Senate debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Statements by Senators

Queensland: COVID-19

1:32 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Queensland Labor Party is disgracefully using Queensland children as blackmail to justify their heartless restrictions imposed on Queenslanders. Yesterday, in the Queensland parliament, Annastacia Palaszczuk, when asked about the ongoing Queensland border closure, said, 'Until I can get every child vaccinated, we will stand firm and we will stand strong.'

I and millions of other Queensland parents have news for the Queensland Labor Party: it is not your job to get our kids vaccinated. That is a parent's decision, and it will remain a parent's decision. It is contemptible for the Labor Party to try to use children to justify their hypocritical approach to border restrictions. As the Queensland government's Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young, said just a few months ago, 'I don't want an 18-year-old in Queensland dying from a clotting illness, who if they got COVID, probably wouldn't die.' Dr Young was just relying on advice from the Queensland Health website, which says:

The good news is the vast majority of children with the Delta variant continue to experience a mild infection. Severe infections in children requiring intensive care unit admission [are] surprisingly uncommon ...

Today the Premier has unbelievably called for more modelling on the impact of COVID on children. What has she been doing for 18 months? If this was so important, why hasn't it been done? In truth, the Doherty modelling has looked at the rollout for children. It says:

Based on these minimal impacts, it is anticipated that inclusion of 12-15 year olds in the vaccine roll out as an early priority group would not materially change the expected overall health outcomes …

One wonders if the Premier has read the Doherty plan.

Today we learn, in the Courier-Mail, that a three-year-old child, Memphis, has spent eight weeks separated from his mum because of the Premier's heartless approach. Memphis has been crying on the phone to his mum, wanting to return home. Memphis has been denied entry despite 100 NRL families and officials being allowed in. Enough is enough. Annastacia Palaszczuk is fast becoming the Karen of the coronavirus pandemic for her heartless approach.