Judge rules COVID vaccine mandate “unlawful” for Queensland emergency service workers   

Australia’s Queensland Supreme Court has ruled that the COVID vaccine mandates implemented on police and ambulance workers violated their Human Rights Act.

Judge rules COVID vaccine mandate “unlawful” for Queensland emergency service workers   

In 2022, both police and ambulance service workers questioned the constitutionality of the mandate. Multiple lawsuits were filed.

Penalties for non-compliance of the mandate included potential discharging of employees.

The Supreme Court judge ruled on Tuesday that police commissioner, Katarina Carroll, imposed the mandates in violation of employees’ human rights. 

Justice Glenn Martin found that section 58 of the Human Rights Act was breached, ruling the vaccine mandates as “unlawful.”  

The judge also claimed that the former director-general of the Department of Health had no authority to impose the mandate under the employment agreement for the workers. 

Government downplays Supreme Court decision

While the judge ruled the vaccine mandates were “unlawful” and infringed on the workers’ right to decide their own medical treatment, he also stated “these directions were given in what was, by any measure, an emergency.”

He added that non-compliance to the COVID vaccines could lead to “life-changing consequences” and the police and ambulance services were acting in good faith to prevent harmful health risks. 

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman claimed that Carroll “did not give significant consideration of the human rights of employees” however, she downplayed the ruling, saying that the judge “did find that the limit on people’s human rights to have healthcare imposed upon them without consent was justified because of the pandemic.”

Justin Sibley, a lawyer representing some of the police workers, called the entire process a travesty of justice. 

“The fact that they were terminated even though this outcome was waiting is a pretty sad indictment,” he said.

In November, the United Health Care Workers of BC launched a Class Action lawsuit against Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, asserting that mandatory vaccination orders have resulted in significant harm to unionized health care workers. 

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