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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently said that Australians are “all responsible for our own health” when asked a question about adverse vaccine reactions during a press conference. After noting that some Australians have died from adverse reactions, a reporter asked Morrison if he believed those people had been properly informed of potential side effects. Morrison responded by defending Australia’s max vaccination program, saying that Australians took the vaccine under their own free will. Morrison’s comments are at odds with actions Australian regional governments have taken, however, as well as his own past statements.

“We’re all responsible for our own health. When it comes to informed consent and giving consent to whatever treatment procedure you may have or I may have, then I’m ultimately responsible for what people do in their health treatment to me, Morrison said. The prime minister then noted that the government funded opportunities for Australians to consult with a physician regarding vaccination. “The informed consent process provides the decision to the individual. That’s the sort of country we live in, people make their own decisions about their own health and their own bodies.”

In August of 2020, Morrison backed compulsory vaccination. “I would expect it to be as mandatory as you could possibly make it,” Morrison told Melbourne radio station 3AW in an interview. “There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he continued. “We are talking about a pandemic that has destroyed the global economy and taken the lives of hundreds of thousands all around the world, and over 430 Australians here.”

The prime minister later walked back his comments a year later and said that a mandatory workplace vaccination requirement — similar to Joe Biden’s ill-fated OSHA mandate — was not something his government would be pursuing. The Australian government did mandate vaccines for certain sectors, however, including healthcare.

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State and local government did attach employment to vaccination status, however. In Victoria, which is Australia’s second-most populous state, Premier Dan Andrews told workers that they “won’t work” if they refuse to get vaccinated. “Every single authorized worker, whether they be in Melbourne or in regional Victoria, will need to have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That is, if they want to continue working,” Andrews said this past October. A reporter then asked the premier what would happen to workers who opt not to get vaccinated, to which Andrews replied, “Well then they won’t be going to work. It’s very, very simple.”

“I’m not taking lectures on freedom from people who will hold all of us back,” Andrews continued. “We wanna be free, we’re gonna be free. We’re gonna be open, and the key to that is getting these vaccination numbers up and up and up.”

The premier also said that he “was not looking to exempt anyone” during the same press conference. “We’re gonna have a vaccinated economy and we’re gonna lock some people out, because that is far better than locking everybody down. That is the decision we’ve made.”

The Victoria government conducted brutal crackdowns after massive protests sprouted last summer in response to measures introduced by Andrews and others. As of this writing, unvaccinated Victoria residents are not allowed to enter several businesses, including gyms, restaurants, bars and barber shops. The Victoria government lists a lengthy list of restrictions on unvaccinated citizens, which can be viewed in full here.

Most Australian states boast vaccination rates of over 90%, including Victoria, where the government reports a vaccination rate of 93%.

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Source: National File

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