Scott Morrison takes swipe at states' vaccine mandates: 'Step back'

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Scott Morrison has said it's time for state governments to "step back" and allow Australians to "take their life back".

Speaking at the Tooheys brewery in Sydney on Thursday, the prime minister praised Aussies for their hard work "leading us through this pandemic".

Mr Morrison called for state premiers to allow people to "move forward" — whether they were vaccinated or not — and drop vaccine mandates once 80 per cent of the eligible population were fully vaccinated.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaking at a press conference.
Scott Morrison says governments should let Australians ‘take their life back’. Source: AAP

"But now it's time for governments to step back and for Australians to take their life back and for Australians to be able to move forward with the freedoms that should be this," he said.

The prime minister said except for "specific circumstances", "we aren’t in favour of mandatory vaccines imposed by the government".

NSW will drop vaccine passports on December 15, while Queensland will introduce them to enter hospitality venues on December 17.

'Not in favour of mandatory vaccines imposed by the government'

The prime minister said it was time for state governments to allow people to make their own choices.

“Over the last couple of years, governments have been telling Australians what to do,” Mr Morrison said.

“Now there has been a need for that as we have gone through the pandemic, but the time is now to start rolling all of that back.

A person wearing blue medical gloves holding up needle.
The prime minister said vaccine mandates should only be required in "specific circumstances".

“We now have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, we have one of the strongest economies to come through the pandemic and we have one of the lowest fatality rates from Covid in the world."

Mr Morrison said businesses could make their own choices about mandating vaccinations, but the government "aren't about telling Australians what to do".

"Vaccines are only mandatory in cases where you have health workers working with vulnerable people," he said.

The prime minister took a dig at Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's vaccine mandates, saying everyone "should be able to go to a get a cup of coffee in Brisbane regardless of whether you’ve had a vaccine or not".

A truck with yellow billboard showing Dan Andrews and ''kill the bill' written on it in black.
Protesters camped out at Parliament House in Melbourne. Source: AAP

Scott Morrison condemns protesters 

The prime minister said he had “no tolerance” for the recent protests after thousands gathered in Melbourne over the past week to protest against the state government's pandemic bill.

Demonstrators camped outside on the steps of state parliament overnight yelling "kill the bill" and "freedom", with videos and photos shared online showing an inflatable Daniel Andrews doll being strung up on the gallows as people cheered.

"Those threats and intimidation have no place in Australia, we are a simple and peaceful society," he said.

"We have disagreements, we don't handle them with violence.

"No matter how frustrated people might be, that is never the answer and there needs to be the respect shown in those debates that we have, there has to be an appropriate balance and stability."

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