Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

Canberra, Australia (AP) – Australia’s highest court on Friday rejected the closure of a state border and the argument of billionaire businessman Clive Palmer that the epidemic measure was unconstitutional.

Seven High Court judges ruled that the state’s border with Western Australia was closed for non-essential travel, which was implemented during a “threat in the nature of a plague or epidemic”. All Australian states and territories have used border restrictions to curb infections and a court ruling against Western Australia has affected their epidemic responses.

The state closed its border to the rest of Australia on 5 April and has maintained the travel ban since 11 April despite the COVID-19 community not registering a broadcast case.

Western Australia will relax its border policy on 14 November and allow low-risk entry to residents of states and territories without going into quarantine.

The state government argued that its iron ore mines would maintain production and earn their highest prices in six years while their main rivals in Brazil disrupted production by epidemiological absence.

Mining magnate Palmer took court action in May, when he was refused entry into the state. His lawyers had argued that the border ban improperly violates the constitutional right to free travel between the states of Australia.

Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

– The United Nations held a summit on 3-4 December to respond to the spread of coronovirus and its “unprecedented” effects on societies, economies and trade. The General Assembly voted 150–0 on a resolution authorizing the meeting, although the United States, Israel and Armenia abstained. It will include the preceding speech and a presentation and discussion led by the head of the World Health Organization. Speaker of the Assembly Volkan Bozkir called the high-level special session “a historic moment and a test for multilateralism”.

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