An anti-Covid vaccination mandate bill has been rejected in the Senate in Australia.
One Nation’s bill proposed banning discrimination on Covid-19 vaccination status in the fields of goods, services, facilities, employment, education, accommodation and sport.
The bill would have overridden state health orders requiring customers of businesses including retail and hospitality to be vaccinated, a centrepiece of reopening plans that have helped boost vaccination rates and keep vaccinated patrons safe in states with coronavirus outbreaks.
It also contradicted vaccine mandates linked to employment, including the nationwide requirement for aged care workers to be vaccinated, and more extensive mandates in states including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
This comes even after five senators, Gerard Rennick, Alex Antic, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Matt Canavan and Sam McMahon expressed support on the bill.
Senator Canavan said, “You should not need to undergo a medical procedure to earn a living.”
One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, and senator Malcolm Roberts signalled they supported their bill, but were not allowed to vote in the Senate as both attended parliament remotely from Queensland.
Hanson reportedly warned senators, “if you don’t support my legislation, then you don’t support Australian democracy and freedom and you don’t support the right to choose”.
Scott Morrison played down the significance of the government division, explaining that the Liberal and National parties are “not run as an autocracy”.
“We don’t take people out of our party if we happen to disagree on an issue they feel strongly,” he said. “The government opposed the bill … and the bill has not been successful.”
It has been revealed that only the five government senators voted in its favour, with Labor, the Greens, Lambie, Stirling Griff and the majority of government senators combining to defeat the bill.
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