MARK LATHAM: Why do both Liberal and Labor insist we need vaccine passports?

Sometimes you read something and, out of shock, you need to go back and look at it a second time.

That’s how I felt when I saw the NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns in Daily Mail Australia thanking ‘frontline workers’.

Minns’ policy is not to thank them.

It’s to support Gladys Berejiklian in sacking tens of thousands of NSW nurses, paramedics, police, teachers, tradies, construction workers and retail and hospitality staff for being unvaccinated.

Historically, one of the most important principles of the trade union movement was that workers were in charge of their own bodies and health choices, not employers and politicians.

Vaccine passports have been scrapped in England for entry into crowded venue (pictured, women take a selfie as they eat and drink out in the Soho area of London after restrictions eased)

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns’ policy is to support Gladys Berejiklian in sacking tens of thousands of NSW nurses, paramedics, police, teachers, tradies, construction workers and retail and hospitality staff for being unvaccinated, writes One Nation leader Mark Latham (pictured)

Minns has thrown that out the window with his support for forced workplace vaccinations and vaccine passports.

Labor MPs and union officials have abandoned people who have paid their union fees for decades and simply want someone to represent their needs.

I speak to them every day, trying to keep them in work and out of Centrelink.

Invariably, they are people waiting for the safest vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax.

They are victims of Scott Morrison’s botched vaccine-rollout which over-ordered on AstraZeneca.

Or they are people who haven’t had a jab for 30 or 40 years and are suffering anxiety depression. Or they have a history of medical problems and adverse reactions in their family.

Some are conscientious objectors, but not many.

All of them are stunned at how the Labor Movement has abandoned them, throwing them on the welfare scrapheap for wanting to make their own health choices.

A nurse receives her first shot of a Pfizer vaccine in Sydney in February 2021 – with NSW Health workers who refuse to be vaccinated now facing the sack

Minns and Berejiklian are yet to explain how sacking people will make us a healthier and better society.

Six months from now, Minns and the unions will be complaining that foreign workers are being brought in to fill staff shortages in our hospitals, schools and building sites.

Given that Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world in Covid-vaccination rates, we would be silly not to learn from the European experience in particular.

They are finding that vaccination doesn’t kill off Covid in the community, as vaccinated people can carry and spread the virus.

Vaccination’s main benefit is in reducing the severity of the illness. It turns it into a bad flu, thereby lowering hospitalisation rates.

The vaccinated have nothing to fear from unvaccinated people, as they have gone out and got their best protection.

There is no reason for treating the unvaccinated as lepers, which is what Vaccine Passports do – denying them access to shops and other venues.

The NSW government will lift lockdowns once 80 per cent of eligible residents are fully-vaccinated (pictured, police talk to residents in the eastern suburbs of locked-down Sydney in August)

The Berejiklian/Minns policy sets up a scenario by which someone can turn up at a pub sneezing and spluttering, show their Vaccine Passport and gain entry, while an unvaxxed patron who has passed a Rapid Antigen Test is turned away.

Just when European countries are abandoning vaccine passports as divisive and impractical, Minns’ chief complaint is that they are not happening fast enough in NSW.

The worst thing about the Berejiklian/Minns policy is that it’s unnecessary.

Last month NSW agreed to the National Cabinet Plan of fully opening up at 80% herd-immunity vaccination.

With NSW now steaming to 85 or even 90% double-dose vaccination rates, why do we need more sackings, more division and more conflict in society?

Chris Minns has shown himself to be a wrecker of workers in NSW, not a leader. 

Mark Latham is the NSW One Nation party leader.

Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet, Gladys: How businesses are at breaking point, vaccine passports WON’T be ready for ‘freedom day’ and our tireless health workers are being insulted, writes Labor leader CHRIS MINNS 

No one expects perfection from Government during a pandemic, but the pat on the back should be saved for our health workers.

Victor Dominello is the NSW Minister responsible for the crucial small business grants program that is meant to keep thousands of businesses alive during the Covid pandemic.

The program has been so bungled that over $400 million worth of grants are still sitting with the Government while businesses whither on the vine. 

I’ve talked to small businesses still waiting weeks to receive even small grants designed to keep them alive while their cash-flow crashed.

Fourteen weeks into lockdown and the NSW Government is still taking nine days to process requests.

No one expects perfection from Government during a pandemic, but the pat on the back should be saved for our health workers, writes Chris Minns (pictured)

We’re seeing businesses at breaking point because they’ve done the right thing, listened to their own Government’s health orders and closed down during the pandemic.

The sad reality is, some won’t recover when it comes time to reopen again. The support has been very slow and at times not enough, particularly for those in south-west and western Sydney.

The next big item on the agenda for Dominello is the vaccine passport feature on the Service NSW App. 

Dominello admitted this week the app would not be ready for ‘freedom day’ when NSW reaches the 70 per cent vaccination target, but not to worry because this was ‘a good problem to have’, presumably because we should at least be happy to have the State open again.

A good problem to have is choosing which beach to go to on the weekend, or where you will watch the footy finals.

Tell this to the thousands of restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, hairdressers and nail salons who have no certainty about how vaccine mandates will work when they are allowed to reopen.

Victor Dominello is the NSW Minister responsible for the crucial small business grants program that is meant to keep thousands of businesses alive during the COVID pandemic

A check-in app that the Minister has had two years to prepare but won’t in fact be ready when it’s needed is actually a big problem.

Labor fully backs vaccine passports – that’s how we reopen safely. But after millions of people have done the right thing and got the jab, we can’t afford to have the system that will help businesses and patrons cope, not actually be ready. 

Then we had Minister Stuart Ayres, who after shutting down the NSW construction industry without consultation or warning himself two months ago, called out Melbourne for doing the same thing this week, insisting his approach ‘is a much better way to do things than what we’re seeing in Melbourne’.

He went on to laud the Sydney approach, at one point declaring that NSW was ‘a victim of our own success.’ 

That’s a pretty stark message to the thousands of tradies in the 12 locked up Local Government Areas who have missed out on work taken by businesses in non-locked down LGAs over the last few months – victims of their geography.

In parts of West and South West Sydney, small businesses have suffered losses in trade of up to 70 per cent. In these same areas, one in six jobs have been lost since the start of the lockdown, and job ads are down 60 per cent.

Mr Minns said that ministers calling NSW ‘a victim of our own success’ is insulting for health workers (pictured administering a vaccine)

It’s also insulting to the nurses and doctors who are doing everything they can to prepare for the surge of hospitalised Covid cases the NSW Government modelling indicates is coming in October. 

This has been a very tough 14 weeks and there are many who believe we are asking a hell of a lot from our Government, but in truth, it’s nothing compared to what our Government is asking of us.

It’s important that we save the thanks for the frontline workers who put their own health and the health of their families at risk to work in our hospitals, to keep our supermarkets open, to care for our aged and vulnerable.

And the businesses who have had to close and the 2million people subject to lockdowns and restrictions and curfews. 

Their sacrifices have got us through this pandemic and it’s our job to look after their interests once the lockdown is over.

Chris Minns is the NSW Opposition Leader 

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