A jab mandate has been flagged for Queensland parliament that could lock all unvaccinated politicians, staffers and guests out of the corridors of power.
The proposed policy comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was accused of double standards over the state’s wide-ranging vaccine requirement for hospitality venues, stadiums and galleries.
From December 17, or when Queensland reaches 80 per cent double vaccine coverage, visitors to nearly all venues will need proof they’ve received their jabs.
The move was widely celebrated by health experts and led to a spike in the state’s languishing vaccine rates.
But Katter’s Australian Party’s Robbie Katter said the policy created a “two-part society” given it didn’t apply to MPs and their staff.
He told reporters on Wednesday the policy had infuriated his constituents in regional Queensland, where businesses were concerned they’d be forced to turn customers away.
“A lot of them are going to be turned into quasi security officers now because there’s no way they’re going to have police or anyone else be able to support this, particularly in those rural and remote areas,” the Member for Traeger said.
“They have nowhere near the capacity to try and assist people with what will come. There will be tension.”
After the Premier’s mandate was declared, the state’s vaccine rate swiftly rose to nearly 72 per cent fully jabbed.
The 80 per cent goal and border opening is now expected to occur up to a week earlier than the December 17 target.
Authorities are weighing up imposing the mandate on MP and staffers, clerk of the parliament Neil Laurie told NCA NewsWire.
“The Speaker and I are considering both the implementation of vaccination mandates for staff and access mandates to the precinct,” he said.
“It has been our preference to date to encourage and incentivise vaccination but we recognise that this may not be sufficient to ensure vaccinations and discharge our duties of care.”
From December 17, only those who are fully vaccinated will be able to visit the following sites in Queensland:
- Hospitality venues such as pubs, clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants
- Queensland government stadiums
- Entertainment venues featuring live music and karaoke bars
- Indoor and outdoor music festivals
- Government-owned galleries, museums and libraries
- Aged care, hospitals, prisons and disability services except in end of life, childbirth or emergency situations