Submission re Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020

Publication date:
18 January 2021
Resource type:
Submission

The Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020 establishes a framework under which people whose bodily fluids come into contact with police, corrections, health and other frontline workers may be subjected to mandatory testing orders for blood borne viruses (BBVs) such as HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.

PIAC opposes this legislation on the basis that it is fundamentally misguided. In particular, mandatory BBV testing schemes cannot ever provide ‘peace of mind’ to affected workers, while at the same time diverting attention from more appropriate BBV prevention activities and also undermining Australia’s world-leading HIV response.

The submission then details a range of more specific concerns, including:

  • The scheme is based on the premise that the worker’s exposure to bodily fluids is the result of a deliberate action, however, there is no requirement for evidence to establish deliberateness
  • The scheme should be amended so that it does not apply to children aged between 14 and 17
  • Law enforcement officers should not be authorised to use force to support the performance of blood tests, and
  • A lack of procedural fairness in terms of the timelines for making submissions and/or seeking reviews, as well as the fact mandatory testing orders remain enforceable even while a review is being considered.
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