Member for Hughes Craig Kelly has introduced a private Member’s bill in the House of Representatives, entitled the No Domestic COVID Vaccine Passports Bill 2021.
Adding to an already chaotic day in Australian politics — with Barnaby Joyce returning as leader of the Nationals and thus becoming Deputy PM — Kelly introduced the bill to the House of Representatives in a speech on Monday morning. The bill was seconded by George Christensen.
There’s certainly a lot going on for the shortest day of the year.
Today I introduced a Private Member's bill in the Australian Federal Parliament – 'No Domestic COVID Vaccine Passports Bill 2021 – to ban vaccine passports in Australia
I look forward to the Bill getting bipartisan support
Say NO to vaccine passports !! pic.twitter.com/Paq76pRbHb
— Craig Kelly MP (@CraigKellyMP) June 21, 2021
The No Domestic COVID Vaccine Passports Bill 2021 is described as “a Bill for an Act to protect the right of Australians to make their own health decisions in relation to COVID vaccination, and for related purposes.”
In the past Kelly claimed that hydroxychloroquine could cure COVID-19 and that masks don’t stop the coronavirus. He is also a climate change sceptic.
Some highlights from the speech included the assertion that “we are flying blind” and that vaccine passports are “a complete violation of human rights.”
If passed, the bill seeks to stop the government (both state and federal), and non-government entities from issuing vaccine passports and discriminating against people who aren’t vaccinated.
“The bill prohibits the Commonwealth, States and Territories and other non-government entities from issuing domestic vaccine passports or certification and also prohibits discrimination on the basis of whether a person has had a COVID vaccination in the provision of goods, services and facilities and also in employment, education, accommodation and sport,” the outline of the bill reads.
“The bill supports the inalienable rights and freedoms of all Australians, a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives and nurtures and encourages its citizens through incentives rather than punishing disincentives and the stifling structures of a large corporate state and bureaucratic red tape.”
However, it’s worth noting that there is no push for a vaccine passport system to be rolled out in Australia at the moment.
While it has been suggested, the federal government has repeatedly asserted that we’re still a while off, and no concrete plan as to how this system would work has been confirmed yet.
“I think that is the next step, but I do think that next step is some way away,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 3AW in May.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, that you would be able to travel, certainly around Australia, but maybe overseas, without the need for hotel quarantine.”
While there’s little chance of this bill being passed, an MP standing up in the House of Representatives and continuing to push this narrative undoubtedly gives a sense of legitimacy to vaccine misinformation.
Considering the issues that Australia is having our vaccine rollout, the absolute last thing we need is to be further spreading anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
For up-to-date, accurate information on the COVID-19 vaccines, and your eligibility to receive one, head to the Department of Health website here.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Craig Kelly for further comment.