One Nation and Pauline Hanson are back in headlines connected to anti-vaccine mandates. Here’s your explainer of exactly what’s been going on.
Well, it’s about that time again when Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party make their way back into headlines. Ironically, this time, they’re claiming discrimination — so what on earth are they on about?
On Sunday, November 21, One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson introduced a Covid-19 Vaccination Status (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2021 into the Senate. In a nutshell, the Bill would prevent vaccine mandates for certain high-risk workplaces (like medical professions), or for entry into certain places (like restaurants) that currently require a person to be double vaxxed.
Upon introducing the bill, she threatened to withhold support for all government legislation unless the Prime Minister backed her bill.
Addressing Parliament the next day when it came time to vote, Senator Hanson claimed that the mandates were discriminatory.
“You might not agree with the choices that people make, but that doesn’t mean the right to choose should be stolen from them,” she said.
“We (in the Senate) are charged with protecting their rights … This is a pandemic of discrimination … What is our country coming to.”
While the PM did allow the bill to be introduced, Mr Morrison said his government couldn’t support it, but he would allow his members to cross the floor (aka, vote against their own party).
This is exactly what five Liberal and National members did, when Parliament voted on the bill.
“I respect the fact that individual members will express a view and vote accordingly and that’s what’s happened today,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
Despite all this, the bill was overwhelmingly voted against, so it’s currently a no-go.
You’ve probably caught the tongue-lashing Senator Jacqui Lambie gave to Senator Hanson, and all those trying to claim these mandates are the same thing as discrimination (spoiler: they’re not).
After pointing out how ridiculous it is that Pauline Hanson, of all people, should be trying to champion anti-discrimination when her party has a long history of encouraging discrimination against people with disabilities, people of multicultural backgrounds, and the LGBTIQ community, Senator Lambie went on to explain the difference between discrimination and consequences of actions.
“If you want to work as a cabbie, you need a licence to drive a cab, (but) people without a licence are not being discriminated against,” Senator Lambie said in her fiery speech.
“If you want to work in aged care, you need to have a flu vaccine – that has always been in place since before Covid-19 was even a twinkle in a Chinese bat’s eye …
“People have a right to choose, but you don’t have a right to put vulnerable people’s lives at risk.”
“You are not being discriminated against,” she continued. “You choose to do something that puts other people’s lives at risk. You will be held accountable for that.
“Having the freedom to choose isn’t the same as having the freedom to avoid the consequences of that choice. You have freedom to make a choice, but if you make a choice, those choices have consequences.
“Being held accountable for your own actions isn’t called discrimination, it’s called being, you wouldn’t believe it – a goddamn bloody adult.”
A quick reminder that mandatory vaccinations aren’t new. Certain vaccinations have been required in Australia to work in aged care, access subsidised childcare and to fly to and from certain countries — among others.
Covid-19 vaccination mandates aren’t just happening in Australia, either. For example, several countries in Europe are now calling for the same requirements amid yet another wave of the virus.