The Queensland Chief Health Officer (CHO) John Gerrard has once again proven he is above the law. After getting away with his remarks on 5 April 2022 that incited hatred towards community members who disagreed with mandatory vaccines and vaccine discrimination, he has now been given the green light to continue making decisions that have “significant impact on the employment, recreation, rights to freedom of movement and bodily integrity of many people” (Judge Dalton, 5 April 2022).
On 5 April 2022 the Supreme Court of Queensland held proceedings to challenge directions of the Chief Health Officer (CHO) under the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) and the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld). The interlocutory hearing (a hearing that determines whether a court can make an order to help with case preparation and to stop parties acting unfairly or unethically) brought about my health professionals and police was dismissed by Judge Dalton. The dismissal was on the grounds that the CHO could refuse to provide justification for decisions as they were legislative rather than administrative based. This reasoning goes against the Queensland Health Department’s own guidelines that clearly state informed consent is integral to providing quality, patient-centred healthcare.
For non-legal members of the public, the legislation relevant to whether the CHO can make life changing decisions without the need for justification is complicated and inaccessible. Members of the public rely on the health department to provide honest, complete, transparent, and accessible advice to support individual (informed) decision making. The ruling of Judge Dalton flies in the face of transparency – although it does align with escalating patterns of unscrupulous behaviours evident across the Queensland Government – as evidenced in mainstream media reporting over the last few months.
“Tyranny has well and truly replaced democracy in the name of Covid (Senator Gerard Rennick).”
Regardless of the decisions by the Supreme Court, the court of public opinion is slowly recognising that draconian rules that infringe on individuals’ rights to choose are flawed and unnecessary. Vaccination does not stop transmission, illness, hospitalisation, or death. So regardless of whether the CHO’s decisions are legislative or administrative in nature, the most pressing question to ask is why mandatory vaccination policies remain in place when they clearly have no impact on COVID-19 rates of transmission.