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Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has blasted One Nation's controversial bill which an overwhelming majority voted down.
The Covid-19 Vaccination Status (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2021 was introduced to the Senate by One Nation's Pauline Hanson and would prevent vaccination mandates amid the pandemic.
Senator Hanson, appearing by video-link, claimed vaccine mandates had unleashed a "pandemic of discrimination" as she talked up vaccination side effects and unproven Covid-19 treatments.
Independent Senator Lambie passionately slammed Senator Hanson in parliament on Monday and accused One Nation of thriving on discrimination and creating fear to boost its election campaign.
"One Nation is not a fighter against discrimination, One Nation seeks to profit from it. It's just a fundraising exercise for them," Senator Lambie said.
"And that's all this is, this bill was supposed to be about fighting the discrimination of people who haven't been vaccinated against Covid-19.
"The only people who need protection from discrimination are people who can't receive the vaccination for reasons outside of their control."
Discrimination the wrong word for choosing no vaccine, Lambie says
She pointed out One Nation has a history of discriminating against autistic children by seeking to ban them from classrooms; barring people from entering Australia if they are from countries where majority of the people are Muslim; and said Senator Hanson refused to vote on the Same Sex Marriage Bill.
Senator Lambie said "discrimination" was the wrong word for people who can get vaccinated, but choose not to.
"You have freedom to make a choice, but if you make a choice, those choices have consequences," she said.
She used the analogy of someone getting in their car and driving twice the legal speed limit, saying while a speeding driver may be comfortable with the risk, but no one has the right to do that.
Senator Lambie said she does not support forcing people to be vaccinated, however she does not support One Nation's bill because the decision to not get vaccination was not "consequence-free".
"You don't get to decide how the rest of Australia responds to that choice," she said.
"You can't force someone else to act a certain way to you because of your freedom to choose."
Being held accountable for your actions, is not discrimination, Senator Lambie said, instead it is being "goddamn bloody adult", and putting others before yourself.
The Tasmanian said she has constituents who have autoimmune conditions, who would have to choose risking their lives or shutting down their business, if forced to serve unvaccinated customers.
"You have a right to choose, you don't have a right to put vulnerable people's lives at risk," she said.
Despite her harsh words, Senator Lambie said she understands some people have concerns about the Covid vaccine, saying it was good some were asking questions about how it was developed and how we know it is safe.
Senator Hanson took aim at state premiers for introducing mandates and adopted the prime minister's position about Australians having had a "gutful" of governments telling them what to do.
However, Senator Lambie pushed back on the idea state and territory leaders enjoy imposing restrictions and lockdowns.
"We don't have lockdowns and border restrictions because state premiers love discrimination. That's rubbish," she exclaimed passionately.
"We have them because state premiers don't want people dying, because they don't want to be playing Russian roulette with their own people's lives — that's why they doing it!"
One Nation bill fails in the Senate
Five coalition senators backed Pauline Hanson's bid to outlaw vaccination mandates, defying the government's decision to reject her move.
After a sometimes fiery debate, the Senate on Monday overwhelmingly rejected - 44 votes to 5 - the progress of the One Nation private bill.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison later defended the dissenters, insisting the Liberal-National parties were able to deal with differences from time to time.
"We do not agree with the measures that were in the bill ... that will seek to centralise power more in Canberra," he told reporters following the bill's defeat.
"I respect the fact individual members will express a view and vote accordingly for those."
Government senators Matt Canavan, Gerard Rennick, Alex Antic, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Sam McMahon voted for the bill.
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