Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Xboxes danced in their heads.
And mamma with her laptop and I with my cell phones,
Had just readied ourselves for our nightly Game of Thrones.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Police lights, red blue, oh how they did flash,
Surrounding St Nick as he made his mad dash.
The moon outlined all in its pearlescent glow,
Giving lustre of mid-day to objects below.
A miniature sleigh (or “aircraft” by section three
Of the Air Navigation Act, Nineteen Twenty)!
With little old driver, looking pale and sick,
Patient number zero: there was St Nick.
A “suspected person” if ever there was,
Refusing quarantine, was that fevered Claus.
“Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!”
He shouted to nothing as he was surrounded,
Fever further addling his mind compounded.
For if a “suspected person” won’t comply,
With quarantine regulations, others might die.
And so Public Health Acts proscribe varied means,1
Of enforcing detention on dangers it deems.
The bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
Were just as restricted by Quarantine Act.2
The ingress of persons, plants, animals, vessels,
Are controlled by Act, as diseases by cresols.
By failing procedures on entering Australia,
Visiting countless other homes of mammalia,
St Nick posed a risk that could not be valid,
To let one roam, with complexion so pallid.
He spoke not a word, as they took him away,
But asked for a lawyer, the very next day.
The two were in counsel, for all of the night,
Then Boxing Day, roused the High Court for their fight.
An exemption, they argued, may exist under,
Section fourteen, the Governor-General may blunder.
To exempt “persons, animals, plants or good”
From operation of Act, it was understood.
Amicus Curiae requested: what should be done?
Papers submitted; the NHMRC sent one.
Part Four of the Act eventually succeeded,3
The Court said further clarification was needed.
St Nick was a “vector”, that much was admitted,
With the right monitoring, he’d be permitted,
Though global healthcare was going through a crisis,
He’d continue next Christmas with appropriate license.
For more information about The Laws of Australia, click here.
- See, eg Public Health Act 1997 (ACT); Public Health Act 1991 (NSW); Notifiable Diseases Act 1981 (NT); Public Health Act 2005 (Qld); Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 (SA); Public Health Act 1997 (Tas); HIV/AIDS Preventative Measures Act 1993 (Tas); Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic); Health Act 1911 (WA).
- Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth).
- Quarantine Act 1908 (Cth), Pt VIA.