The premiers of Queensland and New South Wales (NSW) have rejected Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s idea for what is being called a CCP virus vaccine passport that would exempt fully vaccinated people from restrictions or lockdowns and allow them to cross borders without quarantine.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has long been against internal border closures and blanket lockdowns, told The Australian that people should be free to travel domestically whether they’re vaccinated or not.
“There should be no internal borders. There should be free movement within Australia, vaccine or no vaccine,” Berejiklian said.
“The vaccine is our way of dealing with international borders. There is no basis for states closing borders to other states.”
Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she doesn’t know how a passport would work around Australia, The Courier Mail reported.
“To me, there’s been no discussion at National Cabinet on how it would work, why it would be necessary, so I just think we need to have more of a discussion about that,” she said.
“Perhaps it needs to go to the Prime Minister’s federal Cabinet first to have a discussion to see what they think of the idea.”
Although Morrison did not call it a vaccine passport, he said he’d be interested in talking to the states and territories, who impose such restrictions under their public health orders, about a way to allow more freedoms for fully vaccinated people.
“If you’re fully vaccinated, and the state government decides to close the border for whatever reason at a particular time … then you might be able not to be subject to those restrictions,” he told 3AW radio on Thursday.
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie thinks the idea is going “a little bit overboard right now.”
“You know, people need to get vaccinated, and they need to get vaccinated to travel,” she told Nine’s Today show. “Going to a passport? That’s another thing.”
The Tasmanian senator suggested using QR codes to manage border crossings. “Just put the question in, ‘are you vaccinated’, yes or no? That would be the easiest, most reliable way of doing it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Independent MP Craig Kelly, who resigned from the Liberal Party in February, has introduced a bill to the federal Parliament to implement laws stopping the creation of COVID-19 vaccine passports.
“These vaccine passports are nothing more than marketing gimmick of Big Pharma,” Kelly told a 1,000-strong rally in Sydney on May 15, which was held as part of a wider event called the Worldwide Rally for Freedom, Peace, and Human Rights.
The bill, which was modelled after one passed in the Florida Legislature in the United States in April, was seconded by LNP MP George Christensen, who launched a petition online to support it.
“I will be railing against any attempt to have any vaccination passports, digital passports—whatever the label—that segregates Australians into haves and have nots and denies them jobs denies them services or denies them access to certain areas,” the website states.
The European Union is considering a “Digital Green Pass,” which has been backed by countries like Greece and Cyprus, which rely heavily on tourism.
Meanwhile, in America, the Florida Law prohibits health authorities from issuing passports. It also bans businesses from asking customers to show any documentation proving they have been vaccinated or that they have recovered from COVID-19.
The states that have moved to ban passports—via legislative means or executive order—include Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Texas.
New York became the first U.S. state to launch a COVID-19 vaccine passport.
Daniel Teng contributed to this report.