Lyndall Dean, a deputy president at the Fair Work Commission, expressed her opposition to vaccine mandates comparing them to ‘medical apartheid’ and ‘segregation’.
Her comments were made after New South Wales receptionist Jennifer Kimber was sacked from her role at a care home for refusing the newly-mandated flu shot.
Kimber claimed that she experienced a serious reaction to a previous flu shot and did not wish to endanger her health with another. She presented a letter from a GP explaining her allergic reaction, but the Fair Work Commission vice president Adam Hatcher and commissioner Bernie Riordan blocked her appeal claiming that she held ‘a broader anti-vaccination position.’
Ms Dean dissented from her colleagues, insisting that Kimber should be reinstated.
"All Australians should vigorously oppose the introduction of a system of medical apartheid and segregation in Australia. It is an abhorrent concept and is morally and ethically wrong and the antithesis of our democratic way of life and everything we value,” said Ms Dean.
“Blanket rules, such as mandating vaccinations for everyone across a whole profession or industry regardless of the actual risk, fail the tests of proportionality, necessity and reasonableness. It is more than the absolute minimum necessary to combat the crisis and cannot be justified on health grounds. It is a lazy and fundamentally flawed approach to risk management and should be soundly rejected by courts when challenged."
It is a view shared by many Australians, especially those who have been sacked from their jobs and excluded from the economy for months.
The debate has become more intense as the conversation moves from mandatory flu vaccinations in care homes to blanket mandates of mandatory Covid vaccination covering essentially the whole country. Ms Dean has called these policies ‘Chinese-style totalitarian social control’ on social media posts.
As a consequence of her opinion, Ms Dean has been directed by the Fair Work Commission general manager to attend training on ‘responsibilities and standards of professional conduct expected of a member of the [Fair Work] commission’.
Ms Dean will further be excluded from full bench work until the process is over in a move that has been viewed as an act of political censorship by Fair Work.
“And she has disqualified herself on the grounds of bias from adjudicating disputes relating to workplace vaccinations in future,” said Fair Work Commission general manager Murray Furlong.
Members of the government including Acting Attorney-General Amanda Stoker have also spoken out against Ms Dean.
“I don't agree with what she has posted, and it sounds like the procedure that has been put in place by the commission to manage any perception of bias arising from it is appropriate,” said Stoker.
Excluding and retraining those members of Fair Work who express their honest assessment of the situation raises concerns about the integrity of the Fair Work Commission in general. If debate and diversity are not permitted, can their recommendations truly be accepted as independent and fair?