House debates

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Statements by Members

COVID-19: Vaccination

1:36 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Cyber Security) Share this | | Hansard source

I was pleased to see the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Dunkley get the second shots of their COVID-19 vaccination this morning. Getting all Australians vaccinated is the only way that we're going to get through this pandemic and get our day-to-day lives back to normal.

Unfortunately, though, the Morrison government isn't doing its bit. Yet again, it's been too focused on announcing the vaccine rollout and not focused enough on actually delivering the vaccine rollout. Journalist Justin Stevens has collated a list of 25 separate Morrison government media releases and press conferences discussing the vaccine rollout in the last seven months. He hasn't counted Liberal Party branded social media graphics on the rollout, though, so it's far from a comprehensive list. If announcements were injections, we'd all be immune.

We know that the PM told Australians we'd be 'at the front of the queue' for the vaccine. He told the nation that four million Australians would be vaccinated by the end of March and that the vaccine rollout would 'get through the population by October'. Yet, by today, only 170,000 Australians had been vaccinated. The Prime Minister put more effort into the cosplay costume he wore for his vaccination than he has into delivering the vaccination rollout for all Australians. He hasn't put Australians at the front of the queue for vaccination; he's put his own political interests at the front of the queue. The pace of the vaccine rollout in peer nations like the United States, the UK and Israel raises the very real prospect that, instead of being at the front of the queue, Australians will be left behind as nations in the developed world achieve population immunity and we'll be ruing the Morrison government's failure to deliver.