Recent Cases

Palmer v Western Australia [2021] HCA 5 (24 February 2021) (Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon and Edelman JJ)


Constitutional law (Cth) – Freedom of interstate trade, commerce, and intercourse – Where s 56 of Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA) (“EM Act”) empowered Minister to declare state of emergency – Where s 67 empowered authorised officer to direct or prohibit movement of persons into emergency area – Where Minister for Emergency Services declared state of emergency in Western Australia in respect of COVID-19 pandemic – Where State Emergency Coordinator issued Quarantine (Closing the Border) Directions (WA) (“Directions”) – Where paras 4 and 5 of Directions prohibited persons from entering Western Australia unless exempt traveller – Whether EM Act or Directions impermissibly infringed constitutional limitation in s 92 of Constitution – Whether infringement determined by reference to authorising provisions of EM Act – Whether provisions of EM Act imposed impermissible burden on interstate trade, commerce or intercourse – Whether exercise of power to make Directions raised constitutional question.

Words and phrases – “burden”, “COVID-19”, “differential”, “discrimination”, “emergency”, “emergency management”, “freedom of interstate trade, commerce, and intercourse”, “hazard”, “intercourse”, “interstate movement”, “plague or epidemic”, “protectionist”, “reasonable necessity”, “state of emergency”, “structured proportionality”, “trade and commerce”.