Carla La Tella

News

Mon, 22 Nov, 2021

Pauline Hanson calls PM "weak" while moving to ban vaccine mandates

 Pauline Hanson calls PM "weak" while moving to ban vaccine mandates

Image: Getty 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing a revolt on the floor of Parliament, with five senators breaking ranks to vote with One Nation in support of Pauline Hanson’s recently proposed anti-vaccination mandate bill.

Senator Hanson – who remains unvaccinated – warned Morrison that she would cause “havoc” over his legislative agenda this week, including in relation to new religious freedom laws and reforms to demand voters provide ID when they vote.

“The Prime Minister is weak, he says there should be no vaccine mandates – then do something about it,” she said.

Shortly after 11 am Monday, NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon, Queensland’s Matt Canavan and Gerard Rennick and South Australia’s Alex Antic all voted with One Nation.

The bill was ultimately defeated five votes to 44 in the Senate. The result only included the votes of Coalition MPs who voted with One Nation, because Senator Hanson and her colleague Malcom Roberts were voting remotely.

The vote followed warnings from Senator Hanson that the vaccines were “experimental” and governments had “no right to take away the right to choose.”

“This legislation is urgently needed to arrest and reverse the pandemic of discrimination that has been unleashed on the Australian people,” she said.

“People have a right to choose whether they want to have this vaccination or not. What is the country coming to? If you allow the premiers to have these powers, what will be next? This could lead to anything.”

Speaking in Canberra shortly after the vote, the Prime Minister said MPs had a right to vote with their conscience on the matter.

“The liberal Party and the National Party, we do not run it as an autocracy,” he said.

“We don’t take people out of our party if we happen to disagree on an issue they feel strongly. The Government opposed the bill and the bill has not been success. We do not agree with the measures that were in the bill, which would indeed threaten funding for our hospitals and schools for states. I respect the fact that individual members will express a view and vote accordingly.”

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