Western Sydney U wins Covid speech case

Western Sydney U nursing student Nera Thiab was not allowed to do a placement necessary to finish her degree because she expressed COVID vaccine scepticism. She went to court claiming this was discrimination, based on a political belief she held, which the university’s Act forbids (CMM June 20 2022)

In the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Parker agreed that “opposition to vaccination may be based on genuinely held political beliefs.”.

The Court of Appeal doesn’t, because “to the extent that Ms Thiab held negative views about vaccination for COVID-19, those views did not arise from any belief that could be described as ‘political,’ even taking a broad view of that concept. Rather, her belief or views were born of concerns, no doubt genuinely held by her, about the efficacy of treatment and reports of negative health consequences including myocarditis.

As to the university not allowing Ms Thiab to do her course placement because of her expressed views, “the cancellation decision was made on the basis of a practical assessment that a person who had twice expressed those views in clinical settings (albeit to other healthcare staff) posed a risk of being unable to provide safe information and education as to the benefits of vaccination to patients.”