On Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that all authorised workers throughout Victoria must be vaccinated or they will lose their job. Workers have been given two weeks to receive their first dose, and until November 26 to be fully vaccinated.The extensive list of occupations requiring compulsory vaccination has been issued under a Public Health Order.
Member for Mallee, Anne Webster, this week has released a petition calling for the reversal of the vaccine mandate.
“While vaccination remains the safest and most important means for Australians to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19, I cannot support the Premier’s overreach on Victorians. Using coercive tactics and the threat of economic insecurity is wrong.” Dr Webster said.
“Mr Andrews has crossed an important line. Where the Victorian government should be encouraging vaccinations, he has begun coercing the public with an economic exclusion notice.”
“The Premier needs to explain how this mandate is proportionate to the risk of COVID, especially given the pace of the voluntary roll-out in Victoria. One of the founding principles of our democracy is the freedom to choose. Although some laws limit our right to choose, this is done based on risk, necessity, and proportionality.
“The roll-out of the vaccine is progressing strongly on a voluntary basis. First dose vaccinations have now exceeded 80% of the population. Unfortunately, this mandate could push more people away from vaccination and fuel scepticism” Dr Webster said.
“My office has been inundated with phone calls and emails of desperate people who are shocked, panicked and in despair about the Premier’s unnecessary mandate. It’s evident already that this announcement will do little to tangibly fight the pandemic, but a lot to cause unrest amongst the Victorian community.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear that vaccinations should not be mandatory. The Australian Council of Trade Unions and Business Council of Australia are also in agreement and argue only a handful of sectors such as aged care, should be mandated to protect our most vulnerable.”
It is predicted that workers across many sectors will be dismissed from their employment or walk off the job post October 15 due to the mandate.
“Hundreds, if not thousands of people may vacate their jobs in protest, or because they have not chosen to be vaccinated. This number will include people in the critically important industries of healthcare and education. This risks depleting our already stretched workforce in regional Victoria” Dr Webster said.
“In response to this disproportionate mandate, I have issued a petition to call out Mr Andrew’s heavy handedness. Victorians need to have their liberties protected. I am confident that we will receive a large number of signatories that oppose this PHO.
The petition to reverse the vaccine mandate can be found at https://vic.nationals.org.au/no-vaccine-mandate/ and will be receiving signatories from across the country.