Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

A Vice President of the Fair Work Commission (FWC), who spoke out against vaccine mandates, will be barred from hearing questions about workplace vaccination and will be barred from full-time bench work until she has completed her training.

Vice President Lyndall Dean last month compared vaccination mandates to “medical apartheid and segregation” and said the concept is “the opposite” [sic] of our democratic way of life and everything we value “.

She said this in a different verdict in an unreasonable dismissal case involving a woman who was fired from her job at a nursing home for refusing to get a flu shot.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that Ms Dean had also expressed support for a post on social media claiming that public health measures implemented during the pandemic are akin to “totalitarian Chinese-style social control”.

In response to the LinkedIn post, which also suggested that the world is on the brink of a disaster in line with the Holocaust, Ms. Dean commented “I totally agree.”

Woman with blonde hair posing.
Fair Work Commission Vice President Lyndall Dean has been asked to complete the training.(Industrial Relations Society of NSW website)

FWC General Manager Murray Furlong told Senate Estimates on Wednesday that Commission President Iain Ross had received a complaint against Ms Dean.

“Although the president does not have the power to discipline members, he has certain powers to deal with complaints about members,” he said.

Sir. Furlong said the president wrote to Ms Dean asking her to “participate in training on the responsibilities and standards of professional conduct expected of a member of the commission”.

“She will be excluded from anything and any additional full bench work, at least until she has completed that education,” said Mr. Furlong Senate estimates.

“And she has disqualified herself due to bias in settling workplace vaccination disputes in the future.”

Sir. Furlong said Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash had also been briefed on the steps taken in response to the complaint.

When Labor senators asked about the post on social media, Acting Attorney General Amanda Stoker said she did not agree.

“It’s something I’ve seen for the first time now, it’s not a view I share,” she said.

Senator Tony Sheldon asked if she was concerned about the views of the Commissioner.

“I do not know how the full package of Mrs. Dean’s behavior has been, and I think it would be foolish to judge a person’s entire contribution in the light of an article,” Senator Stoker replied.

“But having said that, I do not agree with what she has posted and it sounds as if the procedure that has been put in place by the Commission to deal with any perception of bias that arises from it is appropriate.”

Senator Cash announced Ms. Dean’s appointment to the Commission in 2016.

“She is highly regarded as a lawyer for relationships in the workplace and brings high-level analytical, negotiation and conflict resolution skills to this role, as well as a demonstrated capacity for complex decision-making,” she said in a statement at the time.

“I am confident that the skills and experience she will bring to the Commission, including understanding the needs of small businesses, will help the Commission’s work to ensure that Australia has fairer and more productive jobs.”

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