A Tale of Two Forms of Protest
The Legality of Protest in Victoria in the Time of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered extraordinary legislative and executive responses across the globe. In 2020, the Victorian Government used, for the first time, powers in the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic) to impose significant restrictions on the freedoms of the public. This article considers the powers to make directions under the Victorian regime and the potential relevance of the implied freedom of political communication in the Australian Constitution and the human rights protected by the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic). We conclude that some forms of protest activity may have remained lawful during the Victorian lockdowns, although the purpose of the protest activity and the manner of protest may be relevant considerations when adopting a Charter-consistent interpretation of the statutory provisions.
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