Vaccine passports: More freedom but high or reasonableness, Australia might soon be following other countries around the world, such as countries in the EU and the UK,
and be issuing vaccine passports in a bid to restore the economy to some form of pre-pandemic normality.
Fully vaccinated people would then be granted greater freedom of movement such as entry to restaurants,
bars, sports, concerts, and the opportunity to travel.
Australia is currently setting up a mandate where it creates negative consequences for individuals who have not been vaccinated.
Under this mandate, it will be up to businesses to decide whether to deny entry to those without proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.
SPC and Qantas have already mandated that their employees need to be vaccinated to keep their job.
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“We’ve long had vaccinations in certain sectors such as aged care and childcare where flu vaccination is required.
We’ve seen mandates nationally around aged care in New South Wales for quarantine workers, for construction workers and more recently,
healthcare workers,” said Professor Justine Nolan, Director of the Australian Human Rights Institute.
context and reasonableness.
But it comes down to context and reasonableness.
“My view is that the federal government should lay down some general standards in this area.
I think it’s unrealistic to expect every business to make their own separate judgement in light of the basic medical advice,
and also their own circumstances and to get it right.
Some will be very risk averse. And they perhaps will mandate vaccination when they shouldn’t,” Scientia Professor George Williams AO said regarding the ‘vaccine passport to freedom’.
“Others won’t be risk averse enough and actually won’t go down a path. And as a result, we may expose the community to a greater risk. It’s a classic case of needing clear government standards,” Prof. Williams said.
In times of crisis, it is possible to limit human rights to protect goals such as public health and safety, said Prof. Nolan.
“However, when rights are restricted, the onus is on the government to demonstrably justify every restriction including showing
there are no less restrictive means to achieve a legitimate purpose.
But in these circumstances, it is possible to restrict entry to specific venues based on public health. As Australia does not currently have a National Human Rights Act, restrictions on rights cannot be readily appealed.