Senate debates

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

COVID-19: Vaccination

3:09 pm

Photo of Matt O'SullivanMatt O'Sullivan (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The question of vaccinations in this country in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is, of course, a very, very important series of questions, and today there have been a number of questions on this particular topic. One of the most important things we need to be doing in coming in here at this time is to do everything we possibly can to encourage Australians who are eligible right now to go out, book in a vaccination and get that done.

There is hesitancy that exists within the community—we all know it; we speak to people in the community about it—and, also, for some, there's a sense of complacency. We're probably a victim of our own success in this country, where COVID, thankfully, has evaded so many of us because of the success of the policies that have been implemented across this country, be it the policies of the Morrison government or indeed those of state governments who have also successfully managed the health pandemic. So for some there is a sense of complacency. But we have a responsibility as political leaders in this country to come into this place, take that responsibility seriously and encourage people, using the influence that we've got, to book in a vaccine and make it happen.

In my home state I've just recently become eligible to get vaccinated, so I have booked it in. As soon as I get back from this parliamentary fortnight I'm booked in on the Tuesday and I'll be getting my vaccine, my very first dose. My wife works in health care, and she has in fact had her two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. She's a healthcare worker and she took advantage of that as soon as she possibly could. We need to be encouraging more and more Australians to do that. But what we see with those opposite coming in here and asking these questions is an undermining of the confidence that's necessary to encourage Australians to get out there and make it happen.

But, thankfully, we are seeing many Australians taking up the opportunity that's before them to go and get vaccinated. Just to give you a bit of a taste of what we're seeing across the country, it took 45 days for the first million doses to be put in the arms of people across the country. It then took 20 days for the next million doses, to get us to two million people. It then took 17 days for the next million to go through and then it was 13 days. So you can see that the time it's taking is diminishing. It went from 45 days to 20 days to 17 days to 13 days and, in this last 10 days, we've seen another million doses. So we're seeing this rapidly-increasing vaccination program across the country.

But, instead of highlighting and getting behind that success, and encouraging an even further embrace of the opportunity to go and get vaccinated, we get questions from those opposite that are guided by some sort of political motivation to undermine the confidence in the system. It's disappointing when you come in here and you see that that's what's going on. We had questions on this today; whereas there actually could have been questions about the efficacy of the vaccine program, how it's impacting and what it's doing. Recently, we saw cases go through Victoria. I heard of one case where a 95-year-old gentleman, sadly, contracted COVID. But, because he had received the vaccine, he actually had no symptoms at all and he got through his case of COVID-19. But, instead of highlighting the impact that this program is having, we get questions that are seeking to actually undermine the confidence in the program, which is indeed very, very disappointing.

We're seeing Australians stepping up to the plate and doing their bit to take up the vaccine. Despite the great success that there has been across the country and the fact we don't have the prevalence of COVID in our community, Australians know that this is the best way for us to move forward as a nation and to take advantage of all the opportunities that have been created, particularly across the economy. Last night we saw the announcement of the free trade in-principle agreement. There are opportunities that abound for us as a nation, and we need to see Australians take up those opportunities by getting vaccinated. (Time expired)


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