The seven total industries involved in the legal proceedings now include police, health, construction, education, fire and emergency services, corrections, and critical electricity infrastructure.
The initial case launched by WA Police Senior Constable Ben Falconer on Nov. 26, 2021 came after he and all other unvaccinated staff were threatened with disciplinary action if they refused to get jabbed by Dec. 21.
Hotchkin Hanley Lawyers, representatives for all seven groups, defended the initial challenge on Dec. 24 in a landmark ruling that saw all 25 unvaccinated police officers keep their jobs until the final trial at the end of March, 2022.
“The applicants in the six additional challenges, all of whom have either lost their jobs or are under threat of losing their jobs, were motivated to start the proceedings by the growing public opposition to the vaccination mandates, and support for those standing up for medical choice,” a Hotchkin Hanley spokesperson wrote in a statement.
Supreme Court Judge Jeremy Allanson has decided to await the outcome of the Falconer case before proceeding with the others.
The Hotchkin Hanley spokesperson said this meant the verdict laid down by Judge Allanson would be pivotal in the outcome of vaccination mandates across the state.
“If the police challenge succeeds and their mandate is struck down, then it is likely that all of the other vaccine mandates under challenge will follow suit, given the similarities between the mandates across the various industries,” the Hotchkin Hanley spokesperson said.
It comes as thousands of workers across the state have been suspended or fired after WA adopted what it self-proclaimed to be the “broadest proof of vaccination requirements in the nation.”
While those encompassed by the mandates initially included health, police, mining, education, and other essential industries, it has since expanded to cover staff and visitors at all hospitality, fitness, and entertainment venues.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has appeared apathetic to those unwilling to get the vaccine, telling unvaccinated West Australians that “life is about to get very difficult for you.”
McGowan reasoned it was because the unvaccinated would take up more vital hospital resources once WA reopened interstate borders.
“We know that unvaccinated people are well and truly enormously over-represented when it comes to cases, serious illness, hospitalisations, intensive care presentations and deaths,” he said on Jan. 10. “Far too many resources are being used over east to care for individuals who would not take the basic steps to care for themselves.”
As of Mar. 4—after the reopening of borders—the state recorded 2,137 new cases, bringing the total to 9,600, with 21 remaining in hospital.