House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2021-2022; Consideration in Detail

11:37 am

Photo of Josh BurnsJosh Burns (Macnamara, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

The fact of the matter is that Australia does not have enough vaccines. We have repeatedly been told by the government that we are on track, and we are not on track. We have fully vaccinated less than five per cent of our population. In a private briefing to the Australian Labor Party, I remember personally asking an official—I'm not going to name the official, but it was a senior health official—'Why are we not doing deals with Moderna?' It was a very dismissive answer: we didn't need them. They felt, at that time, the decision was to go with the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that has been the strategy all along. Now the federal government are in the situation, where, instead of having adequate vaccine supply, they are stuck with a vaccine that is not recommended for under 60s.

This is a problem entirely of the federal government's own making. Do you want to know why we are way behind comparable countries? Do you want to know why people are turning up to sporting events in the United States and we're going into restrictions on the east coast of Australia? It's because the federal government hasn't vaccinated enough Australians. That's it—that's the reason. We should have way more than five per cent of the population fully vaccinated. The percentage of fully vaccinated people should be in the 50s. We have a fantastic health system. But the strategy, the procurement and the decisions from the start of this vaccine rollout have been wrong. Instead of admitting it, this federal government has doubled down. They put all their eggs in the AstraZeneca basket, and Australians are paying the price. The government should start being honest about it. (Time expired)


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