Aussies divided over PM's domestic vaccine passport proposal

·4-min read

Australians have slammed Scott Morrison's suggestion that residents may soon be required to have a kind of Covid vaccination passport to travel across state borders.

The prime minister said on Tuesday the move would need cooperation among the sates and territories, who he says are the ones preventing Aussies from moving about the country with their public health orders and border closures.

“Those public health orders are the instrument that is used legally to prevent Australians moving from one state to another,” he said.

Mr Morrison said the vaccination passports for domestic travel could be a precursor to vaccinated residents being allowed to travel overseas and then quarantine at home upon their return.

However, numerous people have taken to social media to hit out at the proposal, saying it infringes on Australians' freedoms. 

Passengers are seen boarding a Jetstar flight to Sydney at Melbourne Airport. Source: AAP
Australians may soon be required to have a Covid vaccination passport to travel across state borders. Source: AAP

"No. Maybe for overseas travellers coming into Australia and definitely [for] travel overseas, but not within our own country," one person said on Facebook.

"What a joke! That’s absolute discrimination and control tactics to manipulate an entire population!" one woman said. 

"Look the vaccine is not mandatory, but if you wanna go interstate well you will need one. Welcome to dictatorship," a man wrote. 

"You are, we are, one country. Don’t make it state against state," a second woman chimed in.

A handful of people agreed with the idea, with one man saying those are vaccinated should be given a card or it should be linked to driver's licences or Medicare cards. 

The government in its 2021-22 budget assumed Australia’s international borders would remain closed until at least mid 2022.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said India's case spike and outbreaks in other parts of the world were behind his reluctance to name a date to restart overseas travel.

"Australians would be surprised if it resumed at the end of this year, or frankly any earlier than that," he said.

An empty arrivals and departures security point is seen at the Qantas terminal at Sydney Airport. Source: AAP
Australia’s international borders are likely to remain closed until late 2022. Source: AAP

More trouble for Covid vaccine rollout

Almost one-third of adult Australians say they are unlikely to be vaccinated against coronavirus in a concerning new sign for the troubled national rollout.

An alarming poll published by Nine Entertainment had found doubts about side effects top the list of reasons for vaccine hesitancy.

Many people also believe there is no rush to take the jab while the international borders remain closed.

The survey found 15 per cent of people said they were not at all likely to receive the vaccine, while another 14 per cent said they were not very likely.

Mr Morrison is keen to focus on the more than 70 per cent of people who are happy to have the vaccine.

"I would encourage them to go and make that booking," he told Newcastle radio 2HD on Wednesday.

"If you are over 50, go and do that with your GP now. The state government is setting up other clinics to do the same thing. So I would just encourage people to get on and do it."

The prime minister was also keen to point out only a small proportion of those surveyed were "hard against" receiving the jab, saying that was fairly normal with most vaccines.

An Australian passport pictured in Brisbane. Source: AAP
Mr Morrison said the vaccination passports for domestic travel could be a precursor to vaccinated residents being allowed to travel overseas. Source: AAP

Mr Morrison said the number of vaccinations in Australia had surpassed three million and continued to climb each day.

"It's an important part of what we are doing — it's not the only part of what we are doing — and it's important we all work together to achieve that," he said.

The federal government has spent months arguing there is no urgency on vaccines, and more recently concerns have been raised about the efficacy of the AstraZeneca jab.

with AAP

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