Date: 14 February 2023
Court/Tribunal: Queensland Industrial Relations Commission
Judicial Officer/Tribunal Member: Knight IC
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) Sections: ss 17, 58
Rights Considered: Right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
Other Legislation: COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Qld); Directive No 12/21 - Employee COVID-19 vaccination requirements cls 1, 7, 8, 10; Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 (Qld) ss 51A, 51B, 51E; Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) ss 562B, 562C; Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) s 197; Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) ss 19, 47, 48; Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Qld) ss 34, 36(2)
Keywords: Public Law Considerations: COVID-19 Directions

The appellant in this case had sought an exemption to mandatory vaccination requirements on the basis of exceptional circumstances. These circumstances included concerns regarding a lack of consultation, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine, and the incursion upon the appellant’s human rights. The appellant asserted that mandatory vaccinations were a breach of section 17 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) which provided the right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. The Commission held that the respondent had given proper consideration of the appellant’s human rights in their decision to refuse the exemption application. The Commission confirmed the respondent’s conclusion that any limitation upon the appellant’s human rights caused by the decision was justified by the purpose of ensuring the readiness of the health system responding to COVID-19, and to protect the lives of employees, patients and the community.

Visit the judgment: Fletcher v State of Queensland (Queensland Health) [2023] QIRC 045