Thursday, 5 August 2021
Treasury Laws Amendment (COVID-19 Economic Response No. 2) Bill 2021; In Committee
I just want to say I was a bit confused by Senator Canavan's contribution there. He, of course, talks about the obvious costs of lockdown, which we all acknowledge. I don't think any of us in this place don't want to get out of lockdowns as quickly as we can. I think all Australians would agree with that. He also talked about the effectiveness of the vaccine in reducing the death rates, yet I did not hear him say in here today, 'I encourage all Australians to go out and get vaccinated.' I didn't hear him say that at all in here today. But surely that is the logical thing we should be talking about. We should be using this platform and the privilege we have as senators to encourage all Australians to go out there and get their vaccines.
If Senator Canavan wants to talk about numbers, I would refer him to both the Doherty institute report this week and the Grattan Institute report this week, which clearly modelled in extensive detail the number of deaths we would likely see in this country, even with higher vaccination rates, across different age cohorts, even outside of the most vulnerable—tens of thousands of deaths, even at 70 to 80 per cent vaccination rates. Senator Canavan might not care about those people, but I do, the Greens do and I think most senators in here do.
It's fine to come in here and talk about lockdowns. We all agree we want to get out of them as quickly as possible. The pathway is before us: get as many Australians vaccinated as possible so we can move beyond this bloody mess that is COVID and try to get back to a semblance of normality in this country. The pathway is there. Let's all get on it and do what the Australian people want us to do: do our job and be leaders.