Nov 9, 2021


Nov 9, 2021

The Queensland Government has today sown the seeds of an “us vs them” mentality that will divide citizens, leave businesses in the lurch and is reminiscent of some of the darkest periods of human history, Katter’s Australian Party MPs have said.

Speaking out follow Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk’s announcement that vaccinated Queenslanders would be “rewarded” by banning those who are unvaccinated from almost every facet of public life, KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said the move was “incredible” (and not in a good way).

He accused the State Government of inciting division and undermining the “good faith” of Queenslanders who have already been vaccinated and those who were still considering the personal health choice.

“In many of the communities the Government has singled out with regards to low vaccination rates, it has rarely been a case of people being ‘anti-vaxxers’ or the like,” he said.

“Sure, some people hold those views and that is their prerogative, however a lot of the slow take-up has had to do with awareness and access and this is particularly the case in First Australian communities whose experience with health care is worlds away from that enjoyed in Brisbane.

“I acknowledge there has been a real escalation in reaching those more remote communities, but it’s a little too late.

“Many people who I have spoken to aren’t averse to the vaccine so much as they are averse to being forced to have it by the Government.”

Mr Katter said given managing and limiting community transmission was vital now and into the future, the State was required to have controls in place.

But segregating groups of people and inciting division amongst the vaccinated and unvaccinated wasn’t the answer, he said.

“There are ways to reduce transmission risk that does not involve rejecting unvaccinated people from public life,” he said.

“For example, in a number of countries overseas unvaccinated residents are still able to be a part of their communities if they are able to present up-to-date negative COVID-19 test results upon entry to venues and events.

“If this was truly about managing risk, the Government would be willing to explore this option with the number of rapid COVID-19 tests now available.”

KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he was concerned chaos would arise when businesses are dropped into the deep-end and required to enforce the new rules with business owners and staff being forced to become the ‘COVID police’ for the Government’s new rules.

“I’m deeply troubled that much of the responsibility of enforcing these new rules will fall with the business owners and their poor staff – there is already so much angst out there in cafes, bars and restaurants when staff are forced to ask their customers to check in.

“Can you imagine the pressure that will be put on a junior staff member when asking an adult patron to provide their personal medical history before entering the venue. Or how they are meant to deal with an irate customer that is denied entry.

“The Premier has stated police will enforce the requirements, however most of the onerous management of this will fall on the business owners who are already struggling with keeping the doors open.

“I’m not convinced that police, who are already stretched dealing with youth crime, domestic violence and other issues of criminality, will have the ability to address what goes on in the State’s small businesses.

“It’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise.”

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said he had a great concern for businesses that were already struggling trying to get through COVID.

“From the beginning we have not supported mandatory vaccination and businesses are doing it tough,” Mr Knuth said.

“The tourism industry, cafes, pubs and clubs have already suffered enough and right now they are telling me they are feeling pressured to enforce and police patrons visiting their premises.”

All KAP MPs have had one, or both, doses of a COVID-19 vaccination and have been vocal about encouraging Queenslanders to speak to their doctors about getting the vaccine.