Supreme Court to hear the case of WA's unvaccinated police force

A 'pro-choice' officer initiated the proceeding against a public health order

Supreme Court to hear the case of WA's unvaccinated police force

The Supreme Court of Western Australia has recently ruled over an application for judicial review against a public health order that restricted the access of unvaccinated police officers in the state’s facilities and police work premises.

The challenged health order essentially states that a WA police force worker “must be partially vaccinated against COVID‑19 by 1 December 2021, and fully vaccinated by 31 December 2021.” Generally, it says that the said workers “must not enter or remain at a police facility” if they fail to comply. The applicant said the direction was “legally irrational.”

The public health order said its purpose is to “address the unique risks posed by COVID-19” against the state’s police force since they are “exposed to vulnerable groups and the general community.”

The applicant is a WA senior constable. According to court records, he said that he “does not ’at this time’ want to be administered with a vaccine for COVID‑19.” He also said he “does not agree to be vaccinated, particularly where it is mandated” and then described himself as “pro-choice.”

Aside from challenging the public health order, he also filed a proceeding against the WA Commissioner of Police’s “employer direction,” which required vaccination. The latter’s office brought disciplinary proceedings against him for non-compliance, but the applicant successfully challenged it. In an earlier decision, the court restrained the Commissioner from dismissing him.

As to his application for judicial review against the public health direction itself, the court found that the case “needs to be better particularised.” It then ordered him to provide “full particulars” against the public health order and said the grounds of his case require evidence at trial.

A trial date has yet to be announced.

The decision was delivered on 12 January.

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