Supreme Court hears case to overturn restrictions
Lawyers for the mum trying to overturn Victoria’s curfew say “there has never been a case in the history of this country of this nature” and that the curfew should be quashed immediately.
Barrister Vanessa Plain, acting in the Victorian Supreme Court for Mornington Peninsula cafe owner and aspiring Liberal MP Michelle Loielo, said the matter was “unprecedented” and the decision by the court will have “unique ramifications for the community”.
Ms Loielo filed a writ in the Supreme Court on Tuesday that argues the Daniel Andrews Government’s 9pm-5am curfew is invalid, irrational and illogical.
Ms Plain said there are questions of “credibility” that the Premier must answer.
“There is serious doubt as to whether there is a legitimate basis for the curfew,” she said.
She said “millions of healthy citizens” were being unnecessarily impacted by the decision to lock metropolitan Melbourne down after dark.
Ms Plain told Supreme Court Justice Tim Ginnane that the matter was “so grave” that it should be immediately referred to a higher court, specifically the Victorian Court of Appeal, on the grounds of “its extraordinarily unprecedented manner”.
But lawyers for the defendant, Victoria’s deputy public health commander Michelle Giles, said it was “premature” for the court to make any decisions about the matter.
Justice Ginnane said: “It is a case that deserves an urgent hearing” … “but I don’t think I could make a decision having only received documents this morning”.
“There are all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t make a decision today,” he said.
“This is a highly unusual case that obviously does affect (most of Victoria).”
He told the court the matter would be heard next week.
Ms Loielo’s writ follows a decision by the Premier to extend the curfew despite objections.
The 41-year-old mother-of-three says stage four lockdowns has cost her 99 per cent of her business.
She claims the curfew has violated her rights to freedom, liberty and security.
“Last week I made $400,” she wrote in a court affidavit supporting her claim.
“This situation troubles me greatly, as I am the sole financial provider for my three children.
“I am genuinely concerned that I am not going to be able to provide for my children if this situation continues.
“I am afraid that I will lose my house.
“Since the implementation of the curfew I would describe the home environment for my children and I as absolutely suffocating.
“Looking after the mental and emotional wellbeing of my children, coupled with the pressure of trying to keep my business afloat, has taken a significant toll on my health.
“The social isolation from my family and friends has been unbearable.”
The court documents argue Ms Giles “failed to give any real independent consideration to whether it was appropriate to make the curfew”.
Ms Loielo said her business, Unica Cucina E Caffe, in Capel Sound, used to bring in up to $20,000 a week.
She said other businesses along with hers had taken “an absolute beating” this year and she had now become heavily involved in local politics.
“I … am even taking a crack at being preselected to run for the next state election in the seat of Nepean for the Liberal party,” she said.
As part of stage four restrictions, Melburnians were not allowed to leave their homes between 8pm and 5am, but that was pushed back to start at 9pm from Monday.
The only exemptions from the curfew are for people going to work, seeking medical care or needing to provide caregiving.
It comes as legal action is being pursued 21-year-old Jordan Roberts, who filed a writ in the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking damages for shock, depression and loss of income.
In documents filed with the court, he alleges Health Minister Jenny Mikakos breached a duty of care she owed to the community.
— with Candace Sutton