Jab mandates for Queensland’s police and healthcare workers will be tested in the Brisbane Supreme Court with a date locked in for the legal showdown.
The Monday deadline set for police to receive their first COVID-19 jab has been postponed for the seven officers behind the legal challenge as they fight a direction they say ‘impairs, affects or removes their fundamental common law rights’.
A similar challenge targeting mandatory jabs for the state’s healthcare workers is also before the court, a directions hearing was told on Thursday.
Commissioner Katarina Carroll has directed civilian staff and police to have at least one vaccination shot by October 4 and a second dose by January 24 next year
The legal parties have been given until October 12 to prepare their material, including the statement of reasons behind the direction.
Justice David Boddice told the applicants’ lawyer he will need to convince him then if they want an extension of the mandate stay, encouraging them to make an application for an exemption in the interim.
‘This is, at the end of the day, a matter that goes to public health issues,’ he said.
‘The decision-maker has made a decision in relation to the impact it has upon the particular workforce and you are challenging that decision.
‘If you are wrong … the consequences of stopping the directive could be dramatic.
‘It could in fact harm people.’
Under the police direction, exemptions can be given for health or religious reasons or in exceptional circumstances, the court was told.
The matters are expected to be heard in full in the week of October 18.
More than $110,000 has been raised to bankroll the police officers’ legal bid through GoFundMe.
‘We seek donations from the Australian community at large who support this cause to help us meet the legal costs associated with testing the validity of this mandate,’ the crowdfunding bid states.
The Monday deadline set for police to receive their first COVID-19 jab has been postponed for the seven officers behind the legal challenge (pictured: a Queensland Police officer gets his vaccine earlier this month)
‘We are not pro- or anti- the vaccine – this is not a pro- or anti- vaccine matter.
‘It is a question of whether our employers, on behalf of the government, can authorise civil conscription and interfere with the relationship between a patient and their doctor by mandating a vaccine.’
Commissioner Katarina Carroll has directed civilian staff and police to have at least one vaccination shot by October 4 and a second dose by January 24 next year.
She has said previously any staff member who fails to meet the deadline will be suspended for a week on pay and then asked to show cause why they should not be suspended without pay.
‘I’m actually disappointed in that (challenge), because at the end of the day my responsibility is for the safety of all my police officers in all of the community,’ she said on Wednesday.
‘What I’m trying to do is to get ahead of the game to make sure that if COVID does come into this state – more broadly like it has in other states – that we are prepared.’