no longer in place

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – November 23:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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