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Sorrento hotelier files High Court challenge to Melbourne’s lockdown

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The High Court writ says that the lockdown orders made under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act are unconstitutional, inappropriate and inconsistent with a system of representative and responsible government.

“[The lockdown orders] have no legitimate purpose that is compatible with … the system of representative and responsible government,” the writ alleges.

“[The lockdown orders] are not reasonably appropriate and adapted to serve any legitimate purpose in a manner that is compatible with … the system of representative and responsible government.”

Mr Gerner is seeking a declaration that sections of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act and the lockdown directions are invalid due to their unconstitutionality, plus costs associated with the litigation.

On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews extended Victoria’s state of disaster for another four weeks and conceded it was highly unlikely Melbourne would see a major easing in restrictions, such as the anticipated reopening of retail businesses, from October 19.

Mr Walker, a Sydney-based barrister, was most recently appointed to a special commission of inquiry to investigate how the Ruby Princess cruise liner came to dock in Australia and spread COVID-19 to NSW.

Attorneys-general from states and territories throughout Australia have also been invited to make submissions.

The High Court writ follows several other challenges making their way through Victoria’s courts, including the curfew challenge in Victoria’s Supreme Court and at least three class actions filed in relation to the botched hotel quarantine scheme.

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In a statement provided to The Age on Sunday, Mr Gerner said: “I am the plaintiff and reside on the Mornington Peninsula where I own a restaurant and bar located in Sorrento”.

“The Victorian government has engaged in an unnecessary lockdown of the state and the economy, denying our basic freedoms as Australian citizens under our federal constitution, including our right to freedom of movement,” Mr Gerner said.

“We will apply to the court for a declaration confirming these freedoms and to set aside the disproportionate and unreasonable responses imposed by the Victorian government.”

The High Court has recently finalised their listings for October and November and may have to sit on additional days or suspend other hearings if a judge deems the case of sufficient importance to hear urgently.

The matter has not yet been listed for an initial hearing.

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