Covid Policies: Two Years and Too Few Answers

If vaccines are of any interest to you, you would by now know of Queensland Supreme Court’s decision which held that Queensland police’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for employees was ‘unlawful’, and a similar policy by Queensland’s ambulance service was ‘ineffective’. Naturally, this will have ramifications for similar disputes that are underway across the nation, with teachers, nurses, frontline workers and more who were dismissed from their government jobs for refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 challenging the decision. What has been revealed so far is how little thought public servants gave to life-changing decisions they was asking others to take during the pandemic emergency. 

Here’s the kicker. The Court didn’t rule the directive by former Queensland Police Commissioner Katerina Carroll (who resigned recently) was unlawful because it wrongfully impacted the human rights of the police officers but because Commissioner Carroll didn’t even bother to properly consider whether it would or not in the first place. 

See also No jab, no nob, no basis is in law

This was no small decision. It led to the loss of livelihood of police officers who – regardless of their views on COVID-19 vaccine – had nevertheless served the force with dedication and professionalism. One would think she would feel some duty of care towards them when making decisions about taking away their employment. Her testimony speaks for itself. 

I recommend downloading the decision and reading pages 29 to 42 (it is quite readable). It deals with her cross-examination about how she arrived at the decision that police officers who refuse to be vaccinated should be dismissed. Here’s what Judge Martin had to say about one of the most senior public servants in Australia: 

Unfortunately, she [Commissioner Carroll] did not appear to have given her evidence much thought before she entered the witness box. Her recollection was poor and she seemed unfamiliar with some of the documents which were at the heart of the case. She frequently had to peruse documents, sometimes at length, and sometimes when she was being asked questions unrelated to any documents. (page 32)

It is a polite way of saying the former Police Commissioner (for reasons known only to her) appeared to put minimal effort into preparing or delivering a professional articulation of what had occurred under her watch. Specifically, she seemed unable to explain how she arrived at the decision that would leave numbers of police members unemployed. 

On page 37, the decision discusses how at the time of making this directive, the pandemic had been in existence for more than 18 months and yet the Commissioner didn’t have any information about:

♦ Whether any police officer who had contracted COVID-19 had transmitted it to other police officers

♦ The numbers of police officers who had contracted COVID-19 and transmitted it to members of the community, and

♦ The numbers of police officers who had contracted COVID-19 from members of the community in the course of their duties. 

The documents she relied on as modelling were, according to the judge, ‘nothing of the sort’ and ‘said nothing about the risk of police officers contracting or transmitting COVID-19’.  (page 37)

Commissioner Carroll claimed that she considered one of the benefits of her mandatory vaccination directive to be ‘savings in indirect costs, such as loss of productivity and economic loss suffered as a result of police officers and staff members contracting the virus and developing COVID-19’. Yet, her cross-examination revealed that she hadn’t even tried to quantify these claimed savings. (page 37)

On the stand, the Commissioner frequently justified her decision to be informed via important ‘briefings’ and high level ‘meetings’ she was having in which this issue was discussed – things of which there is little evidentiary trail. On this Judge Martin remarked: 

Her evidence about the decision-making process is consistent – she was reluctant to commit to having read particular documents, she frequently could not recall how she received information or what that information was, and she frequently evaded these issues by referring in a vague way to briefings, discussions, summaries and the like. (page 41)

Is it any wonder Queensland has seen youth crime soar? 

(I focus on Commissioner Carroll’s cross-examination because Dr Wakefield of Queensland Ambulance Services never took the stand to explain his decision-making, but the ambulance service doesn’t come out smelling of roses either.)

Regardless of where we stand on lockdowns and vaccines, we should all be interested to know whether senior public servants, who were given immense powers, arrived at decisions with due care and that they acted with professionalism at all times. We now know the Victorian government spent millions of taxpayer dollars on public polling in deciding when to lift the lockdowns – its most contentious and destructive Covid policy. It was not based solely on mere health advice, as claimed at the time. What other factors played into the government’s response? 

We are all still living through the consequences of decisions made during the pandemic in form of severe shortages of staff across teaching, nursing, police and other government services, loss of learning among children, liquidation of businesses, ballooning debt and cracks in social cohesion that have just not refilled two years since the pandemic officially ended. 

A royal commission into the response to Covid leading up to the 2022 state elections needs to take place. There are far too many questions and far too few answers. 

Nick McGowan is the Liberal member for  the North Eastern Region in Victoria’s upper house

11 thoughts on “Covid Policies: Two Years and Too Few Answers

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    Am retired now but a colleague in the police service was stood down for refusing to be vaccinated. His rationale was that it was his body as determined by the Nuremberg Tribunals after WW2, and he wasn’t in contact with the public in any way, shape, or form. He couldn’t resign for he was below the age limit to collect his super, he couldn’t get another job because he was refused a reference for his years of service. He took the QPS to court and lost his appeal and was then declared a “person of interest” by QPS and he lost his home and family. When the restrictions were lifted he was summarily dismissed and one would assume that he is only one of hundreds or perhaps thousands unfairly treated by just one State Govt. body and yet to the layman the findings against the QPS were a mere technicality and of course against every decision made by the Nuremberg Tribunal so should another similar real or imagined virus come along the same or like people will do exactly the same as before. Where on Earth have the so called human rights legal people been hiding during this fiasco, the legal people who leave no stone unturned when it comes to country shoppers or aboriginals both real and imagined?

    • vickisanderson says:

      What a heartbreaking story. Being persecuted by your employer is one thing – but to lose your home and family is quite another. I know that it is not an uncommon story – even as this country is steadfastly trying to forget it ever happened.

      Those of us who were retired, and/or self employed and who had the support of family and most friends in the decision to refuse vaccination, were indeed blessed. The worst of it is the refusal of most people to even discuss it – particularly those who now understand the cost of the mistakes. In my personal experience, the medical profession, in particular, do not want to even discuss Covid, let alone the gene vaccines.

  • pmprociv says:

    All very true, but when did any police commissioner contradict the government that appointed them? Commissioner Caroll had little choice but to go along with Princess Annastacia’s edicts — otherwise, she’d have quickly discovered that she suddenly needed to “spend more time with my family”. Folk in such positions who make “courageous” decisions don’t stay there too long.

    • lenton1 says:

      Well too bad. People who choose to take on the big jobs – that usually include some degree of moral code governance – and get paid the big bucks, have a moral obligation to their subordinates to sometimes defy their masters when it becomes clear, as it did to the enlightened during COVID, that something is seriously amiss with government leaders. To be a Commissioner and not having the intestinal fortitude to confront the boss, relegates the esteemed role to no more influence than the most humble constable. This is how authoritarians become dictators, by the weak upper echelons subordinating their responsibilities purely in order to keep their job. Those to whom Commissioners and the like depend, always end up being the sacrificial lambs for their own self-interests. Nowhere near good enough!

      • Ceres says:

        What a great response. Moral and ethical cowardice is rampant amongst leaders who are only interested in their promotion and bank balance. Katarina Carroll epitomised this and surprisingly didn’t ‘fail’ upwards as so often happens.
        Kudos to that Judge for spelling it out to this incompetent gender pick who has ruined the lives of so many.

  • Jackson says:

    Good on you, Nick McGowan for breaking ranks with your cowardly colleagues in the LNP, and holding to account those responsible and those complicit (who together make up the overwhelming majority of our leadership classes) for the Great Covid Overreaction.

  • Peter C Arnold says:

    Be fair! Nobody knew what would happen with Covid hence the varied responses. Even Andrews knew nothing, and was, perhaps, over-cautious. Do we have the final data to know which States suffered worse than others? I have not seen any. An independent inquiry, best by public health experts, whether of not a Royal Commission, would seem appropriate.
    Dr Peter Arnold OAM BSc MB.Sydney

    • Bruce Bailey says:

      Peter C Arnold
      Yes there were those who knew exactly what would happen as they planned it.
      Event 201 in New York on 18 October 2019 conducted by John Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health and sponsored by the Open Philanthropy Project was a Global Pandemic Exercise which laid the foundations for what was essentially a psyop.
      It called upon “leaders in global business, international organizations, and national governments” to work together and for National Public Health Agencies to work in close collaboration with the WHO.
      In effect agency was taken away from elected governments and placed in the hands of unelected bureaucrats installed to do the bidding of their sponsors.
      The result was the greatest transfer of wealth from tax payers to the predator class accompanied by an assault on human rights and personal freedoms.
      Andrews acted like a dictator because that was his natural inclination but also because he, like others, looked with envy at the way PRC exercised state power untrammelled by democratic restraints.

  • Bruce Bailey says:

    One would be whistling in the wind to expect an honest commission, Royal or otherwise.
    Might as well demand an honest investigation into the “Climate Change” boondoggle, the Kennedys’ assassinations or the real perpetrators of 9/11.
    We live in a world of institutional corruption, propagandised media and a totally credulous populace.
    The good news is that the transparently coordinated international attack on basic rights under cover of the scamdemic has woken up many former political rivals who now know who really threatens their hard won rights.

  • vickisanderson says:

    It seemed to many observers that the decision making in relation to vaccine mandates relied upon the advice of others, And who were these “others”? In most cases they were senior medical bureaucrats. And from whom did these people derive their prognostications? From epidemiologists/ immunologists and others who were expressing an opinion on treatments and novel vaccines (which many regard as “gene therapy”) which was no better, and mostly inferior to, the learned opposition and concerns of international renowned world experts in the field.

    But this was also a failure of government. Although the Morrison government correctly recognised that the origin of the offending virus was man made and from China, like so many governments, they failed to assemble a “medical war cabinet” of international experts who could offer a variety of responses and treatments to what was clearly a very contagious disease.

    In retrospect, it was an immensely devastating failure of western governments which espouse (or used to) the principles of personal freedom, critical thinking, and government accountability.

  • bollux says:

    Quite obviously Carroll was too weak to stand up to Palaszczuk and the other thugs. I hope she finds employment she is better suited for, then again she was being paid plenty, which is where all the troubles begin.

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