Australia Scott Morrison says federal government won't mandate no-jab no-job for all workplaces
Mandate the vaccine, not masks
Vaccines are the solution to Covid-19. Let’s make the most of them.With the rise of the delta variant and a rapid increase in Covid-19 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling on vaccinated people to wear masks indoors again in places where the virus is quickly spreading. At least some school districts will likely require masks this fall. Local governments, from Massachusetts to California, are reviving mask mandates.
A no-jab no-job policy will not be pursued by the federal government, which has said it is up to individual companies to make their own decisions about mandating vaccinations for staff.
The federal government's top lawyer, solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue QC, on Friday briefed the nation's leaders on the legality of workplaces mandating vaccines for their staff and customers.
It comes afterit would make vaccines mandatory for onsite staff and visitors.
Vaccines will also become mandatory for aged care staff from September, while quarantine workers in some states are already required to be fully inoculated.
Just so you know, there are already plenty of decrees directing your daily life
Mandates are already intrinsic to many aspects of our everyday lives, so much so that we barely think about them. So why does the idea of a medical mandate ruffle so many feathers?You might drive a car with your mandated insurance, using your mandated driver’s license, and drop your kid off at public day care, where it’s mandated they’re vaccinated under a “no jab, no play” policy, or at school, which follows a mandated curriculum.
Speaking after National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would not be introducing new orders.
"Except in the areas I've already nominated, in the areas of quarantine and aged care, both the Commonwealth and the states are not making any moves in that area," he said.
"Otherwise, the rule of law applies as it normally does."
The decision effectively leaves individual employers to navigate the complex legalities surrounding the issue on their own.
Currently, the Fair Work Ombudsman says most employers should assume they cannot force their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, there are a small number of circumstances where employers can mandate vaccines, such as if there's a public health order requiring the vaccination of staff, such as in high-risk workplaces like aged care homes.
Lockdowns to continue until high jab rates
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a two-dose vaccination target of 70 per cent for all eligible adults to reduce the likelihood of lockdowns.Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday announced thresholds to drop restrictions and reopen the nation after a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders.
Mr Morrison said any workplace decisions about vaccines would need to be lawful and reasonable.
"An employer may want to make a reasonable directive to staff and if they do so, they will have to stay consistent with the law and that particularly would deal with a situation where an employee may be in good direct contact potentially or becoming infected and acquire the virus," he said.
"It may include people like airline workers or others in those situations where they are coming in close contact with those carrying the virus.
"These are all legal decisions that have to pass a reasonable test and ultimately decided by the courts and employers need to consider those matters very carefully if they are looking to make directions of that nature."
Company-mandated vaccines are becoming increasingly common in the United States, with Microsoft, Google, DC and Delta airlines among those requiring staff to have the jab.
AstraZeneca vital in COVID fight, says PM
Scott Morrison says AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine has been talked down but is making a "comeback" and is vital to Australia reaching its vaccination target.Scott Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB on Saturday that AstraZeneca has been "talked down for a long time" but the jabs were especially vital in Greater Sydney, which has entered its sixth week of lockdown restrictions.
The Biden administration also announced on Friday thatthat they had been vaccinated, or else abide by regular testing and strict mask-wearing and social distancing policies.
Widespread rapid antigen testing won't be used until vaccination rates rise
Scott Morrison also said there would not be widespread use of rapid antigen testing in Australia until vaccination rates rise.
Federal and state governments have come under increased pressure to introduce the tests nationally, schools, hospital wards, hotel quarantine and airports.
The rapid antigen tests are on-the-spot screening tests that detect proteins in the virus and deliver results within minutes.
They are much cheaper and faster than PCR tests and are currently used widely across Europe and the US, where they are sold in pharmacies and supermarkets.
However, they are also considered less reliable than the PCR tests and can lead to false negative and positive results.
What could convince someone worried about the COVID-19 vaccine to get the jab?
With more anti-lockdown and vaccination protests set to engulf Sydney, the fight to combat vaccine hesitancy is well and truly on. So what actually helps?The lush, coastal region is now known as Australia's anti-vaxxer heartland, but even in the '90s, Vashti says, everyone was questioning the safety of vaccines. It was in this environment that she decided not to vaccinate her son because she believed the "diseases weren't around".
In Australia, the tests have been used at the Howard Springs quarantine facility and are currently being trialled at some aged-care facilities in New South Wales.
But Mr Morrison said more widespread use, like at home, would not work at this stage of the pandemic.
"If you're doing voluntary rapid antigen testing at home and things of that nature, then the state health authorities will not know and it's important we know, that we can do contact tracing to ensure we can follow that through," he said.
"Knowing who has it, knowing who they have been with, and being able to follow that up and isolating close contacts is a very important part of the public health response to the outbreak."
But he said they could be an important tool once vaccination rates rose in the later stages of the government's four-phase plan out of the pandemic.
"There will be further work done preparing for those phases and how rapid antigen testing can be better used in those phases but for now, it will continue to be used in a targeted way and we continue to work with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to see more of those tests becoming available so they can be used for those purposes," he said.
Scott Morrison is wedged on mandates — and it will damage recovery .
Why has Scott Morrison hardened his position on business requiring workers to be vaccinated? Because of the extremism and denialism present in his own backbench — and his home state branch.Last week Scott Morrison’s position on businesses requiring employees to be vaccinated was to play observer-in-chief, promising only that the government would stand by and watch. To be overgenerous, he could have been forgiven for that line given the issue had blown up more quickly than anyone thought. Most of us still haven’t been able to get a jab even if we want to. But cannery SPC’s announcement it would introduce a mandate for employee vaccines by October forced the issue.