Date: 13 July 2022
Tribunal: Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
Tribunal Member: Power IC
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: ss 13, 20, 21
Rights Considered: Right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief; Right to freedom of expression
Other Legislation: Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld); Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) sch 1 s 348; Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) ss 562B, 562C; Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) ch 7; Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld); Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld)
Keywords: Public Law Considerations: COVID-19 Directions; Political Freedoms: Freedom of religion, thought conscience, and belief

This matter concerned appeal brought against the Queensland Ambulance Service’s policy of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination. An appeal under ch 11 pt 6 div 4 Industrial Relations Act 2016 (QLD) involves a review of the decision arrived at and the decision-making process associated therewith: at [13]. The purpose of such an appeal is to decide whether the decision appealed against was fair and reasonable: at [14].

The Appellant submitted that, inter alia, his human rights had not been properly considered: at [16], [20]. Though none of the relevant provisions of the Human Rights Act 2019 (QLD) were explicitly referenced, sections 13, 20 and 21 were in issue.

The Respondent’s submitted the Appellant’s human rights were considered throughout an exemption application process undertaken by the Appellant, and any limitations of the Appellant’s human rights were justified by the need protect public safety from the threat of COVID-19: at [17].

The Tribunal found that the original decision had considered and justifiably limited the Appellant’s human rights to ensure the readiness of the health system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: at [33]-[35].

The appeal was dismissed.

Visit the judgment: Doedens v State of Queensland (Queensland Ambulance Service) [2022] QIRC 263