Independent federal MP Craig Kelly will introduce a bill to ban so-called vaccine passports in Australia because he believes they will intrude on people’s freedom.
The MP for Hughes in south Sydney, who resigned from the Liberal Party in February after promoting unproven treatments for Covid-19, wants to stop pubs, restaurants and footy stadiums from requiring proof of vaccination from customers.
His bill will be inspired by similar laws passed recently in several US states including Texas and Florida.
Independent federal MP Craig Kelly (pictured) will introduce a bill to ban vaccine passports in Australia because he believes they intrude on people’s freedom
Mr Kelly wants to stop pubs, restaurants and footy stadiums from requiring proof of vaccination from customers. Pictured: Sydney Swans v Essendon last week
Explaining why he wants to stop vaccine passports from being introduced, Mr Kelly told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I just think it’s a gross intrusion of people’s freedoms in a free, democratic country.
‘You shouldn’t have a set of papers to jump on public transport, or go to the pub or a restaurant, or turn up at the footy or a concert.
‘I would think that’s completely contrary to the freedoms that we enjoy in our country.’
He added: ‘We don’t have vaccine passports for much more serious diseases so why would you bring a domestic vaccine passport in for Covid?’
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she is open to allowing private companies such as pubs and restaurants to require proof of vaccination from customers, in a bid to encourage residents to get the jab.
Mr Kelly said using vaccine passports to improve jab take-up amounted to ‘using coercion and force’ to hasten the vaccine rollout.
‘I don’t think that’s a very good way. If the vaccine rollout is the best thing since sliced bread it shouldn’t need coercion and force and if you need coercion and force, I think there’s a fundamental problem,’ he said.
Mr Kelly said using vaccine passports to improve jab take-up amounted to ‘using coercion and force’ to hasten the vaccine rollout. Pictured: A nurse gets her jab in Townsville, Qld
Mr Kelly admitted that a federal bill may not have the power to override state governments – but he said it would likely be able to prevent vaccine passports from blocking inter-state trade and commerce.
The MP said his ban would only apply to domestic vaccine passports and would not relate to overseas travel.
‘As Australians when we travel overseas we have to comply with the law of the overseas country and when foreigners come into Australia we’re right to think about the risks of them bringing the disease in. So they’re completely different arguments,’ he said.
Mr Kelly is hopeful some members of the Liberal Party, the National Party and independents may support his bill which he wants to introduce the next time parliament sits in May.
‘I hope that each member of parliament puts their voice forward on whether they would support this,’ he said.
Last week Texas Governor Greg Abbott used his executive power to ban state government and some private entities from requiring Covid-19 vaccine passports to access services.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis issued a similar executive order on Friday, banning businesses from requiring customers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to get service and barring any government agency in Florida from issuing such documentation to provide proof of vaccinations.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured) banned businesses from requiring customers to prove they have been vaccinated
The White House has ruled out a national ‘vaccine passport,’ saying it is leaving it to the private sector to develop a system for people to show they’ve been vaccinated.
The Biden administration is developing guidelines for such passports, with rules on privacy, accuracy and equity.
Mr Kelly has insisted he is not an anti-vaxxer but has cast doubt on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines and previously said ‘I’m waiting for all the evidence to come in’ before taking one.
In February he was interviewed on a podcast with former celebrity Pete Evans, who has been banned from Facebook for spreading anti-vax theories.
Mr Kelly has repeatedly endorsed the use of drugs hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to treat Covid-19, even though reputable global studies have found them to be ineffective and potentially harmful.
He has also claimed that making children wear masks was akin to child abuse.
Mr Kelly (left with Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek) has insisted he is not an anti-vaxer but has cast doubt on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines