News State Victoria News Victorian bar owner taking state government to court over lockdown

Victorian bar owner taking state government to court over lockdown

Cafes and pubs are reopening, but hospitality workers now face another challenge. Photo: Getty
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A Victorian restauranteur wants to take the state government to the High Court to argue the constitutional legality of its “aggressive and heavy-handed” coronavirus lockdown measures.

Lawyers for Julian Gerner, who lives on the Mornington Peninsula and owns a restaurant and bar in Sorrento, are due to file the challenge with the High Court of Australia on Monday.

Mr Gerner, who is represented by Brett Walker SC and Michael Wyles QC, is seeking an expedited court hearing.

His team will argue the Victorian Labor government has engaged in an “unnecessary lockdown of the state and the economy, denying our basic freedoms as Australian citizens under our federal Constitution, including our right to freedom of movement”.

“We will apply to the court for a declaration confirming these freedoms and to set aside the disproportionate and unreasonable responses and restrictions imposed by the Victorian government.”

Mr Gerner singled out a number of restrictions, including the rule that Melbourne residents cannot travel more than five kilometres from home.

“This is not what we signed up for and is inconsistent with a free society, representative democratic government and civilised living,” he said in a statement on Monday.

“Aggressive and heavy-handed enforcement of these restrictions has also alarmed most fair-minded people.”