Anyone caught doing so could spend up to six months in prison and face up to an $11,000 fine in NSW and $19,800 in Victoria.2,3

And the scariest part? Police have the ultimate power to determine whether or not the excuse is deemed "reasonable" – placing people at the whim of an institution with a record of mistreating communities of colour, First Nations people and those sleeping rough.

NSW and Victoria aren't alone, Queenslanders can be issued on the spot fines for leaving their house without a reasonable excuse4 and in Western Australia police are putting tracking bracelets on individuals in self-isolation5.

We need to be able to ensure police are using their new powers responsibly. Because if they don't, it could have devastating effects on already marginalised groups.

Each State and Territory must create an oversight body with the powers to hold police accountable and:
  • Investigate the government and police response to COVID-19
  • Monitor the application of new police powers
  • Investigate instances of discriminatory policing or police misconduct
  • Receive submissions from citizens who report instances of police brutality

Can you put pressure on States and Territories to hold police accountable for their actions?

References:
[1] Six months in jail, $11,000 fine for leaving home without a 'reasonable excuse', SMH, 31 March 2020.
[2] Six months in jail, $11,000 fine for leaving home without a 'reasonable excuse', SMH, 31 March 2020.
[3] Directions from Deputy Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from declared state of emergency, Victorian Government.
[4] Australia's strict new coronavirus social distancing rules explained: state by state guidelines, The Guardian, 31 March 2020.
[5] Coronavirus sparks WA plan for electronic tracking, 10 years in jail for COVID-19-related crimes, ABC News, 31 March 2020.