by Alison Ryan


A Supreme Court challenge to South Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates could be heard during the week of the state election.

Nurse and AFLW Adelaide Crows player Deni Varnhagen are among a group of four education and health workers seeking a judicial review of the mandates, which they claim are invalid.

Deni Varnhagen Adelaide Crows player wants judicial review of mandates

The Supreme Court heard two police officers want to be added to the case, challenging the mandatory vaccination policy for SA Police.

The applicants are seeking an expedited hearing and have asked for a three-day trial during the week beginning March 14, which falls five days before the state election.

A lawyer for the applicants also foreshadowed an application to have an auxiliary judge — either retired or from interstate — hear the trial due to any perceived bias arising out of the Courts Administration Authority imposing its own vaccination mandate.

The court heard the applicants would call Flinders University Professor Nikolai Petrovsky to give evidence about “technical matters relating to the vaccine”.

The group’s lawyer, Loretta Polson, said outside court that “compelling, scientific, medical evidence” would be presented “to demonstrate that vaccination does not prevent COVID-19 transmission”.

She also questioned the power of SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens — the state coordinator during the coronavirus pandemic — to impose mandates.

“We are amending the application to challenge a further mandate directed to police officers,” Ms Polson said.

“Police officers are now being advised that they need to be vaccinated at the risk of losing their livelihood and careers.

“How many more insidious mandates are to be imposed upon the workers of South Australia by a public servant?”