The Viennese lawyer Dr. For the MFG party, Prchlik analyzed the new traffic restrictions that the government had sneakily smuggled into the epidemic law. Can the government now ban participation in demos? His conclusion is catastrophic – it is about one of the most important encroachments on fundamental rights of the present. Austria could therefore no longer be described as a liberal constitutional state.
The complete article can be found on the website of the party MFG-Austria, If you are interested, please follow this link. We summarize the most important findings of Dr. Prchlik on a topic that has been occupying many Austrians for days. Because there was a rumor that the Minister of Health would in future be able to arbitrarily decide who was allowed to take part in a rally for reasons of epidemic prevention and who was not. Prchlik summarizes the new provisions:
While previously the isolation of individuals through quarantine was only possible within the framework of administrative proceedings against the person concerned, whereby an appeal could be lodged with the administrative court against the decision, “traffic restrictions”, the effects of which are comparable to quarantine, can now be imposed on individuals by order of the Minister of Health, i.e. without an administrative procedure and without a decision that can be challenged at the administrative court.
Prchlik explains that the amendments to the Epidemic Act and the Covid-19 Measures Act were cheated into the laws using a trick, which, by the way, we have had to experience a few times in recent years. Two members of parliament (Gabriele Schwarz (ÖVP) and Ralph Schallmeier (Die Grünen)) brought in a seemingly harmless amendment – which was later massively extended and changed. As a result, no assessment or statement was possible – in and of itself an anti-democratic process and a disregard for Parliament. The proposed law was adopted by resolution of the National Council.
The new regulation for traffic restrictions includes, among other things:
Prerequisites and requirements for entering and driving on business premises, places of work, old people’s and nursing homes as well as residential facilities for disabled people, certain places and public places in their entirety, for using means of transport and for meetings (§ 1 COVID-19-Measures Act); the following are particularly relevant as conditions:
– the requirement to demonstrate that the epidemiological risk is only low,
– the obligation to wear a mechanical protective device covering the mouth and nose area and
– distance rules;
– if the above measures are not sufficient: the prohibition of entering and driving on business premises (!), places of work (!), old people’s and nursing homes as well as residential facilities for disabled people and certain places, the use of means of transport (!) and meetings.
Basically, the government wants to increase the pressure on people who do not submit to the government line and follow all orders dutifully and without contradiction. You should then be able to separate them arbitrarily and without legal procedures and restrict their freedom of movement. Prchlik concludes by stating:
A state in which massive freedom-restricting measures can be imposed without legal protection by independent courts hardly deserves the designation “liberal constitutional state”.
Analysis of unconstitutionality follows
By phone, Dr. However, Prchlik has the additional information that the last word has not yet been spoken. Because the regulations could not be reconciled with the constitution in several points. In terms of weighting, however, the Federal Constitution always takes precedence over laws or simple ordinances. In other words, fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly cannot be overturned at a lower level.