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Covid Vaccine mandates ruled illegal by Queensland Supreme Court

On 27 February 2024, the Queensland Supreme Court published it’s decision in a case concerning the validity of covid vaccine mandates issued by parts of the public service in Queensland. Although the decision specifically relates to Queensland Health and Queensland Police service, it should be applicable to any other public entity in Queensland who mandated their employees to have Covid vaccines.

The Supreme Court determined that the mandates were unlawful under section 58 of the Human Rights Act 2019.

That section, in part says:

It is unlawful for a public entity—
(a) to act or make a decision in a way that is not compatible with human rights; or
(b) in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a human right relevant to the decision.

The Supreme Court also struck down a number of policies and directions which gave effect to the mandate.

At the present time, this only applies to public entities in Queensland but other states may follow suit. There is a window period for the government to appeal so the issue may not be completely resolved.

This decision also raises questions about compensation in cases where employees were required to comply with the policies and directions in order to keep their employment and would other wise have decided not to have the injection. It may also impact the rights of anyone who was dismissed for failing to comply with the directions.

In the event that you are interested in reading the entire decision (or are having trouble sleeping), you can find the full text of the decision at this link:

Johnston & Ors v Carroll & Another [2024]QSC2

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