Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2022; In Committee

12:44 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

We have an amendment on sheet 1839 that's not on the run sheet?

Photo of Penny Allman-PaynePenny Allman-Payne (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

It hasn't been circulated.

12:45 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move One Nation amendments (1) and (2) on sheet number 1842 together:

(1) Schedule 1, item 25, page 9 (line 23), omit ", without reasonable excuse".

(2) Schedule 1, item 25, page 10 (lines 2 and 3), omit subsection 272A(2).

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm just indicating that the government will be opposing this amendment.

12:46 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

In relation to the coalition's position on the amendment, whilst I understand the intent of the amendment, what it will do is mean there are no exceptions to the banning of insurance or indemnity from work health and safety penalties. The coalition can't support the amendment. The reasons being the main object of the Model Work Health and Safety Act is to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. The amendment would mean that the Commonwealth is actually departing from the concept of the model work health and safety laws. I note that the Victorian government, in their legislation that passed in 2021, and the New South Wales government, in their legislation that passed in 2020, both have used similar wording to what is presented in this bill. On the basis that what we want to see is that national consistency, it is important for employers and employees that we continue to provide the nationally consistent framework of work health and safety laws and regulations.

12:47 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I moved this amendment because the bill contains a reversal of burden of proof. We cannot accept that. Without that, we're not going to support the bill.

Question negatived.

Photo of Ralph BabetRalph Babet (Victoria, United Australia Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I move the amendment as circulated in my name on sheet 1848:

(1) Page 10 (after line 17), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 2 — Prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine discrimination

Fair Work Act 2009

1 Section 12


COVID-19 vaccination status means the status of a person relating to whether, and to what extent, the person has been vaccinated against the coronavirus known as COVID-19 (including any subsequent variants of that virus).

2 Subsection 153(1)

After "intersex status,", insert "COVID-19 vaccination status,".

3 Subsection 195(1)

After "intersex status,", insert "COVID-19 vaccination status,".

4 Subsection 351(1)

After "intersex status,", insert "COVID-19 vaccination status,".

5 Paragraph 351(2)(a)

Before "not unlawful", insert "for action taken other than because of a person's COVID-19 vaccination status—".

6 Paragraph 578(c)

After "intersex status,", insert "COVID-19 vaccination status,".

7 Paragraph 772(1)(f)

After "intersex status,", insert "COVID-19 vaccination status,".

8 Section 789 HB (at the end of the heading)

Add "—breastfeeding, gender identity or intersex status".

9 At the end of Part 6-4E


789HC Extension of anti-discrimination rules — COVID-19 vaccination status

State referral laws

(1) Subsection (3) applies for the purposes of the operation of the provisions identified in subsection (2) in relation to COVID-19 vaccination status.

(2) The provisions are as follows:

(a) section 153;

(b) section 172A;

(c) section 195.

(3) In applying sections 30H and 30S in relation to that operation of the provisions identified in subsection (2), assume that:

(a) the matter to which that operation of those provisions relates is not an excluded subject matter for the purposes of:

(i) the State's referral law mentioned in sections 30H and 30S; and

(ii) Divisions 2A and 2B of Part 1-3; and

(b) the referral of that matter by that referral law results in the Parliament of the Commonwealth having sufficient legislative power for those provisions (to the extent of that operation) to have effect.

P rotection against adverse action

(4) The provisions identified in subsection (6), as they operate in relation to COVID-19 vaccination status, apply to action taken in a State.

Note: Action taken in a State includes action taken by a State public sector employer in a State.

(5) For the purposes of the provisions identified in subsection (6), as they operate in relation to COVID-19 vaccination status:

(a) a reference to an employee with its ordinary meaning includes a reference to a law enforcement officer of a State or the Northern Territory; and

(b) a reference to an employer with its ordinary meaning includes a reference to the Commissioner (however described) of the police service or police force of a State or the Northern Territory; and

(c) the Commissioner (however described) of the police service or police force of a State or the Northern Territory is taken to be an employer of law enforcement officers of the State or the Northern Territory, as the case requires.

(6) The provisions are as follows:

(a) section 351;

(b) any other provision of Part 3-1, to the extent the provision relates to section 351.

(7) Subsections (4) to (6) apply despite sections 30G, 30R and 337, and do not limit the operation of sections 338 and 339 (which deal with the application of Part 3-1).

10 In the appropriate position in Schedule 1


Part 14 — Amendments made by the Work Health and Safety Amendment Act 2022

86 Application of amendments

(1) Subject to subclauses (2) and (3), the amendments made by Schedule 2 to the Work Health and Safety Amendment Act 2022 apply on and after the commencement of that Schedule.

(2) The amendments of section 195 made by that Schedule apply in relation to enterprise agreements made on and after the commencement of that Schedule.

(3) The amendments of section 351 made by that Schedule apply in relation to adverse action taken on and after the commencement of that Schedule.

I have been in this place, obviously not as long as many of you here have, and I campaigned very strongly on the issue of vaccine mandates. People out there are hurting. People are injured. Despite the fact that the bureaucracy and the government and even some in the opposition would like to cover it up, it can't be covered up for long. A day of reckoning is coming, and you have a chance to be on the right side of history. Start speaking up. Start standing up for the people out there that have been hurt by big pharma. These guys are corrupt. These guys are dodgy. These guys lie to all of us in this place. Admit that you were misled and that you were wrong, and do the right thing.

12:48 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

The government will be opposing this amendment. We believe the Fair Work Act's existing framework provides sufficient protection from COVID-19 vaccine discrimination and strikes an appropriate balance between protecting the rights of workers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and protecting public health and protecting the rights of workers vulnerable to being infected with COVID-19 as well.

12:49 pm

Photo of Gerard RennickGerard Rennick (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to talk to this amendment, and I start by noting that just this week former prime minister and the member for Cook, Scott Morrison, said that when he was prime minister the advice was that mandates weren't advised in any setting other than health settings. The question is: why do we have mandates and why are employers imposing mandates that weren't actually the advice of the government medical authorities themselves? That in itself shows that these mandates are completely unnecessary. We have also got evidence from the FDA. They themselves admitted in November 2020 that there is no evidence the actual vaccines stopped transmission. We've subsequently found out that they not only didn't stop transmission but haven't stopped infection. What is the purpose of discriminating against people in the workplace if it doesn't actually stop people from getting sick?

If you look at the initial outbreak of COVID and COVID generally, the people who were most at risk were older people who weren't working. In the working-age population, where people are healthy, there is a very low risk of actually getting seriously ill from COVID. Why have we gone out and imposed all these draconian mandates, the lockdowns, the border closures and everything like that happened earlier on? Why are we still here in March 2023, two years after the start of the vaccine rollout, imposing these mandates? They are completely pointless. Not only are they completely pointless; they are cruel and unnecessarily because for the last 18 months, from late October onwards, I have daily received messages from people who have been injured by the vaccine.

A lot of these injuries are in people who were healthy and young and would not necessarily have become seriously ill from COVID. There are also people who had pre-existing conditions—and I'm referring to Natalie Boyce who had an antiphospholipid condition and was at risk from taking the vaccine because the vaccine uses phospholipids both in its lipid nanoparticle that encapsulates the spike protein, or the mRNA that coats the spike protein, and yet again, when it crosses the cell membrane, the cell membrane is also made up of phospholipid. We know that when these trials were carried out, they weren't performed on people who had immune conditions, so it is a great risk. We're putting healthy working people at great risk by imposing mandates on them.

I might add that a lot of these mandates are out of date because a lot of workplaces are saying you can actually still work for them if you've had two shots. There are people who would have got two shots back in August to November 2021, and even if you look at the initial trial data it was only good for about 35 days, so their immunity from the vaccine is no longer relevant anyway. A lot of these mandates are just in place for the sake of imposing power, command and control, rather than actually doing anything substantial.

I note that Senator Chisholm said we have proper protections in place around the COVID vaccine. I want to touch on this nonclinical evaluation report yet again, for the umpteenth time, because it seems to me that people in this chamber don't actually want to read it. If you actually read it, you would see how pointless these vaccine mandates are. The one that I think is really important to start off with is that in their trials it was shown that there is an almost similar microscopic lung inflammation observed in both challenge control and immunised animals after peak of infections at day 7, day 8. In other words, they knew from the get-go that there is no difference between those animals that were vaccinated and those animals that weren't.

Let's have a look at the risk we're taking here. We know what the risk from COVID is because we have about three years of data now and we know there is a very low risk of people under 60 in the healthy working-age population actually getting seriously ill from COVID. Here's the risk we are taking, if we go on the initial trial data: there was no distribution or degradation data on the antigen-encoding mRNA. In other words, we have gone and used an entirely new form of vaccine and we've coded the mRNA inside the lipid nanoparticle codes for a spike protein. But they never tested how quickly it degrades in the body or how far it travels throughout the body. And that's very, very important, for a couple of reasons, because the normal vaccine will stay in the shoulder, because it's a much, much larger protein.

I mean, I know the word gets thrown around a lot—the lipid nanoparticle—but it actually does mean something. It's one billionth—one to the power of negative nine. That is a very small molecule. What that means is that it can cross the endothelium, get into your bloodstream and then travel throughout your body. We know that because this paper shows, on page 44, increases throughout nearly all the body organs. I'll just concentrate on one of them. In women's ovaries, the concentration doubled from day one to day two, and then they stopped the trial. Women are born with only one set of eggs, oocytes, and they get inherited. They're passed on by generation.

So, to recklessly impose this on our children is incredibly risky. Yet again, weigh it up against the risks of COVID to children, whom we know have very few ace receptors on their cell, versus the risk of what this can do. And this is the other thing about this product: this product uses transfection. Unlike most natural organisms or molecules in the body, they can cross the cell membrane only with either the use of an enzyme or the use of an ion channel.

Honourable Senator:

An honourable senator interjecting

Photo of Gerard RennickGerard Rennick (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

No, no, no: this vaccine was designed—and this is where the 30 years of research went in—with the lipid nanoparticle to cross the cell membrane without having to use an enzyme or an ion channel. What that showed in here was that you've now got 60 to 80 per cent of infection of all cells in all organs, okay? So your normal vaccine, your antibodies—you'll get the antigens in your shoulder, and your antibodies will come in and they'll kill the foreign body in your shoulder. In this particular pathway, they are giving you a vaccine that travels throughout your body, can enter any cell, and then it'll take over your cell's ribosomes, which are part of the organelles inside the cell, that will produce the protein, a spike protein. That will induce an autoimmune response. It'll create both B cells and T cells. Now, your B cells are okay; they're helper cells—they create antibodies to fight antigens. But your T cells are known as killer cells. They come in and they kill your own healthy cells. Yet again, we're exposing people to this risk that is completely unnecessary.

But not only is it completely unnecessary; it's incredibly dangerous if it goes wrong. Now, it won't happen to everyone, because the fact of the matter is that this product had to be stored at negative 70 degrees. We know how much of the mRNA was degraded by the time it left the TGA: about 40 per cent. If you look at the batch results, about 40 per cent of the mRNA had already been degraded by the time it left the TGA. So, I can assure you that by the time it gets on the back of a truck and goes across the Australian roads, or it's sitting in some esky out at Bunnings, most of it's degraded. So, consider yourself lucky if you got it and you didn't get sick. But if you're one of those people who got a proper shot of it—and when I say 'shot of it', that also is a bit of Russian roulette, because they put five doses in one vial—that, again is how risky? Very risky, because fats don't necessarily emulsify evenly. If you read the instructions, you'll know that you've got to sit there and you've got to tip this little vial up and down 10 times, but you can't shake it, because you'll degrade the mRNA, so you've got to do this slowly.

Do you think they were doing this slowly in Bunnings when there was a queue for the football? I would doubt it. But if you're unlucky and, say, they don't turn it upside down 10 times and let it emulsify properly, and you just happen to get the fatty bit on top which has got the actual lipid nanoparticle, you could get the hot shot; you could get all five doses in one. Then again, you could also get another random element to this, which is—if you actually read this document—the size of the lipid nanoparticle was between 45 nanometres and 180 nanometres. In other words, there is a variance within that lipid nanoparticle of 450 per cent. I mean, what sort of quality control is this?

So, I would ask that people do support this amendment. People have a right to choose what goes into their body and they shouldn't be the playthings of unaccountable pharmaceuticals and bureaucrats.

12:59 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In light of acting minister Senator Chisholm's comments when he mentioned COVID, I wish to note and draw to the Senate's attention that the bill that was passed this morning, the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Bill 2022, combined with this bill, makes it impossible to dodge vaccine mandates.

I want to draw the attention of the Senate to two points. The first is an article by the Washington correspondent for the Australian, Adam Creighton. The article is headlined '"US helped fund Covid-19": ex CDC director Robert Redfield'. Dr Robert Redfield is a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. It's supposedly an authoritative body. The article says:

Dr Redfield … said … during a House Select Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee hearing on "Investigating the Origins of COVID-19" that the deadly coronavirus "more likely was the result of an accidental lab leak"—

Whoops! Those conspiracy theorists were right! The article says:

The former head of the US Centers for Disease Control has told Congress the US government likely helped fund the development of Sars-Cov2, which he believed leaked from a Chinese lab in late 2019, ultimately killing more than 6 million people globally.

…   …   …   

Asked by Republican congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis whether "American tax dollars funded the gain of function research that created this virus", Dr Redfield, who was CDC director between 2018 and 2021, replied "I think it did".

This is serious stuff. The article goes on to say:

"As a clinical virologist I felt it was not scientifically plausible that this virus went from a bat to humans and became one of the most infectious viruses we have for humans …

His testimony came a week after revelations the FBI and the US Department of Energy had assessed the lab leak theory—once dubbed a 'conspiracy theory'—

where have I heard that before—

to be the most likely explanation for the origin of the pandemic.

…   …   …

Dr Redfield, who was appointed by the Trump administration … said he had been side-lined early on by Dr Fauci—

where have I heard his name before—

and NIH head Dr Francis Collins—

where have I heard her name before—

who, Dr Redfield said, wanted to "create a narrative" the virus emerged naturally.

It's rubbish. The article continues:

The two hours of testimony and questioning by Democrat and Republican representatives of four expert witnesses on Wednesday … centred around private emails from top US scientists to Dr Fauci in late January, which suggested the new virus 'looked engineered'—

Senator Babet—

and what may have prompted their subsequent about face.

On February 4th, four of those scientists among a group of 11, who had convened on a confidential conference call organised by Dr Fauci, from which Dr Redfield—

head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—

was excluded, claimed the lab leak idea was not feasible in a draft academic paper that became the "Proximal Origin of Sars-Cov2", published in March.

"I didn't know there was a February 1 conference call until the Freedom of Information came out with the emails and I was quite upset as the CDC director that I was excluded," Dr Redfield said.

One of the witnesses, Nicholas Wade, both former editor of Nature and senior New York Times science writer, said the media had been "used" to establish the natural origin theory.

Like this government has been used. The article continues:

He also pointed out the scientists—

remember, this is a Democrat—

who seemingly changed their mind over the course of a few days later received a US$9 million grant from Dr Fauci's NIAID in May 2020.

This is serious stuff. The article continues:

Another witness, Dr Jamie Metzl, said the idea the virus emerged from wet markets was never the most logical explanation.

…   …   …

"I'm a lifelong Democrat. I consider myself a progressive person, but … I couldn't find the justification for the strong arguments, calling people like me, investigating looking into pandemic origins in good faith, conspiracy theorists".

This smells. The TGA bill, combined with this bill, enables injection mandates. Let's have a think about who could be the beneficiaries here.

On Tuesday I discussed the fact that, over the last 15 years, 47 market-leading drugs have aged out of patent, costing pharmaceutical companies $30 billion a year in lost sales, including drugs that made up 42 per cent of Pfizer's drug revenue and 62 per cent of AstraZeneca's. This patent cliff is set to get worse, with another 15 leading drugs—nine of them among the world's top-20 best-selling drugs—due to expire this decade. Pfizer will lose another $15 billion in annual sales. The only way to replace so much revenue is with a whole new class of drug: mRNA—not tested, thought to be dangerous, killing people in this country and globally.

We've now seen that drug on the market, through mandates that the federal government drove. The former Prime Minister drove the injection mandates in this country. He bought the injections. He indemnified the states. He gave them to the states and gave them access to the health data that enabled the states to control the mandates. We are looking at something being set up here that is heinous.

1:06 pm

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

I rise to speak in favour of the amendment that is going forward here. There was never any justification for mandating the coronavirus vaccine, and that is for the simple reason that there was never any evidence that the vaccine stopped or prevented transmission in a material way. We know that now—we know it from evidence from Pfizer themselves—but we knew that at the time, too. Despite some people's attempt to rewrite history, there was never any evidence presented—for all of its other issues, which Senator Roberts and others have gone into—that the vaccine helped to stop someone from contracting or transmitting the coronavirus disease, and that can be the only reason to mandate a medical treatment or a vaccine for someone.

We have various mandates for vaccines in some workplaces. I was subject to one when I worked in a meatworks—I had to get a Q fever vaccine—but those vaccines have been tested and shown to work in that fashion. This one never had been, and I say that as someone who got the vaccination. I'm not arguing against it being of some benefit to some, although I think that was oversold too, but that's not the question here. The question is: should we force some Australians to get a medical treatment to keep their job?

It should be a fundamental right in this free country to work to provide for your family. I would've thought my colleagues on the other side would understand that. It is a basic human right to work and earn a living so you can provide for your family. Through these last couple of years, shamefully, this country has denied thousands of Australians that right to work and provide for their family, because they wouldn't take a vaccine that was invented in record time, just in the last few years, and had questions about its side effects, benefits et cetera. There were certainly questions. On top of that, forcing them to get that vaccine came to no benefit to anybody else who had got the vaccine or made a different decision. There was no benefit to anyone else. There was never any evidence of any benefit, and there was no evidence of that at the time. I remember in mid-2021, when we were starting to roll out vaccines here in Australia, Dr Fauci in the United States admitted that the viral load that was evident in people with the vaccine and coronavirus and those without a vaccine and coronavirus was the same. It was exactly the same viral load.

We learnt just the other week in the European parliament, through testimony from Pfizer officials, that they never even tested whether or not the vaccine prevented transmission. They never tested it. Presumably health officials knew this. They certainly should have known it—they should have asked. We rely on our health officials to subject major large pharmaceutical companies to appropriate regulation and oversight. We would have expected our health officials to have asked Pfizer: 'Well, we're considering mandates or some government agencies are mandating this vaccine. Does it prevent transmission?' Hopefully they would have asked them that question, and hopefully Pfizer would have been honest in saying that. Why didn't we have that information? Why didn't we get it? Too many people have had their lives destroyed and upturned by government decisions based on wilful ignorance. It is absolutely negligent that our governments, our agencies and large corporations as well have failed to get adequate information about the effects of their own decisions, which have destroyed people's lives in this country.

We still have mandates. Most mandates have gone because it's so clear right now—it is absolutely clear—that they had no impact on transmission. We had the omicron outbreak. We were one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, and omicron spread like breeding rabbits through this country. There was nothing stopping it. Certainly the vaccine did not do that.

Most mandates have gone, thankfully, despite their terrible impact over the past year. But they still do exist. We still have large companies imposing them. In a space I'm very familiar with, BHP, one of the largest Australian companies, still has a mandate to work at BHP. I know so many who people lost their jobs because of that completely unnecessary restriction. I'm informed Telstra has one in retail—only in retail shops. The office workers are fine apparently. If you're a minimum-wage-earning retail manager in a Telstra shop in Australia you have to be vaccinated. Firefighters in New South Wales have to have the vaccine. I met some of them the other day—terrible stories, painful stories, hearing about people who have dedicated their lives to protect and serve their nation and to protect our livelihoods through some of the most difficult times in our country, during bushfires, and we don't protect them. We haven't protected them.

This amendment is our opportunity to rectify that shameful decision that we have made over the past year, or failed to make, in favour of them. This amendment very simply adds to the list of things you cannot be dismissed for or not employed for in the Fair Work Act. You cannot be dismissed for not receiving just the COVID-19 vaccine—not other vaccines, just the COVID-19 vaccine—for the reasons I outlined. Rightly, you cannot be dismissed in this country from your job because of your sex, because of your gender, because of your religion, and you shouldn't be sacked on this basis either. It should be a basic human right in this nation. Voting in favour of this amendment would allow us to rectify a gross injustice that has fallen on so many Australians over the past couple of years.

This bill we are debating, the overall bill, is all about improving and protecting the health and safety of workers in our workplaces—an admirable objective. It's a bill that coalition senators support. We should also ensure that we do not have unnecessary regulations and restrictions on people that do not contribute to or help the health and safety of the workplace.

Someone's individual decisions around their diet, around their exercise regime, are completely matters for themselves. They should have nothing to do with your employer. Your boss shouldn't tell you how many cheeseburgers you can eat or how many gym sessions you have to do every week. That has nothing to do with them. And a decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine or not falls into those categories. It is something for you to decide for your individual health. It has no impact on someone else—it has no impact on your boss, it has no impact on your work colleagues—so why do we continue to allow a situation where large companies in this country can deny people employment because of their own inability to admit they were wrong? That's the stage we're at right now.

We're at the stage of this where people are too proud to admit that they were wrong. They were clearly wrong. I'm confident that these mandates eventually will go. They'll die of neglect at some point. It's just a matter of how many more people are hurt in the interim. Well, let's swallow our pride now. Let's eat some humble pie. We've all make mistakes in the last few years; these are some of the grossest ones. Let's rectify that and ensure we have proper standards in this country to protect people's rights at work.

1:14 pm

Photo of Alex AnticAlex Antic (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I will start by picking up on some of the comments of Senator Canavan and congratulate him on moving this amendment. I speak in support of this amendment. I thank Senators Rennick, Babet and Roberts for their support for this.

What this represents is a moral lifeboat for this chamber. As Senator Canavan has outlined in his oratory, we are seeing the business end of what we saw over the last two years in this country. I come from a lineage of people from the former Yugoslavia. My grandmother, I believe, would have turned in her grave if she had seen what had become of the country that she came to after leaving communist Yugoslavia in the late 1940s. People from the Eastern Bloc would stop me all the time a year ago or 18 months ago and say: 'We fled our country because of this sort of tyranny. We fled our country because of what was happening.' People may laugh at that. They shouldn't, but they may, and those opposite have spent the better part of the last two years simply dismissing these claims as tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theories. None of us have found our tinfoil hats today. Senator Roberts has lost his. Senator Babet has left his in his office.

But what you are seeing is people in this chamber who are very serious, who have picked this up early and who've understood the outrage of what has happened. The fact that there was never any justification, as Senator Canavan quite rightly says, for what we saw over the last two years is 100 per cent true. We knew it at the time. Many of us knew it at the time. There is now an opportunity which has afforded itself for people in this chamber to swallow their pride and understand that what they have been party to has been wrong. There was a time in this country when the left of politics, Labor and the Greens, stood for working people.

Some of the stories that I've been hearing over the last two years have been nothing short of heartbreaking. I will take the opportunity to let people stand in the shoes of those who have lost their houses, their businesses and in some cases their life savings simply for the heinous crime of refusing—see if you can make this out—to take an experimental therapy which had never been tested.

We can hang on the issue that it was provisionally approved by the TGA. Think about what that means. This really wasn't tested at all. That is a fact. We are now seeing incredible instances—coincidences of the highest order—of excess deaths and problems with pregnancies. People have been proven right. I'm sorry to tell you all—you've all been had. The mainstream media have done a number on you like you've never seen before. You've fallen for it. But here's the beautiful thing about this place—we're all ready to forgive; we're all ready to forget. It's time that we moved on and allowed people to get back to work in this country. Senator Canavan outlined earlier, very correctly, that we are living in a world where you can quite rightly not be discriminated against because of your race, gender or a range of other issues. Yet somehow, the decisions you make about your own medical care do not have that kind of protection. It is quite extraordinary that we are still going down this path, particularly when there was never a case for mandates, as we have seen. The Premier of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet, made this observation last week:

… here is no evidence that vaccines in the current environment have any impact at all on transmission of Covid.

You are not protecting grandma if you are taking this experimental therapy. You are not protecting your workmates. There was never a case for it. But the good news is this: we've got an opportunity for everyone to right the ship. Take the moral lifeboat and support this amendment.

1:18 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

I'll be very brief. At this stage of the pandemic COVID-19 vaccination mandates are not needed, nor are they required, in the overwhelming majority of Australian workplaces and that is a good thing. The Australian people do not want to return to the restrictions we had at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important, however, that medical advice determines whether a vaccination is needed in a particular workplace, whether it is for COVID-19 or any other disease. COVID-19 vaccinations remain an important tool in certain aspects of health care, including in aged and disability care, where there is direct contact between workers and patients who are highly vulnerable to COVID-19. It is important that these sectors are able to be relied on to make decisions about whether a mandate may be necessary, based on medical advice. As such, whilst we note the overwhelming majority of workplaces do not require a COVID-19 vaccination, and that is a good thing, it is important in sectors like health care that they are able to make decisions on whether there should be mandatory vaccinations for their workers, but based on medical advice.

1:19 pm

Photo of Susan McDonaldSusan McDonald (Queensland, National Party, Shadow Minister for Resources) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak to the Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2022. I want to start by—


Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

We will hit a hard marker at 1.30.

Photo of Susan McDonaldSusan McDonald (Queensland, National Party, Shadow Minister for Resources) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you.

Photo of Jess WalshJess Walsh (Victoria, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator McDonald. I note that you've resumed your seat. The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Babet on sheet 1848 be agreed to.