Monday, 9 August 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is for the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Senator Colbeck. Mr Dutton has said, 'Anything to incentivise people to get vaccinated I'm in favour of.' Is Mr Dutton right?
[by video link] The government has indicated that it will consider targeted incentives at the appropriate time to encourage Australians to get vaccinated. But, at the current point in time, we have, as we can see in all states, strong demand by Australians to access a vaccine. We have state premiers who are asking for additional vaccine supplies. Mr Dutton is right: at the appropriate time, the government will consider targeted incentives to targeted groups in support of vaccination.
What we won't do is take the reckless across-the-board, more bubble than thought approach that was proposed by Mr Albanese last week. We will take, as we've done all the way through the development and the rollout of the vaccination process, appropriate measures to, at the appropriate time, encourage Australians to take up a vaccine. That's been indicated by the head of our COVID-19 vaccination task force and it's been indicated by a number of my colleagues. So we will continue to take a considered approach to this, not some reckless spend-billions-of-dollars exercise to encourage people who have already been vaccinated to take up a vaccine. Why would we do that? Why would the government spend taxpayers' money where people have already taken up the vaccine? We will continue to operate our rollout on a considered basis.
Yes, I do have a supplementary question. When asked why he would not consider cash incentives, Mr Morrison has said, 'It's not a game show and I'm not going to pay them off.' Can the minister confirm that Mr Morrison approached gambling giant Tabcorp in July about the possibility of incentivising the national vaccination rollout with a lottery?
Opposition senators interjecting—
[by video link] I thank the senator for her question. What we have ruled out are irresponsible measures, such as the one proposed by Mr Albanese. We've said that we will consider appropriately targeted measures in support of the vaccine rollout at appropriate times during the vaccine rollout. So we will continue, as I have said, to responsibly engage with the Australian people to provide them with the opportunity to take up a vaccine and to ensure that they all have that opportunity by the end of this calendar year. We are on target to do that, as we've said on a number of occasions. And we will, at the appropriate time, consider targeted measures in support of the vaccine rollout.