Australian Law During COVID-19: Meeting the Needs of Older Australians?
This article focuses on the interests of older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. It analyses the implications of the pandemic for older Australians from a human rights perspective, recognising the need to understand ageing as a process that occurs throughout life. Although we focus on the interests of older Australians, defining what is meant by ‘older’ can be challenging. Furthermore, there are complex social discourses around ageing. While there is no Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, international human rights law is relevant to the rights of older persons. We analyse international human rights law, Australian human rights law, and Australian antidiscrimination law in terms of their relevance to the rights of older persons in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing a key feature of the pandemic, we also consider the impact of social isolation on older persons and the potential for technology to assist in overcoming social isolation. Finally, we analyse current Australian laws relating to participation of individuals in research where capacity has been lost or is diminishing.