Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Matters of Public Importance

Prime Minister

4:56 pm

Photo of Paul ScarrPaul Scarr (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

Okay, I won't take the disorderly interjection. The Prime Minister did also say that he should also take responsibility for the positive things that have happened, and I think that's quite a fair and reasonable position to take, but he did say, 'I take the responsibility for the early setback in our vaccination program.' I think that should be recognised. It was in part recognised by Senator Whish-Wilson in his disorderly interjection, which I'm not going to respond to, Madam Acting Deputy President. At least it was partly recognised by Senator Whish-Wilson, but it's a bit unfortunate that it hasn't been recognised by any other previous speaker in this debate. So the Prime Minister did take responsibility. It is fit and proper that he take responsibility. We have a Westminster system and the Prime Minister should take responsibility.

But, having said that, as we all know, with something as complicated as a vaccine rollout in a country like Australia by the Commonwealth government it isn't government by soliloquy or by a single individual. There are whole departments of people involved in this process. There are the scientific advisers. There is ATAGI. There is the Scientific Advisory Council, which gave advice on what vaccines should be ordered and on the program. There was the medical advice coming from experts. I say to everyone who might be listening to this: please, take your advice from the medical experts. Please take your advice from them. They're the people you should be listening to—your local GP, your local pharmacist and medical experts. Take advice from the experts.

The Prime Minister did that, as the Australian people would expect him to do. We're in the position we're now in and the Prime Minister has taken responsibility. It's extraordinarily pleasing that there has been a material acceleration in the rollout. If those opposite were being reasonable, that would be recognised. The first million vaccine doses took 45 days to roll out— (Time expired)


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