THE PRICELESS MOMENT QCCL PRESIDENT GAVE MPS A LESSON ON POLICITAL EUPHEMISMS AND THE TRUE MEANING OF ‘QUARANTINE’ …

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties seems to be copping a bit of flak in the comments section of yesterday’s post.

I thought it might be a good time to share an exchange I witnessed last January, when the Government put forward an earlier Bill extending the State’s emergency powers.

On that occasion, the Bill was dealt with by the Health Committee, of which I am a member.

Michael Cope, President of QCCL, appeared before the Committee back then as well, and caused something of a stir by constantly referring to quarantining orders as “Detention”.

The QCCL President told MPs on the Committee that people “ought to have a right to go to a magistrate to contest their DETENTION and certainly they ought to have that right if it is going to be extended beyond a 14-day period”.

“As far as we are concerned, just because it is a pandemic does not mean you lose your right to have your detention reviewed.”

“You are being deprived of your liberty.  You may be being deprived of your liberty for a perfectly good reason and it is not because you have done anything wrong, but you are still being deprived of your liberty.”

“It is a fundamental principle of the rule of law and human rights jurisprudence that you should have a right to review that detention.”

“As far as we are concerned, it is fundamental.  The fact that it is a pandemic does not alter that”.

Finally, one of the Government members of the Committee could restrain herself no longer, asking Mr Cope in a reproving voice:

“You talk about detention and I just want to get some clarity.  Are you referring to quarantining when you talk about detention?”

Mr Cope’s response was priceless:

“YES.  IT IS DETENTION.  PEOPLE ARE BEING DETAINED AGAINST THEIR WILL.  IT IS DETENTION BY ANY UNDERSTANDING OF THAT TERM”.

It was hard to hide my grin as the Chair swiftly closed the session after the feisty Mr Cope’s no-nonsense response.

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