The distressing calls I have received from constituents who are about to lose their jobs because, for one reason or another, they choose not to accept the current vaccines available are some of the worst calls I have taken in my life as a parliamentarian. I feel powerless in the face of government or employer directives.
Some can afford to take a stand and leave their employment, others may be redeployed, or find work elsewhere. Most need the jobs that they love just to survive.
Many are the only breadwinners in the household.
Even the Americans have health and religious abstentions, but here it is discouraged or flatly refused by doctors. This is wrong. This is not in keeping with the freedom I claim to stand for as an elected representative.
It is also heartbreaking to hear the anguish in the voices of those that have been given no choice.
Where are we headed? A choice not to be vaccinated means you are out of the airline industry, out of health and aged care, out of childcare. Where does this discrimination end?
Will unvaccinated people be refused entry to sporting venues, hospitals, aged care centres?
What will be next?
Where are the civil libertarians that have stood in solidarity with me in the past?
At the very least, you would expect people to be given the opportunity to have the Novavax vaccine that is coming in a few months’ time. Novavax will probably be more acceptable to people like myself.
One of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world, Israel - they are now looking to booster shots as their number of cases rise in the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
We need to know what the experience of Israel, and the United Kingdom for that matter, is - given they are well ahead of us in this. What can we glean from their experiences?
Australians have always been independent thinkers, questioning authority from our birth. But today, where are the people in Australia questioning our current approach to tackling the pandemic?
Why is there only one view coming from the government and health officials? Why are we not looking to treatments that are proving effective in countries around the world as we would normally do?
My heart aches for my people in distress through lockdowns, job losses and business destruction.
It seems to me the upheaval causing anxiety, hopelessness, fear and incalculable economic repercussions may well be worse than the virus itself, with possible long term and deep consequences.
That’s just as I see it.