Police take legal action on jabs
A lawyer for a group of Queensland Police Service (QPS) employees has described a vaccine mandate as “discriminatory”.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says all civilian staff and police must have at least one vaccination shot by October 4 and a second dose by January 24 next year.
Staff that fail to meet the deadline will be suspended for a week on pay and asked to show cause as to why they should not be suspended without pay.
A group of 47 Queensland police employees (30 of whom are sworn officers) and their families have set up a crowd-funding page to raise money for a legal challenge, launching an industrial dispute process against the QPS relating to the mandate.
News outlets have allegedly obtained a copy of a letter sent to Commissioner Carroll by lawyer Thomas Allan.
The letter claims the “group members object to the directive and prospective changes in the conditions of their employment consequent on any failure to comply with the directive”, according to the ABC, because they were not consulted before the edict was made.
“… the directive and prospective changes in the conditions of their employment consequent on any failure to comply with the directive is discriminatory,” it said.
Mr Allan says “normal work arrangements” should continue for the officers and staff who do not follow the directive.
“To avoid doubt, as you are aware, this means that you cannot lawfully enforce the Directive on 4 October, 2021, until this dispute process has been concluded,” he said.
The QPS says it sought independent legal advice on the vaccination mandate.
“The QPS is mandating vaccinations for the entire workforce in all QPS workplaces within the next five months to protect employees, their families and the community from COVID-19,” a spokesperson said.
“The dynamic nature of policing means frontline officers interact with large volumes of people and move around to all corners of the state.
“It is important the Queensland community have confidence and feel safe when interacting with their police.
“While we respect individual choice and we will continue to engage closely with our members as we implement the directive, our overwhelming obligation is to ensure we have safe workplaces and a safe community.”
A separate legal challenge involving seven QPS staff who say the mandate is against human rights and anti-discrimination laws has been launched. It will be heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday.
The second group wants a judicial review of the direction to be vaccinated.