Second lockdown a ‘foreseeable’ result of hotel quarantine, lawsuit claims

Victoria‘s second and longest lockdown was the result of negligence from those running the state’s hotel quarantine program, lawyers for those suing the government say. Read on the Daily Telegraph

Victoria has now been plunged into its fourth lockdown. Picture: Flickr / The 3B’s

Victoria‘s second and longest lockdown was the result of negligence from those running the state’s hotel quarantine program, lawyers for those suing the government said.

The application to dismiss two anti-lockdown lawsuits continued in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday, where the state government is attempting to have the cases thrown out.

Brought by individual Jordan Roberts and restaurant 5 Districts NY, the class actions are seeking damages because of the economic losses caused by lockdown.

Lawyer for 5 Districts NY, Wendy Harris QC, said lockdown happened because hotel quarantine was not executed with effective infection prevention and control.

“The essence of our case is it’s not enough to simply contract with a hotel and say, ‘good luck with that, hope it goes well’ – and contract with the security guards and say, ‘do your best fellas’,” she said.

They are suing the state of Victoria, then-Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, Jobs Minister Martin Pakula, then-Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kym Peake, and Secretary of the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Simon Phemister.

Government lawyers on Monday argued the case should be thrown out before it even begins, arguing it was “futile”.

On Tuesday Ms Harris responded, telling Judge John Dixon the economic losses of lockdown were a direct result of failures of those listed in implementing the hotel quarantine scheme.

“If you do not implement that program with proper regard to proper infection prevention and control it is reasonably foreseeable that the virus will escape into the community,” she said.

“It was absolutely foreseeable by all of these individuals that if effective infection prevention and control measures weren’t implemented, Covid would spread and stage three or four measures would be imposed.”

Multiple anti-lockdown lawsuits have been brought against the lockdown, attacking the measure from different legal angles.

A challenge to the legality of curfew by Mornington Peninsula cafe owner Michelle Loielo failed, as did a High Court challenge by another Mornington Peninsula restauranter Julian Gerner.

A class action on behalf of residents in nine public housing towers that were the first to be forced into a hard lockdown is ongoing — but has been marred by issues when it was revealed the first lawyer representing the residents, Serene Teffaha, had her license to practice law revoked.

A suit brought by anti-lockdown protester Kerry Cotterill, claiming her implied constitutional right to freedom of political communication had been breached when she was fined for carrying a sign criticising Daniel Andrews, is also ongoing.

Justice Dixon will decide whether to throw the case out at a later date.

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