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Of Parole and Public Emergencies: Why the Victorian Charter Override Provision Should Be Repealed


Julie Debeljak

This article examines the override provision under the Victorian Charter. Relevantly, Parliament has used the override on two occasions regarding laws enacted to prevent parole being granted to prisoners except in extremely limited circumstances. Conversely, Parliament responded to the COVID-19 threat without resorting to temporarily suspending the Charter via an override. This article analyses the parole-setting uses of the override within the international context of the temporary suspension of rights, against the Charter mechanisms that allow for restrictions on rights, and against the principles underlying the Charter – the retention of parliamentary sovereignty and the creation of an inter-institutional dialogue about rights. These uses test the transparency of and accountability for rights-limiting decision-making, and the culture of justification the dialogue is supposed to engender. By way of contrast and conclusion, the article highlights the curiosity between the use of the override with parole legislation and the non-use of the override with COVID-19 legislation, and revisits the case to repeal the override.

Access the full article here or via PDF link to the left.

(2022) 45(2) UNSWLJ 570: