Unvaccinated Australians denied welfare.

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

How to beat the Liberals and the Loonies.

The Liberal National Party could be removed from government at the next federal election if all Australians were required to be double vaccinated in order to enter a polling booth.

Currently this is not the case. At the recent local government elections, voters were allowed to enter polling booths without showing proof of vaccination. If voters were required to show proof of vaccination, or proof of legitimate exemption, this would prohibit many people from voting and cost the Liberal National Party (LNP) many votes.

Do loonies vote Liberal?

Not necessarily. But anti-vaxxers and anti-lockdown protestors are more likely to vote for the loonie parties upon which the LNP relies. The Coalition accepts preferences from many of the fringe parties and rely on these preferences in order to win elections at state and federal level.

Political analysts tell us that the Coalition won the unwinnable federal election in 2019 thanks largely to the preferences from Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party (UAP) in Queensland. Palmer is one of the loonies challenging pandemic laws and has recruited Craig Kelly from the Coalition. Kelly is a famous opponent of vaccines, vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related rules, and is the most high profile candidate in the UAP. Ironically, if Kelly attracts many votes, he could help his former party to win the election.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party has also sided with those opposing pandemic laws and some of her candidates direct their preferences to the LNP. Consequently, Scott Morrison has failed to publicly and unequivocally condemn anti-lockdown and anti-vaxxer protests because his operatives know that his party needs their vote.

At the recent local government elections, one voter was overheard commenting,

“You can’t get into a cafe without proof of vaccination, but you can get into a polling booth.”

Why is this?

If an unvaccinated person can spread COVID-19 in a cafe, surely they can spread COVID-19 in a polling booth. This presents a significant medical risk in a country in which voting is compulsory. Some voters could be immunocompromised and thus face the risk of contracting COVID-19, or being issued with a fine if they don’t vote.

They can vote online.

Yes, the loonies could vote online. Australians can register for ivote and the anti-vaxxers could still vote for the fringe parties via online voting. This, however, requires voters to take the initiative and complete this process well in advance of the upcoming election. If the loonies don’t vote at all, without a legitimate exemption, they would be issued with a fine in accordance with Australian law. Perhaps the threat of a significant fine would convince some people to get jabbed.

Is it lawful?

I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer or an expert in constitutional law. However, news from around the world suggest that other countries have prohibited unvaccinated people from entering certain places or enjoying certain rights that are available to vaccinated people. Thus, it should be possible to act according to the same principles in Australia. If loonies can vote online, they are not technically being denied the right to vote in a democratic country.

A dangerous precedent?

Have the local government elections established a dangerous precedent? When people find out that unvaccinated people were allowed into polling booths, will they demand access to other indoor spaces which currently require proof of vaccination? Many business owners publicly stated their intention to reject the ruling and to allow everyone to enter their premises whether vaccinated or not. If these owners cited the polling booth example, surely they would have a case…

Therefore, if people make a conscious choice not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, should they be prevented from entering a polling booth? And, if so, would this harm the LNP which relies heavily on the preferences of the fringe parties which are likely to attract the anti-vaxxer vote?

Will it happen?

Probably not. The people who would make this law are the very people who rely on the loonie vote for their political survival.

We could change the law, or we could allow double vaccinated people to vote twice.

Image: Darren England