Opinion Pieces


November 26, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees and no one understands that better than the people of NSW, who have languished in lockdown for so much of the past several months.
The only sure path out of the pandemic is vaccination across the community.
We want to see as many people vaccinated as soon as possible to keep Australian businesses open and to keep all Australians safe.
We can't afford to see any more lockdowns.
That's why Labor supports targeted vaccine mandates guided by public health advice.
We've never tried to second guess the health advice given to state premiers, Labor or Liberal alike.
They have done a terrific job of keeping people safe.
What we need right now is leadership from the Prime Minister on this issue.
Instead, having bungled the vaccine rollout, the Prime Minister is now dog-whistling to extremists who drag around gallows calling for state premiers to be hanged.
And he backs up his dog-whistling by allowing One Nation to pander to these extremist elements in the Senate.
The Prime Minister gives members of his own government Senator Rennick, Senator Canavan and George Christensen to name a few free rein to continue their pursuit of spreading dangerous disinformation on the pandemic.
Scott Morrison is hostage to these members of his government who prefer division and chaos to good public health.
By refusing to condemn their actions, the Prime Minister is undermining all the progress that Australians have made together and he's doing it for base political reasons.
The Prime Minister's doublespeak on vaccine mandates means he is claiming credit for high vaccination rates without taking responsibility for the measures that are definitely necessary to get those rates up.
Labor condemns without reservation the violent threats being made by anti-vaccination protesters, even if the Prime Minister won't.
Now is not the time to be sending mixed messages on the importance of getting vaccinated.
We are yet to reach an 80 per cent full vaccination rate for eligible people in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia or the Northern Territory.
In many vulnerable communities, vaccine coverage is much lower than that.
The country is crying out for leadership and they're not getting it from this Prime Minister.
We need a Prime Minister who works with state premiers and territory leaders rather than against them.
If the Prime Minister wants to keep playing this dangerous game with dangerous consequences, then the country doesn't just have an opportunity to throw him out at the next election.

This opinion piece was first published in The Daily Telegraph on Friday, 26 November 2021.