Law in War: Freedom and restriction in Australia during the Great War
by Catherine Bond
NewSouth, $34.99 pb, 246 pp
As with many authors, Covid-19 forced Catherine Bond to cancel the launch event for her new book. But unlike most authors’ work, the contemporary relevance of Bond’s latest book has been considerably heightened by the ongoing pandemic. Indeed, in the midst of this crisis it is hard to imagine a historical text timelier than Law in War: Freedom and restriction in Australia during the Great War. A century later, lessons from that era are still instructive today.
Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on people’s lives. At the time of writing, Australians cannot leave their homes except in narrowly defined circumstances. Domestic and international borders have been sealed. The government is effectively underwriting the economy. In a society governed by law, these changes have been brought about by hastily drafted legislation and regulation. The extent of the power now lawfully wielded by Australia’s federal and state executives is unparalleled in living memory.