House debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Questions without Notice

Senator Rennick

2:00 pm

Photo of Mark ButlerMark Butler (Hindmarsh, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Senator Rennick says he has extracted a change in government policy from the Prime Minister in exchange for his vote on Senate procedural motions. Why has the Prime Minister allowed himself to become hostage to a senator who boasts he is unvaccinated and proudly spreads vaccine disinformation? What other changes to government policy is the Prime Minister willing to negotiate with Senator Rennick?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The government has been considering for some weeks now improvements to the compensation scheme in relation to people who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine. We have decided to ensure that that threshold is $1,000. I don't know why those opposite would think that was a bad idea. We have been running a national vaccine program that now has one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world. But we also know that, in any national vaccine program, there are adverse reactions to vaccines, and we put in place an indemnity scheme to provide confidence to the Australian people so they could go forward and could get these vaccines. That is one of the many reasons that, under the national vaccine program, we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

If those opposite don't think that we should have an indemnity scheme for those people who have had adverse reactions to the vaccine—if they think that that is some sort of pandering to an antivax movement—I disagree with them. We put this in place to ensure that there was a proper indemnity scheme to give confidence in the national vaccine program. So what are those opposite doing? When we put it in place and make sure that it is fair and more equitable, with the same tight restrictions around proof of injury and harm, what do they do? They want to play politics with it, like they have all the way through the pandemic. I'm so pleased that we didn't have to rely on the opposition during the pandemic, because we wouldn't have got the results.