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Monday, January 24, 2022

West Australian police win small victory over vaccination mandates

Unvaccinated Western Australia Police (WA) officers narrowly escaped disciplinary action: a court hearing forced the state police commissioner to temporarily suspend the dismissals of unvaccinated police officers and WA officers.

One member of the public prosecutor’s office was also required to leave the courtroom to call the police and stop the firing of an unvaccinated employee who was fired on the same day, December 16.

The Supreme Court hearing marks the first step in a lawsuit by Washington State Police led by Chief Constable Ben Falconer v. The state, its Chief Medical Officer and Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, over vaccination requirements.

Jordan McDonald, a former police officer who left the Washington State Police Department due to state vaccination demands, expressed concern that Dawson fought unfairly to punish unvaccinated officers.

In particular, MacDonald argued that Dawson’s recent appointment as head of the state’s vaccination department meant that his responsibility for increasing the number of vaccinations ran counter to his treatment of unvaccinated police officers.

Epoch Times Photos
Western Australian Police Commissioner Chris Dawson speaks to the media during a press conference in Perth, Australia on April 26, 2021 (AAP Image / Richard Wainwright)

“He is the head of all police officers, but now he is also the head of the vaccination department, which deals with the logistics and administration of the vaccine. So there is a clear conflict of interest, ”MacDonald told The Epoch Times.

Despite the ongoing lawsuit, Dawson initially sought to continue the layoffs of unvaccinated personnel that began on December 1, prompting Falconer to impose an injunction that temporarily allowed layoffs to be delayed.

Dawson and the Chief Medical Officer also announced that they would be filing their own applications to end both trials as unfounded, including initial actions against the mandate and an injunction requiring the state to suspend staff layoffs.

“The state attorneys, through his direction, have stated that they will vigorously challenge and oppose the injunction. Now the only reason you will do this is if you want to continue with disciplinary matters, ”MacDonald said.

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
Photo of former Western Australian Police Officer Jordan McDonald in a remote village on the Dampier Peninsula in Western Australia in 2019. (Supplied)

“The Commissioner, through the attorney’s office, is manifestly ruthless and ruthless in wanting to continue firing all unvaccinated personnel. He wants all unvaccinated personnel to be fired before the beginning of the new year, and he does not hide this fact. “

Washington State Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In the next trial, an injunction will be issued on December 23, and, depending on the outcome, police officers could be fired until at least April 2022, when the final hearing of the original lawsuit takes place.

Although the original trial was initially directed only against the state and its chief medical officer, Dawson was added to the list after Falconer said the vaccination directives for the police were more far-reaching than those issued by the chief health inspector.

Specifically, it was argued that medical orders prohibited only police and police officers from visiting a Washington State police facility without being vaccinated, but that this should have allowed staff to continue working if they could find other options, such as working from home.

The verdict in favor of the unvaccinated police on December 23 is implied to be a watershed moment for other workers who will start similar litigation – such as those in the health and mining sectors – who can protect their employees from firing until the last hearing in April.

Epoch Times Photos
Epoch Times Photos
Protesters protest vaccination demands during a World Rally for Freedom in Perth, Australia on November 20, 2021 (The Epoch Times)

This comes after the Washington State Labor government’s decision to impose strict vaccination requirements for 75 percent of the state’s workforce – more than a million workers – for health care, mining, police and other industries that must choose between an injection or a job.

But the demands were met with resistance: since the beginning of October, residents of Western Australia have protested 16 times.

The state’s chief industry authority said last month that approximately 71,000 employees, or 4.8 percent of the workforce, have yet to receive their first dose of the drug. Of these, 39,000 are due to do so by February 2022, with non-compliance costing the state $ 2.9 billion ($ 2.1 billion).

The state government also announced that it would ease border restrictions on vaccinated residents from February 5, 2022, but introduce stricter vaccination passports for less vaccinated regions.

Daniil Khmelev

To follow

Daniel Khmelev is a Perth-based Australian reporter covering energy, technology and politics. He holds bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, physics and computer science. Contact him at [email protected]

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