NT BUSINESSES UNITE
Vaccine mandates are set to be challenged by a united force in the Northern Territory.
A group of businesses opposed to medical coercion in the NT have began a legal action against the Chief Health Officer’s directions, stating they are an overreach of power, unjust and racist.
An organisation called United NT Businesses — a collective of now 500 business leaders — have lodged a motion in the NT Supreme Court to try and overturn the Chief Health Officer’s direction.
The business members in the group have been ignored by the Gunner government, the NT Chamber of Commerce, other industry groups and the opposition, who have all either refused to meet with them to discuss the implications of the vaccine mandate.
As a result, the group say they have now taken their grievances to the courts:
The group held a press conference of outside the Supreme Court Thursday afternoon to announce the legal action, which they said was a “historic day for our Territory”.
“What we’ve seen is what suspending normal democratic process does to a government who’s high on a power trip and forcing draconian, unreasonable laws on everyday people,” the group’s president, Mario Tsirbas, said.
He continued to say the group was not opposed to vaccinations, but instead objected to the mandatory nature of the policy. The core values of the pro-choice movement, despite media spin.
“We’ve seen an impact in the loss of jobs, we’ve seen an impact in the loss of businesses,” Mr Tsirbas said.
“We’ve seen families at odds with each other, arguing, we’ve seen levels of mental health and stress go through the roof.
“We’ve seen people forced to take the vaccine and see the real results of what that does to people.”
The group’s lawyer, Danial Kelly, said there were several elements to their case.
“The primary argument is that the Chief Health Officer has gone beyond his power,” Mr Kelly said.
“The direction … purport(s) to regulate work, workers, workplaces, and that’s beyond the power that he’s been given under the parent act.”
He said the group would argue that Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie overstepped his powers.
Under the Chief Health Officer’s direction, any worker who comes into contact with a person who is “vulnerable to being infected” with COVID-19 is required to be vaccinated.
The mandates were brought in on November 12, and essentially forced anyone who would come into contact with “vulnerable people” to be vaccinated as a requirement of keeping their job.
Those considered vulnerable under the direction include children under 12, who are not yet able to be vaccinated, as well as people who are immunocompromised.
The group says the legal action was necessary because businesses have been hurting since the vaccine mandate came into effect, arguing there are better ways to protect the community.
Alan Power, a TOTT user who is a part of this collective, told members in our Discord server: “We’ve got to do something. I can’t stand by and sit idle. Will our efforts make a difference? Who knows.
But it made a difference to us, as we stood up for what we believed was right.”
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’, it has been said.
The case looks strong, too.
Unlike a NSW case that was recently shut down by the Supreme Court, unique disproportionate elements are involved in the Northern Territory that will be addressed.
Under the rules, indigenous peoples are all categorised as “vulnerable”, which critics say are too broad a classification and could potentially tip the scale in their favour.
A SPECIAL CASE
The NT government has repeatedly warned that Indigenous Territorians are ‘among the most susceptible to the virus’ because of high rates of chronic disease and overcrowded living conditions.
Kelly, the group’s lawyer, says that certain clauses around indigenous mandates may make the outcomes of court challenges in the NT a little bit different.
“The judge in NSW actually included in his judgment that if the New South Wales directions, or orders as they’re called there, had have targeted a particular race, or other particular group in society … then his decision may have been different,” Mr Kelly said.
“They deem all Aboriginal people to be vulnerable, and that’s simply not the case.”
The group says their legal advice has made them confident they can overturn the NT’s Chief Health Officer directions, calling the mandates “racist” and a move to dismiss cultural tradition in the region.
In recent weeks, indigenous Australians have been targeted by the Gunner government, including the transfer of ‘positive cases’ from remote community Binjari to Howard Springs, as well as the overnight lockdown of the Lajamanu. This was done to lift indigenous vaccine rates.
The treatment and classification of vulnerability towards indigenous Australians may become the Chief Minister’s achilles heel moving forward, says the business group.
“We know that our law is written differently than other states,” Tsirbas said.
“Our law is much broader in its scope and application, and there’s certainly elements of it that can be challenged.
We’ve had a legal team made up of QCs, barristers and solicitors from all over Australia providing advice and we feel that we have a case that is worth arguing and that we can win. And that’s what we’re going to do.”
Tsirbas would not disclose the details of the legal argument at present, but says the argument would focus on the notion that the laws themselves go beyond what the emergency powers allow.
“By writing the directives as they are, they’ve overstepped and therefore (the laws are) invalid or unlawful,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“The gist is, they’ve gone too far … and beyond the scope of what the powers were written to provide. It’s a very poorly written law. And testament to that is how many times they’ve had to modify it.”
The has garnered support from concerned citizens in the region in their fight against mandates.
The group says said the legal action will be funded from members of United NT Businesses, as well as from donations made to the group from Australians across the countr.
They also day lawyers are providing their services for free or at a reduced rate.
“There are many, many concerned people, business people, who are helping fund this,” he said.
“They put their hands on their hearts and say ‘we think this is wrong, we think the government’s overstepped the mark’.”
He continued: “They put an undue burden on business to monitor and police and we are bearing the cost of this in many ways, both in economic costs, in the loss of contracts, and in the loss of staff”.
“This burden is hitting business from every angle.”
If you are in the NT and would like to join the efforts, see the following upcoming events below:
United NT Businesses has acted as an industry lobby group for business owners wanting to question the government’s vaccine mandate laws, by offering legal advice and providing information.
The group has also been approached by public servants, including teachers and health professionals.
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