Friday, April 19, 2024

Human Rights Commission Speaks Up on Vaccine Mandates in Queensland

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The Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC), which has intervened in a number of Supreme Court cases challenging COVID-19 vaccine mandates, has said there is no “one size fits all approach” to determining the human rights compatibility of vaccine mandates.

Throughout the pandemic, the QHRC has called on the Queensland state government to publicly release how it has considered human rights when the Chief Health Officer (CHO) has made public health directions.

The CHO’s directions are the subject of civil legal challenges led by a group of Queensland teachers, after groups of teachers, health workers, and hospitality staff previously lost legal challenges, Brisbane Times reported.

In court documents obtained by Daily Mail, the QHRC said in a submission to the Supreme Court that Queensland CHO John Gerrard acted outside his powers when mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for teachers without considering the alternatives.

“The right not to be subjected to non-consensual medical treatment has clearly been limited by the directions and, on the evidence, other rights also,” the QHRC submission reportedly reads.

The Epoch Times has not independently verified the contents of the submission. However, in a statement released on April 11 (pdf), the QHRC confirmed it was involved in “several ongoing legal proceedings challenging vaccine mandates in the courts.”

However, the QHRC does not publish or release its court submissions until the legal challenges conclude.

In their statement, the QHRC said the requirements for people to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and their compatibility with human rights must be weighed on a case-by-case basis.

However, it didn’t “necessarily follow that subsequent or related actions or decisions are also justifiable” as a result of balancing the public health directions with their compatibility with human rights, the QHRC said.

“Requiring each action and decision to be assessed for human rights compatibility acknowledges that one size doesn’t fit all. That is a key purpose of human rights legislation.

“When it comes to vaccine mandates, this may mean that some mandates are justifiable while others are not.

“The factors to be taken into account here are numerous and include the purpose of the direction, the level of risk, whether there is a rational connection between the making of the direction and achieving its purpose, and whether there are alternative ways to ensure people’s safety in workplaces or service settings,” the authors of QHRC statement said.

According to Brisbane Times, lawyers for the groups of school, police, and hospitality staff requested that Gerrard reveal his reasons for mandating COVID-19 vaccinations specifically for their workforces.

But Gerrard reportedly said he was not obliged to justify his decision because the health orders were of “legislative character, not administrative character.”

Justice Jean Dalton agreed, but her decision has been appealed.

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Caden Pearson is a writer and editor based Cairns, Australia. He writes mostly on national politics, geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific, and COVID-19 measures and pushback. He has a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him on caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au

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