Court Told Vaxxination a ‘Free Choice’
By Lane Sainty
Vaccination certificates have been likened to driver’s licences on the third day of a controversial challenge to state public health orders.
A lawyer for Brad Hazzard has pointed out none of the people suing the Health Minister over vaccination mandates for certain workers have in fact been forced to get the Covid-19 jab.
Jeremy Kirk SC said it was a “notable” fact about the two civil cases before Justice Robert Beech-Jones on Tuesday, day three of the NSW Supreme Court hearing.
“Your Honour has before you 10 plaintiffs, all of whom claim they have been coerced and subject to duress such as to require vaccination,” Mr Kirk said.
“None of whom have been vaccinated.
“They have made their free choice not to get vaccinated, as they are perfectly entitled to do.”
Ten NSW citizens are attempting to overturn certain vaccination rules within the state public health orders.
The lawsuits against Mr Hazzard challenge aspects of the public health orders introduced by the government in a bid to control the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
In one, Natasha Henry and five other citizens are attempting to overturn rules requiring aged care workers to get the Covid-19 jab and prohibiting unvaccinated essential workers from leaving a local government area of concern for their jobs.
Another group, including construction worker Al-Munir Kassam, is asking the public health orders be declared invalid because they impugn their “personal liberty” and force them to undergo a medical procedure.
Ms Henry’s barrister Jason Harkess told the court his clients saw the vaccination rules as “compulsory medical treatment” that infringes on their right to bodily integrity.
“It is permanent in the sense that nobody can remove a vaccination and its consequences once it is injected,” he said.
“The right to earn a living is effectively taken away by these public health orders.”
One of the groups suing Mr Hazzard say the “right to earn a living” is eroded by vaccination mandates for certain industries.
Mr Kirk said “very simply, there is no requirement for vaccination” under the public health orders.
“Is there some economic pressure put to bear? Yes,” he said. “But fundamentally this is a restriction on movement.”
The barrister argued leaving an LGA of concern to attend work was an exemption, of which essential workers could take advantage, and it came with conditions like a litany of other laws.
He likened it to getting a licence.
“Whether it’s (for) driving a car or building a coal mine … You then have a choice as to whether you drive the car or build the coal mine, but if you do, you must comply with the conditions that apply,” he said.
Getting vaccinated was compared to getting a driver licence in court.
Mr Kirk also rejected the argument that needing to carry proof of vaccination violated fundamental rights.
It was no different to getting pulled over for a breath test and being asked to provide your licence, which is a condition of driving, he said.
“Again, that’s not some great intrusion on the privilege against self-incrimination.”
He urged Justice Beech-Jones to accept the evidence of Professor Kristine Macartney, the director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance and a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, who testified on the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.
“Every so often in a case one sees an expert where their mastery of the subject emanates out of them with everything that they say,” Mr Kirk said.
“And Professor McCartney was one of those people.
He said she had “showed enormous patience answering questions”.
The hearing continues on Wednesday.