Morrison denies encouraging anti-vaxxers

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Scott Morrison insists he has not emboldened anti-vaxxers as federal police move to protect politicians from threats during violent protests.

The Australian Federal Police had to intervene over the weekend because of "specific threats against different members of parliament".

Commissioner Reece Kershaw declined to name the politicians or go into the nature of the threats amid unrest from fringe groups opposed to vaccine mandates and ongoing pandemic restrictions.

"We know that the environment has changed rapidly due to a number of factors," the commissioner told reporters in Canberra on Monday.

"We will be making sure we do as much as we can to keep our parliamentarians safe."

The prime minister was accused of egging on protesters by urging states like Queensland to drop restrictions for unvaccinated people.

"The government has not supported the campaigns of anti-vaxxers," Mr Morrison told federal parliament.

He also reiterated the coalition did not support vaccine mandates except for health, aged and disability care workers.

"When it comes to what happens in somebody's business, we believe business should make that decision and shouldn't be told by the government what they should be doing," Mr Morrison said.

He earlier said the government wanted to get "out of people's lives".

Victorian government legislation to enforce ongoing pandemic powers fed angry protests in Melbourne where demonstrators brought gallows and chanted they wanted to "kill" Premier Daniel Andrews.

So-called freedom protesters gathered in various major cities over the weekend, while Queensland Health Minister Yvette D'Ath confirmed she had received threats.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews condemned violence during the rallies as "absolutely unacceptable".

"We are very aware that there are people in Australia who wish to do parliamentarians harm, whether that be at the federal level or at the state level or, in some cases, in local government," she said.

"There will be continuing work in relation to making sure MPs are safe as they go about their work."

A review of security arrangements for federal politicians was already underway following the murder of UK MP David Amess in October.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese expressed concern ministers had to bring security with them for press conferences.

"You've got to call out this behaviour for what it is," he told ABC radio.

"I am more concerned about security issues than I have been in the past."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting