By Michael Giles
THE walls, if not borders, are closing in on Monash MP Russell Broadbent.
From 11.59pm last Thursday, November 4, Victorians are allowed to enter NSW and the ACT, even if not fully vaccinated, which is the case with Mr Broadbent.
So, technically at least, he can resume his seat in the Australian Parliament, for the last sitting days of 2021, from November 22-25 and on November 29 and 30.
The ACT does, however, have the proviso that travellers who are not fully vaccinated are required to ‘Stay at Home’ for 14 days and only leave home for such things as essential work or study, if they cannot work or study from home or remotely.
The reality is, though, with the ACT population 95 per cent fully vaccinated, arguably the highest vaccination rate in the world, they don’t want people from outside going there who aren’t vaccinated.
So, Mr Broadbent has a decision to make – does he or doesn’t he – will he go to Canberra for the last sitting days of the year, and will he finally get vaccinated?
At present, while it is mandatory for Victorian State MPs to get vaccinated, so far it has not been made mandatory for Federal MPs.
Mr Broadbent is one of very few still holding out, but he does have some interesting colleagues in the unvaccinated party including One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, also United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly.
So, he’s unlikely to be on his own if he goes to Canberra unvaccinated, but will he, and should he?
The Victorian Government has virtually made vaccination mandatory, by the way they’ve included “authorised workers” and stopped free movement by the unvaccinated. This edict has already stopped Mr Broadbent from going to his office to log into the Parliamentary system, and vote.
NSW has mandated vaccinations for workers in schools, aged care and healthcare. Queensland has also enforced a mandate on healthcare workers.
So, effectively, it’s mandatory for most Australian workers to get vaccinated if they want to keep their jobs – why not Mr Broadbent?
How long can he go on trying to represent this community, with both hands tied behind his back? Making a principled-stand is one thing, but to what extent can it be allowed to stop him from doing his work?
It’s a question many have faced and some have been forced, rightly or wrongly, to give up their jobs to make a point.
Has that time come for Mr Broadbent?