Qantas Jab Mandate Case
Re: the Legality of Mandating Covid Injections for Qantas Ariline Pilots as a Condition for Employment
Facts of the Case
- Dates: Jan 21, 2022 (filed)
- Location: Australia
- Court: Federal Court of Australia, Queensland
- Case #: QUD17/2022
- Plaintiff: Mr. Marc Motion & others
- Plaintiff’s Lawyer: Rob Grealy
- Defendant: Qantas Airways Ltd.
- Trial Type: Employment Contract Law
- Justice: Rangiah, Kylie Downes
- Status: Ongoing
- Verdict: TBD
*updated Dec 14, 2022
The “Magnificent Qantas 24” was a group of 24 Airline Staff, Now numbering 60!! These staff were brave enough to stand up for basic workplace rights and Freedom to Choose. All have now been terminated and egregiously accused of “Serious Misconduct” for deciding they didn’t want to take the risk of the injection.
As their site says: 
‘Freedoms have to be protected and fought for. This is why we, an all-volunteer group of Australian Air, Land and Sea professionals share a specific mission: to protect our inalienable rights.’ 
The employees terminated have brought a ‘breach of contract’ claim against Virgin Australia and Jetstar to the Federal Court, where their case centres around an alleged breaching of their EBA, the Work Health and Safety Act, Privacy Act, the Australian Human Rights Act, the Discrimination Act, and the Fair Work Act. 
The employees involved have expressed their unhappiness about what they feel is an infringement on their human rights that lacked – according to their opinion – meaningful consultation and appropriate individualised risk assessment. 
‘We are all unemployed since our terminations and … not in a position to fund the type of case the respondents are attempting to force upon us,’ said Shane Murdock, who is a former pilot at Virgin. 
Qantas, Virgin, and Jetstar were among the first businesses in the country to bring in mandatory vaccination requirements on staff and passengers during the Covid pandemic. Employees, including pilots, were given a short period of time to comply with vaccination orders or have their employment terminated. Those who are challenging the mandates in court refused to give ‘valid consent’ to vaccination and allege that the vaccine order, in their view, constituted a ‘significant material change’ to their existing employment EBA. 
Qantas announced in August 2021 that all frontline staff across the group, including pilots, cabin crew and ground services workers would be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 15 November, or face dismissal. 
After lodging their class action case with the Federal Court last month, the unvaccinated workers also applied for an urgent interim injunction to prevent Qantas from enforcing disciplinary action under the policy, allowing them to keep their jobs throughout the legal proceedings. 
The injunction was denied due to insufficient evidence. 
At the interlocutory hearing last month, Grealy argued that Qantas had “failed to undertake sufficient investigation into the safety of the available vaccines” before implementing the company-wide mandate. 
“We also say the requirement that employees provide copies of the vaccination certificate to be uploaded to a database is a breach of the Privacy Act,” Grealy argued. 
Justice Kylie Downes replied that the claim made was “based on his assessment … There’s no evidence before me from an expert saying this. 
“It’s your opinion, and you’re a solicitor.” 
The court also heard the unvaccinated workers argue that overall, government public health orders were not lawful, due to being “inconsistent with other legislation which takes precedence”. 
Justice Downes told the court it was “difficult to understand” why the applicants waited until after the policy deadline to make an application for “urgent relief” from disciplinary action. 
Freedom Flyer Groups
Groups of pilots and former employees have sprung up around the world to fight against vaccine mandates. In Australia, the Aussie Freedom Flyers continue the push to dismantle mandates and restore employment to those who were sacked. 
Freedom Flyer groups have been unifying internationally under the Global Aviation Advocacy Coalition, who raise a range of separate safety concerns following several ‘near miss’ events internationally related to pilot heart emergencies. They are, amongst other things, requesting increased scrutiny on pilot health after vaccination. 
‘Covid political decisions damaged the aviation industry’ claims the Global Aviation Advocacy Coalition. 
In particular, the ‘Magnificent Qantas 24’ …. are former airline employees involved in the fight. 
Qantas Drops Travel Mandates
Qantas has announced it will be dropping vaccine requirements for international travel starting July 19, (finally) bringing it in line with many other international airlines. While unvaccinated passengers are set to take to the skies, employees of the airline are under strict vaccination orders. 
These orders remain in place despite staff shortages that have seen Australia’s airports descend into chaos. Lengthy delays, alarming luggage losses, crowds of ticket-waving parents trying to calm screaming children while queuing to the point no one knows where the queue actually is – a general aura of aggravation has become synonymous with flying in the post-pandemic world. 
The hole left by unvaccinated staff has been compounded by ground staff who also lost their jobs over a separate dispute. 
Even though airlines are desperate, they have not indicated any intention of welcoming back experienced employees who were sacked for refusing vaccine orders. This is especially true of pilots, who are not easy to come by. Worse, Virgin, Jetstar, and Qantas are fighting some of these unvaccinated former employees in court. 
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said in August of 2021: 
‘Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to. 
‘We understand there will be a very small number of people who decide not to get the vaccine, and that’s their right, but it’s our responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for our employees and for our customers.’ 
An expected win in Federal Court, will set a precedent for the entire country.
A case was filed on 21 Jan 2022 and is proceeding through the legal system.
On Monday Feb 21, 2022, Federal Court Justice Darryl Rangiah – who has repeatedly expressed his concern about the lack of clarity in the complainant’s case – requested that the lawyer representing the group rewrite the case for the third time.
The complainant’s lawyer Rob Grealy again promised to produce medical and scientific evidence in support of his case that Qantas’ decision to introduce a COVID vaccine mandate for all staff was discriminatory and unlawful.
“There are circumstances in which the Human Rights Act allows discrimination or impingement on human rights where those circumstances are serious enough to warrant that sort of conduct,” Grealy said.
“In our view, the risk posed by the virus in the Qantas workplace was not significant enough to warrant the vaccination mandate.”
A directions hearing for their case took place on July 12, 2022. Submissions of evidence have begun, with another directions hearing scheduled for December 7. 
The next court date for a ‘Case Management Hearing’ is Feb 6 2023.
This case has the potential to set a global precedent by overturning airline vaccine mandates for pilots.
These employees recognised that the corporate mandates, pushed at Qantas and Jetstar, were operating out of their lane of expertise and were a clear breach of their employment EBA contracts, AND the fact that NO medical personnel are legally allowed to administer a medicine if there is any evidence of coercion, manipulation or undue pressure. The policy of the Qantas group clearly stated – No Jab No Job, this is the definition of coercion. 
… the Qantas Group is seeking to comply with what it understands to be lawful public health orders and directions imposed by the states in which it operates its business. Further, the Qantas Group operates a six-stage process by which it communicates with employees who do not wish to be vaccinated. It has given its employees months to get vaccinated, and they have not done so. 
Relevant Prior Judgements/ Cases
This mandate problem can be seen when challenges to NSW health orders were dismissed: ‘It is important to note that the Supreme Court made it clear that the Court’s role was not to assess the merits of the Public Health Orders as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the sole task of the Supreme Court was to determine the legality of the Public Health Orders within the limits of the Public Health Act.’ 
A first interlocutory application filed 21 January 2022 asking for relief from the mandates was dismissed by the judge. 
…More information is needed…
In the news:
- High Court approves Qantas appeal against Federal Court ruling it unlawfully outsourced staff during COVID-19 pandemic
- Fingers Crossed Safety Systems
- 900 Pilots Grounded?
- GAAC’s Open Letter to the Federal Aviation Administration
- Vaccine Injury: “We have the most inept leaders and regulators in human history.” (2 min Vid)
source: Rumble/ GoodSauce
- Freedom Flyers: the fight against vaccine mandates
- Commonwealth Courts Applications for file
- Federal Court of Australia -Motion v Qantas Airways Limited  FCA 25- Judgement Jan 24 2022
- Judge calls case against Qantas vaccine mandate ‘unclear’ and ‘scrambled’
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