Annastacia Palaszczuk and her deputy have accused Scott Morrison of trying to claw together ‘a coalition of anti-vaxxers’ for his own political survival.
The prime minister panned state government-imposed vaccine mandates on Thursday, saying they should only be applied in settings where health workers deal with vulnerable people.
Mr Morrison took aim at Ms Palaszczuk and her Queensland Government’s plan to ban unvaccinated people from venues when 80 per cent of eligible residents are vaccinated.
‘They should be able to go to a get a cup of coffee in Brisbane, regardless of whether you’ve had a vaccine or not,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison took aim at Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Queensland government over her vaccine mandate during a tour of the Tooheys brewery in Sydney
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles lashed out at the prime minister’s comments, accusing him of throwing his weight behind ‘dangerous fringe elements’ such as the anti-government protesters in Melbourne.
Mr Miles accused Mr Morrison of undermining the state’s pandemic response for his own ‘cynical political interests’.
‘He is so desperate to claw together a coalition of anti-vaxxers for his own political benefit that he is undermining confidence in our vaccine,’ he told parliament.
The venue mandate boosted vaccination coverage, Mr Miles said, and was a deserved reward for Queenslanders who did the right thing and got the jab.
‘They do not deserve to be undermined by a prime minister more interested in currying favour with coffee baron donors and lunatic backbenchers than the health and the jobs of Queenslanders,’ he said.
Unvaccinated people are understood to not be restricted from essential retailers, gyms and swimming pools under the coming mandate.
The prime minister took aim at the Queensland government’s plan to ban unvaccinated people from venues when 80 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated
In a dig at Ms Palaszczuk, Mr Morrison said unvaccinated people should be able to do something as simple as ‘get a cup of coffee’ and not be locked out of simple conveniences.
‘Now it’s time for governments to step back and for Australians to take their life back,’ he said during a visit to the Tooheys brewery in Sydney on Thursday.
‘We aren’t in favour of mandatory vaccines imposed by the Government. Businesses can make their own choices on the law but we aren’t about telling them or Australians what to do.
‘Vaccines are only mandatory in cases where you have health workers working with vulnerable people.
‘That’s what our medical advice has always been and, as we get above 80 per cent in particular… they should be able to go to a get a cup of coffee in Brisbane regardless of whether you’ve had a vaccine or not.’
Mr Miles accused the PM of undermining the state’s pandemic response for his own ‘cynical political interests’ while Ms Palaszczuk said she was ‘extremely disappointed’
Mr Morrison is under pressure from members of the Coalition who are opposed to vaccine mandates, with Queensland leaders accusing him of also placating to anti-vax Australians.
Ms Palaszczuk also responded on Thursday afternoon, saying she was ‘extremely disappointed’ of the PM and accused him of ‘undermining’ the work of officials.
‘It is extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister of our country is seeking now to undermine Queensland’s strong vaccination program,’ she said.
‘It is extremely disappointing not standing up for Queensland, and what Queenslanders want and what Queenslanders are doing.
‘Once again wanting to undermine the good work that Queensland has done.’
Capacity restrictions could still be in place in those businesses and check-ins will still be required for contact tracing.
However, uncertainty remains about whether the vaccine mandate applies at mass events at indoor locations that aren’t classified as venues.
Ms Palaszczuk also responded on Thursday afternoon, saying she was ‘extremely disappointed’ of the PM and accused him of ‘undermining’ the work of officials
While NSW will drop vaccine passports on December 15, Queensland will introduce them to enter hospitality venues on December 17
The upcoming 2021 Queensland state swimming championships at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre from December 11-17 is of particular concern.
Queensland Health said the details of how the vaccine mandate will apply in different settings are still being worked out.
Meanwhile, international travellers will be able to avoid mandatory quarantine in Queensland by spending 14 days in another state in Australia before entering the Sunshine State.
Queensland will drop quarantine for vaccinated interstate travellers arriving from domestic hotspots who test negative once 80 per cent of eligible Queenslanders are fully vaccinated, or December 17 at the latest.
International travellers will have to quarantine until the state hits 90 per cent vaccination coverage, but the rules allow them to avoid quarantine in the Sunshine State.
A Queensland Government spokesperson confirmed under the guidelines, international travellers can fly into Sydney or Melbourne, where quarantine has already been scrapped, and stay there for a fortnight before jetting north.
International travellers who take that option will still need to be fully vaccinated and test negative before arriving in Queensland.
The latest figures show 83.21 per cent of Queenslanders have had one dose of a vaccine and 71.60 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Queensland recorded no new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday after 9,877 tests.