Lecture delivered on October 9th 2021 as part of the Symposium: COVID Vaccines and Law
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An underlying theme in constitutional theory is the notion that the ‘rule of law’ provides at least part of the solution to the problem of political arbitrariness. Australian governments should act within, and in conformity with our tradition of the ‘rule of law’ and constitutionalism. In this context, as John Locke famously stated: “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom”. On this view, the rule of law operates as an umbrella concept for legal-institutional mechanisms that protect us against the arbitrary power of the State. Accordingly, this presentation will discuss whether Australians might have a lawful right to resist governmental measures that unquestionably violate their fundamental legal rights, including lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
Topics of Discussion:
– Understanding the Substantive Nature of the Rule of Law
– The Rule of Law in Australia: Understanding Australia’s Constitutionalism
– The Constitutionality of Emergency Powers
– Civil Disobedience: A Rule-of-Law Perspective
Augusto Zimmermann is professor and head of law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education in Perth. He is also adjunct professor of law at the University of Notre Dame Australia (Sydney campus), president of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association, editor-in-chief of the Western Australian Jurist law journal, and a former law reform commissioner in Western Australia. Professor Zimmermann is the author of numerous articles on the Rule of Law, contributing, inter alia, for a seminal book on the subject edited by the then President of the American Bar Association (The Legal Doctrines of the Rule of Law and Rechtstaat). He is also the co-editor of Fundamental Rights in the Age of Covid-19, a book with contributions from leading legal academics and policymakers in the field.
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