A casual relief teacher has become the first person to spearhead a court challenge against the Victorian government’s vaccine mandate, claiming it breaches her human rights.
- A casual relief teacher who is studying law is taking the Victorian government to court over its mandatory vaccination rules
- In her claim, she is asking the court for an interlocutory injunction against the vaccine mandate for school and childcare staff
- The matter is due to be heard in the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday
Belinda Cetnar has launched legal action in Victoria’s Supreme Court against the controversial mandate, which was announced late last month, and which she claims is not a “legally or ethically justified” directive.
The mandate means that all authorised workers, including school staff, must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 15 and the second by November 26, a move which Ms Cetnar claims “undermines the rule of law”.
“They do not uphold a citizen’s right to autonomy and informed consent in medical treatment and procedures,” she said.
“They are discriminatory in nature.”
Ms Cetnar is seeking an urgent interlocutory injunction to stop the Victorian government imposing mandatory vaccines for school and childcare staff.
“The proposed mandate is inconsistent with international human rights provisions, federal laws, Australian policies and procedures, and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights,” Ms Cetnar wrote in her claim.
“The blanket mandate approach does not consider the human rights of those it is imposed on.”
Registered teacher representing herself
The lawsuit names the state of Victoria and its Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, as defendants, as well as Acting Chief Health Officer Deborah Friedman and health department secretary Euan Wallace.
Ms Cetnar is representing herself and, in her lawsuit, references the Fair Work Act, the UNESCO Statement on Bioethics and Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Australian Doctor’s Code of Conduct and the Nuremberg Code.
However, she has asked the Supreme Court not to make her liable for damages that may be awarded in the case because of the “public interest” in the matter.
She is joined in her legal action by Jack Cetnar, a gardener employed by Crest Education, a charity behind Hillcrest Christian College at Clyde North in Melbourne’s outer south-east.
According to LinkedIn, the professional networking site, Ms Cetnar was a Leading Teacher at Hillcrest Christian College from 2007 until 2017, and is currently studying law at RMIT.
She remains a registered teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching.
In her lawsuit, Ms Cetnar also questions the safety and efficacy of vaccines, something which has been consistently and conclusively debunked by public health experts, who say that there is no scientific basis to believe there will be long-term health effects.
At a brief Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday, the case was set for trial on October 25, with a directions hearing likely to be held before then.
The Victorian government has been contacted for comment.