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Covid: Why NSW Premier was dragged into ‘mandatory vaccine’ lawsuit


A one-line remark Gladys Berejiklian made on the Today Show has been dragged into a lawsuit over mandatory jabs.

A comment Gladys Berejiklian made on the Today Show has been dragged into a NSW Supreme Court lawsuit over mandatory vaccinations, with government lawyers slamming the move as a “stunt”.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard is facing several legal actions in the NSW Supreme Court, three of which are set to be heard next week.

In what shapes as a test case for the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, several plaintiffs are challenging the minister’s ability to make public health orders.

Two of the claims, brought by Al-Munir Kassam and Natasha Henry, are challenging rules which state that essential workers must receive a jab before leaving areas of concern.

Lawyers for Ms Henry appeared in the NSW Supreme Court late on Friday afternoon, seeking to subpoena the Department of Premier.

They raised comments made by Ms Berejiklian during an interview on Channel 9’s Today Show on September 1.

During the interview, the premier said: “Well firstly, we weren’t able to make the vaccines mandatory, it’s not in our power to do that.”

Barrister Jason Harkess, acting for Ms Henry, painted the quote as a “significant admission” by the government.

He sought to discover what legal advice was in front of Ms Berejiklian at that time.

“The critical element of the plaintiff’s claim in this case was that this government had no legal power to make a public health order requiring compulsory vaccinations of plaintiffs,” Dr Harkess said.

“To have the premier say on live television ‘we have no power’ begs the question what exactly is the information she had before her.”

Barrister Jeremy Kirk, acting for Mr Hazzard, said the subpoena had no material relevance because it was Mr Hazzard who made the public health orders and Ms Berejiklian was not a defendant in the matter.

“With great respect to my friend, this is some kind of stunt to try to embarrass the government or otherwise get material which will not assist your honour at all,” Mr Kirk said.

Justice Robert Beech-Jones agreed.

“An admission of law, if it had in fact been made by a party, would of itself be of little if any forensic value,” he said.

Justice Beech-Jones set aside the subpoena and the parties will return to court next Thursday.

Originally published as Gladys Berejiklian’s Today Show comment raised in ‘mandatory vaccine’ lawsuit


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