In a landmark ruling this week, the Queensland Supreme Court declared that COVID-19 vaccine mandates for frontline workers, specifically Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) staff, breached certain aspects of human rights laws.

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This decision, stemming from challenges made by dozens of QPS and QAS personnel against workplace mandates in 2022, has sent ripples through the legal and governmental landscape of Australia.

Justice Glenn Martin found that the directives failed to comply with section 58 of the Human Rights Act (HRA), emphasizing the necessity for public service employees to consider human rights thoroughly before making decisions.

The decision also opens the door for more claims, as law experts predict this is just “the first of a wave of claims” we’re likely to see in the coming months.

Furthermore, it poses questions about the impact on other industries and whether employees who were terminated for non-compliance with vaccine mandates will have a pathway to reinstatement or compensation.

In light of this ruling, Family First reiterates its call for a Royal Commission into state and federal government responses to the pandemic.

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Such an inquiry would provide a thorough and transparent examination of the decisions made during this unprecedented global health crisis, ensuring accountability and learning lessons for future emergencies.

“The Albanese Government’s current inquiry is toothless and does not include the role state governments played in lockdowns and coercing people to be vaccinated when the then Prime Minister Scott Morrison was continually asserting that vaccination was a free choice,” Family First National Director Lyle Shelton said.

Moreover, Family First urges the immediate lifting of remaining COVID-19 vaccine mandates that are still unnecessarily affecting thousands of frontline workers like nurses and firefighters.

“It’s insane that people are still out of work and the court ruling raises questions of compensation for those unjustly treated,” Shelton said.

“This court decision underscores the importance of respecting individual freedoms and rights.”

It is time to review and revise current policies to ensure they are both effective in protecting public health and respectful of human rights and personal choices.

Family First believes that this ruling is a wake-up call for all levels of government to prioritize transparent, fair, and rights-respecting policies.

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Lyle Shelton is National Director of the Family First Party. He started his career as a rural journalist before being elected as a member of the Toowoomba City Council and serving the Australian Christian Lobby for 10 years, half of that decade as ACL's Managing Director. He was a Director and spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage during the 2017 postal survey campaign which resulted in the legal undefinition of marriage. He also blogs here.

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