Palmer claims ‘victory’ in funding COVID vaccine case

Rex Martinich |

A court has found vaccine mandates for Queensland’s emergency services were not lawful.
A court has found vaccine mandates for Queensland’s emergency services were not lawful.

Billionaire businessman Clive Palmer claims to have set a worldwide precedent after funding a successful challenge to Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

The state’s Supreme Court on Tuesday found police and ambulance service workers were unlawfully directed to receive vaccines or face potential disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

“We have had a great victory for all Australians, especially those who were illegally coerced into taking the vaccine,” Mr Palmer said outside court.

The court on Tuesday delivered its judgments in three lawsuits brought by 86 parties against Queensland Police Service and Queensland Ambulance Service for their directions to workers issued in 2021 and 2022.

Mr Palmer said he provided between $2.5 million and $3 million towards the case.

“We can celebrate because this is the first precedent in the western world where a trial has gone the full distance and the court has found a trampling of human rights,” Mr Palmer said.

He said emergency services workers had been extremely courageous and called on Queensland Premier Steven Miles to offer compensation to all people given an unlawful direction on vaccines.

The judgments did not make a ruling or attempt to make a decision about the transmissibility of a particular variant of COVID-19 or the efficacy of a particular vaccine.

Some of the police and ambulance workers who brought the case declined to comment outside court.

Dylan Johnston (left) and Clive Palmer
Dylan Johnston, the lead plaintiff in the case, with Clive Palmer outside the Supreme Court (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said the government was considering the court’s decision, but the findings did not determine COVID-19 vaccine mandates were contrary to the Human Rights Act.

“His Honour did find the limit on people’s human rights to have healthcare imposed on them without consent was justified because of the pandemic,” she told reporters.

Mr Palmer denied the court’s ruling had set a precedent that vaccine mandates in any future pandemic could be implemented lawfully and the case had been won on a technicality.

“There will be another case … I think every case is dealt with on its merits. The judge found that the police commissioner and the director-general of health acted unlawfully,” Mr Palmer said.

The court found Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll failed to give proper consideration to human rights relevant to the decision to issue the vaccine mandate.

Former Department of Health director-general Dr John Wakefield was unable to prove he issued the vaccine mandate under an implied term of the employment agreements for ambulance service workers.

An ambulance in Brisbane (file image)
Paramedics and police faced disciplinary action if they failed to get COVID shots. (Russell Freeman/AAP PHOTOS)

As a result, both vaccine mandates were found by the court to be “unlawful” and to have no effect.

The court also found the directions limited the human rights of workers because they were required to undergo a medical procedure without full consent, but it was reasonable in all the circumstances.

Justice Glenn Martin found the police and ambulance services had been trying to prevent their employees from suffering infection, serious illness and life-changing health consequences.

“These directions were given in what was, by any measure, an emergency,” he said.