Thursday, 12 August 2021
Member for Dawson
In this chamber this morning, Senator Wong moved a motion condemning the comments of the member for Dawson. You will note that I voted against this motion. The reason I voted against this motion isn't that I agree with the comments that he made. No, I certainly don't; I disagree. But I, like Senator Canavan, respect his right to have debate in this place and in the other place. That is what we do: we come here to debate ideas. He believes that what he said was true and correct. I don't agree, but I respect his right to say that.
If we look at why an intelligent, educated person would say something that's contrary to the views that are held by science, we look at the science itself. It wasn't very long ago that scientific reports and papers were in scientific journals. It took a long time. It was very hard to get these papers published. Nowadays, there are so many platforms, including online, where Karen from Melbourne can go to have her paper on whatever she likes published. There's a lot of stuff out there, and it's available to the general public. This used not to be the case.
It's very easy for some of these complex studies and papers to be misinterpreted. If we look at the wearing of masks, there is a paper that says masks do nothing to stop you catching COVID. The study proved that. However, what they didn't look at was whether masks stop you spreading it or stop spread in the community, because they already knew that masks do stop you spreading COVID and they do stop community spread. All they said in this one particular study was that it doesn't stop you from catching it. We need to interpret these things with scientific advice. (Time expired)