Challenge over WA police vaccine mandate

Challenge over WA police vaccine mandate

A last-ditch legal challenge has been launched against a requirement for all West Australian police officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The application for judicial review in the WA Supreme Court comes ahead of Wednesday's deadline for all police employees to have had at least one vaccine dose.

Launched on behalf of Senior Constable Ben Falconer by Hotchkin Hanly Lawyers, it argues the direction is “disproportionate or not rationally connected to its stated aim”.

A crowdfunding page for the legal action has raised more than $24,000 after being established earlier this month.

“Contrary to what some will have you believe, these members are not mentally deranged anti-vaxers (sic), they are hard-working and dedicated employees who love serving the community of WA,” a description on the GoFundMe page says.

“But more than that, they are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.

“I think the community of WA simply cannot afford to lose any police employees, and the experience in combined service of this group is not something that can be replaced by recruiting new members.”

Fly-in, fly-out resources workers, prison guards and fire and emergency services staff are among others who must have received their first vaccine dose by Wednesday.

A larger cohort including retail and hospitality workers have until the end of the year to get jabbed.

WA is expected to reopen its borders in late-January or early-February, subject to 90 per cent of people aged 12 and over being fully vaccinated.

About 85 per cent of West Australians have now received at least one dose but there has been backlash over the mandates from a vocal minority, some of whom have levelled violent threats against the premier and other leaders.

WA Police deputy commissioner Col Blanch last week said officers who refused to get vaccinated before the deadline would likely lose their jobs.

He expected the final number to be fewer than two dozen.

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