Australian citizens who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will be denied any form of welfare under a new law designed to protect the community and encourage vaccination.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, made the announcement in the final days of parliament for 2021, and said that the law will come into effect in the new year.
“Any Australian who chooses not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 will be ineligible for any form of government welfare,” Hunt declared.
“This new law applies to any Australian who chooses not to get vaccinated, without a legitimate reason such as a medical exemption. Australians who cannot provide official proof of vaccination when applying for welfare assistance will be denied that assistance until they agree to be vaccinated.”
The law was announced amid growing resistance to vaccination, vaccine mandates and pandemic-related laws throughout the country, including protests in Victoria which called for Premier Daniel Andrews to be hung. Many Australians have made the conscious decision not to get vaccinated, citing myriad reasons.
The law will take effect from January 1, 2022, and is bound to cause controversy among people who have lost their job because of their refusal to be vaccinated, and are thus forced to seek welfare such as Newstart.
“Unvaccinated Australians, who do not have a legitimate and proven exemption, have made the personal choice not to get jabbed. This not only puts their own health at risk, but endangers other members of the community at a time when the country is trying to get control over the pandemic and return to some degree of normality as soon as possible,” Hunt continued.
“Unvaccinated people delay the personal and economic recovery of the country and place an enormous burden on the public health system, and for that reason they will be denied any form of taxpayer-funded welfare.”
In addition to the withdrawal of payments, unvaccinated people will be denied entry to Centrelink offices and state-based service centres, such as Service NSW, unless they can show proof of vaccination.
Critics have attacked the government across all forms of media, arguing that it will leave many Australians without any form of income. They also argue that the law is unconstitutional, another form of coercive control, and is simply UnAustralian. Many argue that it is unlawful to place any conditions on the awarding of welfare payments. Hunt replied that welfare recipients already face conditions for payment:
“Newstart recipients must prove they have looked for work, and must accept any reasonable job offer. Furthermore, Indigenous Australians can have their welfare payments halted if their children do not attend school for enough days in the year, and many of them have been placed on the Indue card (or Cashless Debit Card), so there are already restrictions for people on welfare in Australia.”
The minister then explained that the government is already paying for the wellbeing of unvaccinated people because many of them have been treated in the public health system as a direct result of not taking the vaccine.
“Let’s not forget, Australians are not being refused vital medical treatment if they have chosen not to get vaccinated and they contract COVID-19. They are receiving treatment, often life-saving treatment, from qualified and dedicated front line medical staff. This treatment is paid for by the taxpayer.”
Minister Hunt then clarified that Australians will be offered medical treatment for COVID-19 related illnesses, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. He also reminded those refusing to comply with pandemic laws that they are creating the conditions for further possible restrictions, which is the very thing they are protesting against.
The new law is one of minster Hunt’s final actions before he leaves politics in 2022.
Image: Daniel Schludi