Gold Coast Council Employee's Pro-Choice Alliance Wins the Day Against Vaccine Mandate


Gold Coast Council Employee's Pro-Choice Alliance Wins the Day Against Vaccine Mandate

The City of Gold Coast Pro-Choice Alliance is celebrating a significant win yesterday “on the steps of court” immediately prior to their industrial dispute being heard in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC).

The QIRC hearing, scheduled for a couple of weeks, was due to commence at 2:00pm yesterday, but surprisingly an email from new Council CEO Tim Baker was sent to approximately 4,010 Council staff at 12:57pm announcing the cancellation of the entire vaccine mandate policy which Council Management had been trying to introduce for their 4,000+ workforce since 2 December 2022.

Eight members of the Alliance Leadership Group, all Council employees, had filed separate Notices of Industrial Dispute in the QIRC on 18 and 21 February 2022 on behalf of the 400+ members of the Alliance in order to dispute the deficient consultation by the City on the proposed draft vaccine mandate policy.

The Alliance Leadership Group is represented by human rights specialist barrister, Mr. Benedict Coyne and solicitor, Mr. Samir Banga from Banga Legal who have been running various challenges to vaccine mandates around Australia in different jurisdictions, including for 39 Ambulance Victoria paramedics and staff in December 2021, and another recent case filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in Adelaide.

Mr Banga stated this morning:

“My clients are happy with the significant win they had yesterday but also they wished it had never had to come to this, and it wouldn’t have had the Council negotiated in good faith. My clients are also very relieved as this has taken a significant amount of work and stress over the past few months to shut down a deficient proposed policy with a highly deficient and shambolic consultation process.”

Incidentally and famously, in a letter to the Chief Health Officer in January 2022, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate had taken aim at vaccine mandates stating:

“If it is evident that the risk from Omicron is similar or less than seasonal influenza risk, then of course the public will rightly ask whether the Government is asleep at the wheel here or whether some of the current restrictions and requirements are a cynical exercise in political control. It has long been my view, that where decisions of government directly affect the lives of citizens, every effort should be made to share the information that is driving the decisions…“If Omicron doesn’t kill you more than the flu did then why the vax/ unvaxxed rule .. all these hurdles that are actually tarnishing our livelihood?” he said. “If Omicron doesn’t kill you more than the flu did, then it is more of an Omi-Con – the people of Queensland wouldn’t wear that,” he said

Mr Banga further stated:

“The Council was very wise to cancel their attempted Vaccine Mandate Policy now as the attempted but deficient roll out has caused unnecessary stress and anxiety for hundreds of Council workers who feared that they were either to be coerced into having the vaccine or terminated from theiremployment. Such a policy is both unnecessary and tramples over Council worker’s rights to choose whether to be vaccinated or whether to employ other protective measures such as working from home, using masks, face shields and PPE and social distancing and the like. Thankfully may clients can now enjoy some relief now and get back to work and back to the business of taking pride in their jobs. The love their jobs working for the Council and hope to remain working their long into the future.”

Mr Banga added:

“My clients had been very reasonable throughout this whole process and, in good faith, had attempted to engage in negotiations with the new CEO Tim Baker and the former Acting CEO Joe McCabe on numerous occasions since December 2021, but they had effectively been stonewalled at every turn. This ironic and is despite the sentiment of the 2019 Enterprise Agreement being about:

      • Positive employee relations; and
      • Promoting a harmonious and productive work environment through ongoing cooperation and consultation;
      • Committing to maintaining a healthy and safe work environment.”

Due to to the unreasonable conduct of the Council Management and the significantly deficient attempts at consultation, which was tokenistic and neither genuine nor meaningful, my client were therefore forced to take its collective group grievance and dispute on behalf of its 400+ member to the QIRC to attempt to resolve it. And it seems to have done the trick.”


“Draft Vaccination Policy”

The review found that a mandatory vaccination policy was no longer required due to the reduced consequences of a COVID-19 infection (flu like symptoms compared to severe illness).

We will continue to review and manage the risk through our existing WHS controls outlined in our COVID-19 WHS Plan including social distancing, cleaning, and hygiene measures.

It’s important to remember that vaccinations required due to the Queensland Government’s health direction, including the requirement for people to be fully vaccinated when attending certain venues, is a separate requirement that we all must adhere to. We will update you if, and when, the Queensland Government makes any changes to these directions.

I have included a link to FAQs to answer your questions, including those who are concerned about unvaccinated people in the workplace.

I remind you that vaccinated people can still be infected, and potentially unknowingly carry and spread the virus to others. The recommended defence to limit the severity of a COVID-19 infection is still to be fully vaccinated and the City will continue to encourage employees to obtain a vaccination. The City provides for up to 2 hours leave to attend COVID-19 vaccination appointments.

I would like to recognise those employees who took the time to provide feedback on the draft policy and participate in the consultation even though the draft policy will no longer be progressed. We received 621 submissions from employees during the consultation period, with a diverse range of views being expressed.”

However, by the time the hearing had begun, at 2:00pm yesterday before Commissioner Power, Council Management had failed to update the Commission as to the CEO’s email sent one hour and 3 minutes prior and the cancellation of the entire vaccine mandate policy. Curiously, Council Management then objected to the Alliance Leadership Group being legally represented. As Council Management had failed to give notice of their objection, the hearing has been adjourned to a date to be fixed in the coming weeks.

The recently successful challenge in the New Zealand High Court to the vaccine mandate for NZ police and NZ Defence forces (Yardley v Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety [2022] NZHC 291 (25 February 2022)) on human rights grounds has certainly raised the prospect that similar reasoning could be employed by judges in Australia in determining that vaccine mandates are no longer necessary given the wide virulence and lower severity of the Omicron variant in combination with the rapidly diminishing efficacy of the vaccines, especially with regard to reducing transmissibility.

“However, given that the updated WHS Risk Management Assessment by Council which was released to Council workers today is dated 16 February 2022, it begs the question as to why the new CEO Tim Baker waited until the 11th Hour to notify employees of cancelling the attempted vaccine mandate policy. It seems like very unreasonable and even vindictive conduct towards my clients who have had to expend time and money on these proceedings.”

Mr Baker also recently attempted to arbitrarily cancel hundreds of working from home individual flexibility arrangements without giving the period of notice required by law. Mr Banga stated: “If they are not careful in following the letter of the law with regards to workplace relations then the Council and the CEO may well have another industrial dispute on their hands…”

Our Instagram

Samir Banga @samir.banga

Banga Legal @bangalegal


Banga Legal

Proud to be different

We are proud to be different. That’s what makes Banga Legal the very best legal advisors for your matter. We don’t celebrate old school ‘pomp’ or excessive layers of admin and corporate structure. We celebrate great outcomes, high level customer service and happy clients. That’s what is important to us.

Proud to be small

Proudly small and with the benefits of an agile lean firm, Banga Legal is big enough to deliver. Our team is constantly expanding and we are on the look out for the next real world court advocate.

Proud to be collaborative

We work alongside a number of affiliates who collectively enable us to deliver the very best and most affordable services for your unique requirements. Our affiliates are both legal and non-legal. They come from different industries, different walks of life and help us deliver on that renowned standard of service.

How we work

Four Steps To Your Success

Banga Legal provides you the confidence of knowing that your guidance comes from the very best Sydney and Melbourne Lawyer. 


Speak To Us

Chat to us about how we can assist with your legal dilemmas. We pick up where the others cannot.


We will discuss your desired outcome and formulate the best way in helping acheieve the set goals.




This is where we will put the strategy in motion. Act on the formula and drive your matter to success, using both litigation and out of court alternatives were applicable.


When you walk away knowing that you obtained the best possible outcome for your case.