The Australian Supreme Court has determined that COVID-19 vaccine mandates for police and ambulance workers in Queensland were unconstitutional. The court made the ruling in response to three separate lawsuits brought on behalf of workers who were given these mandates under threats of disciplinary action, including potential termination of employment. 

Supreme Court Justice Glenn Martin found that the mandate violated the Queensland Human Rights Act which states “a person’s right not to be subjected to medical treatment without full, free and informed consent (section 17(c) of the Human Rights Act 2019.” Specifically, Justice Martin determined the mandate violated the “free” consent portion of the human rights law. 

The court determined the mandates to otherwise be “reasonable and demonstrably justified.” More lawsuits and claims are expected throughout Australia in the coming months, but only Victoria and ACT territories have a similar human rights act like Queensland. 

A Bond University Law Professor, Wendy Boynthon, told ABC News Australia that the ruling could also apply to other professions, including “teachers, healthcare workers, and public servants.” 

The ruling does not require employees to be reinstated if they lost employment for not complying with the mandate. It does provide the opportunity for terminated employees to file suit in order to get their jobs back or potentially back pay for unlawful termination. 

The police mandate was determined unlawful on the finding that “more likely than not that the commissioner did not consider the human rights ramifications.” 

The Associate Lecturer Amy Thomasson, from The University of Western Australia’s Law School indicated that it is unlikely that this ruling will have any impact on other mandates in Australia. There were two attempts to overturn police vaccine mandates in Western Australia, but they both failed. 

Western Australia passed one of the most sweeping vaccine mandates at the end of 2021 that applied to the majority of the workforce. This included workers at financial institutions, grocery stores, restaurants, and hardware store employees among a long list of affected industries. 

The HighWire has reported on the rollout of the vaccine in Australia. In this report, Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan brought in an aboriginal elder to encourage people to get the vaccine. Del Bigtree interviewed Edward Dowd, a former Blackrock portfolio manager, about excess mortality statistics in Australia. The report found 18% excess deaths in 2022, a significant increase from the 4% excess deaths in 2021. There was a slight negative excess mortality rate in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. 

While Australia had one of the strictest lockdown protocols and the most sweeping vaccine mandates, the Supreme Court found the mandates for police and ambulance drivers to be a human rights violation. The Queensland Premier Steven Miles responded to the ruling and said “Certainly no regrets, the steps that we took to keep Queenslanders safe were the right steps and they worked. I’m very proud of Queensland’s response. That a testament to all the decisions we took.”

 

Steven Middendorp

Steven Middendorp is an investigative journalist, musician, and teacher. He has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 20 years. More recently, he has focused on issues dealing with corruption and negligence in the judicial system. He is a homesteading hobby farmer who encourages people to grow their own food, eat locally, and care for the land that provides sustenance to the community.

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