Court bid over rules


NOT one to do things by halves, Sorrento restaurateur Julian Gerner is leading what’s been described as a “novel” and “bold” High Court bid to force a relaxation of Victoria’s tough COVID-19 lockdown rules.

The proprietor of Morgan’s bar and restaurant and former owner of The Continental hotel will argue that the five-kilometre rule and essential worker permits are a disproportionate response in the fight against the virus.

Mr Gerner will contend that the restrictions go against citizens’ implied rights of freedom of movement within the states to take part in personal, family, recreational and commercial activities – in short, to go about their normal business.

The action is seen as a pre-emptive strike by businesses – notably the Unlock Hospitality group – against a any extension of the tough stage four restrictions which have devastated economic activities – particularly in the hospitality industry.

Sources said the High Court would hear the case on 6 November, while Premier Daniel Andrews was scheduled to announce seome relaxation of the measures on Sunday (19 October).

Mr Gerner, who would not comment on the action as it was before the court, hired prominent silks Bret Walker, SC, and Michael Wyles, QC, to mount his case.

Monash University constitutional law expert Luke Beck has described the legal challenge as “novel” and “bold” but not without merit.

“There are examples of bold arguments being successful before,” he was reported as saying.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 20 October 2020


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