Tuesday, 17 October 2023
Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference
Alright. I'm sorry, I'm such a true-blue Aussie I can't help myself, but, anyway, I will try and control it. I get very passionate about this. The fact is that so many people have been affected by this, not even to mention the firefighters. They couldn't work. We had outbreaks of fires, and we had SES workers who couldn't work because they didn't have the jab. Even for firefighters it was allowed—no more jabs—as of only last week. In New South Wales, they stopped the jab in March 2022, and in Victoria it was 2021. But these firefighters, because they refused to have the jab, were denied the work, and they wanted to work. And yet you have Senator Pocock, who raises a motion to say that we should put extra resources into technology because we haven't got firefighters. Well, wake up, Australia. We've denied them the right to work. That's why we haven't got the firefighters. There are so many issues here that need to be addressed.
Senator Roberts touched on the more technical issues with regard to having this inquiry and what we need to delve into and look at. If we ever have another breakout in this country, surely we must know how to handle it—even what we pay out in compensation to people. It was ridiculous to double the payments of people already on welfare payments. What circumstances changed for them? Absolutely none. But it was: 'Oh, let's double their payment. Let's give them more money.' How ridiculous was that? Their circumstances didn't change. Actually, sales of grog and drugs went up in that period of time.
The stupid part about it is that we know there are issues here but no-one is prepared to have a full investigation—a royal commission—into it to understand what has happened and how it should be handled. Are we dictated to by overseas countries, or are we in control of our own country here? Those are the questions you need to ask. Were these guidelines about how we had to behave and what we had to do to people in Australia truly from our government—our elected representatives—or were we told by overseas interests how to handle this? Then ask the question about how much money these companies got paid. Why did the government indemnify Pfizer and Moderna? Isn't it funny? I asked them the question, 'Do you think people were forced to get vaccinated?' They said, 'No, they weren't forced. They weren't forced at all.' That in itself is not the truth. People were forced. They were made to take the vaccine to keep their jobs, pay their mortgages and put food on the table for their families. They were forced to have it. Until we know the truth behind all this, we can't just have a vaccine put on the shelves after 10 months, with people forced to have it against their will to keep their jobs, and not have an investigation into this. Why did the government indemnify these pharmaceutical companies? How much money have we paid to them in the end? How much money has been paid out? How many vaccines did we buy from them? These are all questions that need to be answered.
I say to this chamber: if you really want to be representatives of the people, people are screaming out for these answers. They want the answers. I know where Labor, the Greens, Senator Pocock and the others will stand on this. You don't want it. They don't want accountability, and that has been proven time and time again in this chamber. You are not interested in accountability to the Australian people. I hope that is reflected in the next election. I hope they throw you out on your ear—exactly where you belong—because you're not interested in giving the people of this nation the answers they deserve and need.
Maybe some common sense will prevail. Maybe Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, is watching this. Prime Minister, please do the right thing by the people and call for a royal commission into the COVID response so that we know how to handle it better next time. Let the people have their say. Let the people explain the impact it has had on them so that we know how better to handle this.
I say to the chamber and all the members here: please consider this. It's no skin off your nose, but you would be doing a great service to the people of this nation. Remember that we are their servants and we work for them. We're not here to feather our nest. We're not here just for our pay packet. We shouldn't be here as career politicians—and a lot of people in this place are. We are here to serve the people of this nation.