The State of Western Australia has given itself the power to install surveillance devices in homes, or compel people to wear them, to ensure that those required to isolate during the coronavirus crisis don’t interact with the community.
Not all people will be required to use the devices. State Premier [equivalent to a US governor – ed.] Mark McGowan said they’ll only be used if: “Someone who is directed to self-isolate and fails to comply.”
The law enabling the regime, passed yesterday after very brief debate, is the Emergency Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 [PDF]. It outlines the monitoring regime, and the fact that the State Emergency Coordinator has the power to require use of surveillance hardware.
If the Coordinator makes that decision, they have the power to:
- Direct the person to wear an approved electronic monitoring device.
- Direct the person to permit the installation of an approved electronic monitoring device at the place where the person resides or, if the person does not have a place of residence, at any other place specified by the officer.
- Give any other reasonable direction to the person necessary for the proper administration the electronic monitoring of the person.
Attempts to damage, remove or interfere with the operation of the devices, or refusal to hand one over to authorised officers, can result in a year behind bars, or a fine of AU$12,000 (US$7,400, £5,900).