Melbourne Forum 2020: Webinar 1

Webinar 1: Emergency Powers and COVID-19

The fifth Melbourne Forum on Constitution Building in Asia and the Pacific has been organised as a series of four online seminars. The first webinar was held on 3 September 2020.

Video of Webinar 1 - Melbourne Forum 2020

This session examined the use and effectiveness of constitutional emergency powers, the alternatives to them and the role of representation in either case.

Papers were produced to frame the discussions of case studies from five countries:

Questions to be considered in relation to each case included:

  • What were the main mechanisms used to handle the COVID 19 challenges, both health and economic? With what effects on ‘normal’ government?
  • Was a constitutional emergency power available? If so, was it used?  If not, why not?
  • Were other forms of emergency power used? Did they fit within the constitutional framework?
  • In either case, were representatives involved in the approval or scrutiny of the measures taken?
  • Were there other forms of oversight of the responses to the pandemic; for example, through courts?
  • Is there an end in sight to the use of emergency measures?
  • How well did the measures taken work?
  • What positive or negative lessons can be taken from the experiences in this case?