Well-known lawyer joins High Court border fight
THE State Government has been given a deadline to argue the toss on a constitutional challenge to Queensland's border closures, being brought to the High Court by a group of renegade business owners and individuals.
The deadline was set by Australian Chief Justice Susan Kiefel after the battle to cross the state lines was aired in the nation's highest court on Thursday.
In a directions hearing held in Brisbane, the High Court of Australia ordered lawyers for Queensland Chief Health officer Jeannette Young and Assistant Crown Solicitor Rob Hutchings to file their defence against the constitutional challenge to the border closures by June 8.
The group taking up the fight over Queensland's border closures includes Mount Ommaney Travel agency Travel Essence and the parent company of Reefinity Adventures who run a charter service on the Great Barrier Reef, who both say they have suffered financial hardship as a result of the border closure.
Linen hire company - Super Services Group - and their director Paul Jeffery are also parties to the action, who say they have been unable to grow their business outside of Queensland and NSW due to the restrictions.
The fifth, and most surprising challenger to the border closures, is high-profile Sydney criminal lawyer Zali Burrows, who most recently represented Salim Mehajer.
She argues the closure has impeded her ability to travel interstate for social and recreational purposes.
During Thursday's hearing, barrister Guy Reynolds SC argued the challengers should be granted access to the documents relied on when making the decision to close the border.
"We can't move forward at all on this case without those documents, they are essential and would be provided in any administrative law case," he said.
"It puts us in an impossible position and it's absurd for them not to be providing these documents in this situation."
But Queensland Solicitor-General Sandy Thompson QC opposed the access to the documents and told the court a subpoena that had been filed for them had been invalidly lodged by the challengers.
Chief Justice Kiefel refused to make an order granting access to the material sought by those fighting to reopen the border.
A separate constitutional challenge to the border closures being brought by billionaire businessman Clive Palmer's flagship company Mineralogy and others is likely to be heard in the first week of July, according to a short directions hearing also held today.
Mineralogy and Travel Essence's cases will return to court on June 12.
Originally published as Well-known lawyer joins High Court border fight