Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Health, Senator Colbeck. On Monday, the minister promised to provide the Senate with the government's document outlining how many vaccine doses will be provided across Australia, month by month until the end of 2021, saying:
I am happy to provide that information to the chamber. I will come back to the chamber as soon as possible with that information …
Why has the minister failed to provide the document to the Senate in line with his commitment and in direct contravention of yesterday's OPD, unanimously supported by the Senate, including by the government?
It's actually not correct to say that I've refused to provide the data. My letter to the Senate yesterday says the final data will be released once finalised by the coordinator-general over the coming days. There is a commitment from me and from the government to release the data. This data is the state's data. It's being managed.
As I said in my letter yesterday, the coordinator-general of the vaccine rollout, Lieutenant General Frewen, is currently consulting with states and territories on the vaccine horizon information, including each jurisdiction's breakdown of allocated vaccines across the horizon allocation periods to the end of 2021. My advice is that information has been published now on the coordinator-general's website. I will provide it to the chamber at the end of question time.
Lieutenant General Frewen told the Select Committee on COVID-19 on Monday, with respect to the vaccine information, 'I've also provided these documents directly to the states and territories.' Given the Commonwealth provided its document to first ministers, why has the minister claimed in his inadequate response to the Senate's OPD, 'will be released once finalised', when the document requested by the Senate has already been handed over to the states?
The evidence given to the committee on Monday night talked about the consultation with the states with respect to the release of the data. My letter to the Senate indicates that process has been undertaken. The data is now available.
The Morrison government has broken its promise that all Australians would be fully vaccinated by October, that four million would be vaccinated by the end of March, that all of 1a would be vaccinated by Easter and that six million Australians would be vaccinated by 10 May. Is the government trying to keep this information secret? Will the government commit to the same information that was provided to the national cabinet on Monday being made publicly available through the Senate?
As I've indicated to the Senate, the data is now available. I will bring the documentation to the chamber and present it at the end of question time. The information is information that's been consulted on with the states to provide an indication of vaccine availability out to the end of 2021. It is important information for the Australian people to understand. Had Senator Gallagher listened to my previous answer, she would have understood that the information is now available.