Australia, Vaccinations and the Constitution
As expected, Australia is making a harder push for COVID vaccinations. By “push”, I mean just short of ramming them into people’s arms. Whilst not (yet) making it mandatory in a legislative sense, it is conveniently linked to the easing of restrictions.
For example, the NSW government recently announced that citizens who are fully vaccinated may have an extra hour of outdoor time per day. Both NSW and Victorian governments are supposedly going to ease restrictions if and when vaccination rates hit 70%.
It should be noted that Australia, unlike the US, does not have a Bill of Rights. Concerning? Perhaps… I am no (constitutional) lawyer, but the Bill of Rights seems to be more about freedom of speech, the right to bear arms and how one should be treated in criminal proceedings. It does not explicitly address matters that are medical in nature.
Despite not having a Bill of Rights, there is an interesting clause in the Australian Constitution regarding medical issues. The below is from Chapter I, Part V, Section 51. Legislative powers of the Parliament (xxiiiA).
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
(xxiiiA) the provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances;
The government may provide medical services “but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription”.
Well, it’s always arguable because lawyers and judges will be jobless if it wasn’t, but holding the population hostage is arguably a form of “civil conscription”.
Update (Oct 1): The Victorian government announced mandatory vaccination for all “authorized workers” who work on-site. This covers just about everyone who cannot work from home. The first dose is to be received by October 15 and the second dose by November 26. Right, cos that’s not “civil conscription”.
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