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  • COVID vaccine mandate 'unlawful' for emergency services

    Author: AAP

COVID-19 vaccine mandates for Queensland police and ambulance service workers were made unlawfully, the state's Supreme Court has found.

The court on Tuesday delivered its judgments in three lawsuits brought by 86 parties against Queensland Police Service and Queensland Ambulance Service for their directions to workers issued in 2021 and 2022.

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The judgments did not make a ruling or attempt to make a decision about the transmissibility of a particular variant of COVID-19 or the efficacy of a particular vaccine.

The prior directions required emergency service workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots or face potential disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

The court found Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll failed to give proper consideration to human rights relevant to the decision to issue the vaccine mandate.

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Former Department of Health director-general Dr John Wakefield was unable to prove he issued the vaccine mandate under an implied term of the employment agreements for ambulance service workers.

As a result, both vaccine mandates were found by the court to be "unlawful" and to have no effect.

The court also found the directions limited the human rights of workers because they were required to undergo a medical procedure without full consent but it was reasonable in all the circumstances.

Senior Judge Administrator Glenn Martin said the police and ambulance services were trying to prevent their employees from suffering infection, serious illness and life-changing health consequences.

"The balance between the importance of the purpose of the limitation, and the importance of preserving the human right ... is complicated by the fact that these directions were given in what was, by any measure, an emergency," he said.

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