AUSTRALIANS will use a QR-code vaccine certificate for overseas travel under a Federal Government plan to reopen international borders, but the Coalition is in disagreement over whether to extend the requirement to domestic travel.
And in a memo to his constituents this week, Monash MP Russell Broadbent, has asked locals to help him decide which way to vote.
But, it must be said, he’ll need some convincing to vote yes.
“You may have heard or had conversations around international airlines rolling out digital health passes, otherwise known as vaccine passports, when international flights resume,” Mr Broadbent said this week.
“While private companies are entitled to make whatever decisions they like regarding vaccine passports, I have to say I feel uncomfortable, really uncomfortable, about the use of vaccine passports being made mandatory for domestic travel.
“Over the past few months, I’ve received passionate emails and calls from many constituents pleading with me to vote against any introduction of vaccine passports.
“But equally, I know many people are supportive of the idea.
“Any decisions about vaccine passports need to be carefully considered, and I want to better understand the perspective of the people I represent.
“So, today I invite you to respond to this video and share your views with me. In fact, feel free to forward this video to your family, friends and colleagues, located in my electorate or around Australia and encouraged them to let me know about the views as well.”
You can contact Mr Broadbent by email at: Russell.Broadbent.MP@aph.gov.au
So, if you want to go overseas in the future, you’ll need to get vaccinated, with the vaccination status on your MyGov account creating a vaccine certificate for international travel.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for the use of the certificates domestically on the basis it will encourage more Australians to get vaccinated faster under national cabinet’s planned four-phase reopening of the country.
But the issue remains contentious within the Coalition party room, with several MPs from within its conservative ranks voicing their opposition against any mandatory system, including it seems, Mr Broadbent.
So, what do you think?
Should unvaccinated people be free to put themselves, and their families and friends, at risk by crowding into the close confines of an aeroplane cabin? And will risk-averse airlines allow it.
Qantas last week confirmed it would roll out a digital health pass for international flights, which will confirm passengers have clearance to fly. The airline said many countries now required either proof of vaccination or a negative test result in order to enter without undergoing quarantine. These include Britain, the United States and Canada.
Federal Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has previously flagged an intention to see a vaccine passport system in Australia for domestic travel, but industry sources said there was doubt any airline would be able to efficiently implement a domestic system.
The former Liberal MP, now independent Craig Kelly, has led the debate on not making domestic air travel dependent on a vaccination certificate, sponsoring a ‘No Domestic COVID Vaccine Passports Bill 2021’ in June 2021.
The gist of the bill is: “The Commonwealth must not discriminate against a person on the basis of whether the person has received a COVID vaccination.”
“The principle behind the No Domestic COVID Vaccine Passports Bill 2021 is quite simple: COVID vaccines in this country should be freely available to all, with informed consent of course, but they should be mandatory to nobody. Already, there are 16 US states that have introduced similar legislation to that which I am introducing today. This bill has been modelled on Florida’s bill, introduced by Governor DeSantis, which has been widely accepted by the Florida electorate. I hope that this parliament will move forward and bring this bill on for debate and a vote as soon as possible. This bill is simply about the type of country that we want. Do we want a country where government officials and petty bureaucrats demand that you show your medical papers? That is not the country that I want. Your medical records should be something between you and your doctor,” Mr Kelly said.