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Law Council of Australia


Maintaining Scrutiny Over Emergency Legislation and Extraordinary Powers Invoked during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Speech delivered by Pauline Wright, President of the Law Council of Australia the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association Virtual Roundtable – Rule of Law Issues in the South Pacific, 20 May 2020.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact, and governments worldwide have introduced unprecedented emergency legislation and invoked extraordinary powers in order to maintain public health and safety. In Australia, as in many countries around the world, the imperative to respond decisively to the pandemic has led to the use of extraordinary powers, increased use of ministerial discretion and delegated legislation and expedited legislative processes.

In this context, ensuring transparency and accountability have never been more important.

The legal profession and law associations have a crucial role to play in ensuring that government responses to COVID-19 are consistent with the rule of law, compatible with human rights obligations and subject to appropriate scrutiny."

You can read the full speech below.


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