Submission: COVID-19 Vaccination Status (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2022 (Cth) (Discrimination Bill) and the Fair Work Amendment (Prohibiting COVID-19 Vaccine Discrimination) Bill 2023 (Cth) (FW Amendment Bill)

NSWCCL supports the right to decide whether or not to receive a vaccine. We acknowledge that people have valid reasons for choosing to refuse a vaccination (including medical and religious reasons). NSWCCL also supports the objective that the broader community is deserving of the greatest level of health and wellbeing available to them.  This includes employers and business providing a safe work environment and complying with state and federal work health and safety laws, employees and other workers having the right to a safe work environment, and vulnerable and at-risk members of society who are susceptible to the effects of COVID-19 (e.g. the immunocompromised) being safe in the community.

In our view, the Bills in question, unreasonably and disproportionately protect the unvaccinated at the expense of the rights of other members of the community. Based on the generally accepted medical science, the Bills are incompatible with human rights.

In our submission we argue that these Bills, in their current form, should be opposed. They do not achieve an adequate balance between the rights of unvaccinated people to live their lives without interference and the rights of businesses, workers and the broader community to protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19.

Section 351 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) in its current form adequately affords protection to unvaccinated people (when balancing the right to be unvaccinated against the rights of the broader community), making the proposed FW Amendment Bill redundant.

Read our full submission here.