KAP ANNOUNCES PLAN FOR AN END TO MANDATES
Katter’s Australian Party has today proposed a sensible policy that would end all Government-imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates whilst mitigating inevitable virus transmission risks across Queensland.
The proposal, designed to enable the small portion of Queenslanders who have decided for personal or medical reasons not to be vaccinated to be able to work and remain part of society, would involve the use of the COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests that are officially approved in Australia in place of “vaccine certificates”.
From December 17, proof of vaccination will be required by all Queenslanders who want to visit hospitals and aged care homes, hospitality venues like pubs, restaurants and cafes, indoor and outdoor entertainment activities and festivals.
The rules will also extend to Queensland Government-owned galleries, museums and libraries.
But the KAP, which believes the draconian plan is akin to segregation and would divide the State, said there was a fairer and more reasonable way to manage COVID-19 now and into the future.
“Today we are formally calling on the Palaszczuk Government to introduce an alternative option for unvaccinated Queenslanders that would make use of the COVID-19 self-tests approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said.
“Under the plan all Queenslanders, including healthcare workers and police who are currently subject to Government-imposed mandates, would have the option to prove they are either fully-vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the last 48 hours when clocking on for work or going out and about.
“Negative COVID-19 tests could be uploaded to the ‘Check-in Queensland’ app, similar to proof of vaccination documents, and used in their place for those who have personal, philosophical and medical reasons for not being vaccinated.
“This approach is widely used in other parts of the world, including in the UK as part of their NHS COVID Pass policy and across Europe.”
Mr Katter said the KAP, which holds a pro-choice position on the COVID-19 vaccines, said the State Government had the unenviable task of managing the COVID-19 outbreaks that would be inevitable once the State’s borders re-open.
But vaccine mandates were an “easy approach” that were fundamentally undemocratic, he said.
“Transmission risk needs to be mitigated, but we cannot sacrifice our civic liberties and freedoms in the process – this is a fairer way,” the Traeger MP said.
As at November 16, the TGA had approved 13 types of COVID-19 rapid self-tests that were aligned with technical specifications published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission.
They are available for purchase in supermarkets, pharmacies and online, and cost between $10-$15 per test. This cost would be footed by unvaccinated individuals under the KAP’s plan.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the State Government needed to provide a COVID-19 recovery plan that protected all Queenslanders without causing segregation and discrimination.
He said the KAP’s plan would reduce unnecessary pressure on the State’s police force which, from December 17, will be expected to respond to unprecedented calls for assistance when the unvaccinated are locked out from most sections of society.
“My office has been taking calls from constituents who are fully vaccinated and those who aren’t based on their personal medical circumstances, and the majority are stating the mandates for unvaccinated Queenslanders are far too harsh,” Mr Dametto said.
“My staff have parents crying in the office, beside themselves that their children may not be able to go to the cinemas, watch a footy game or work their part-time job.
“I’m urging the current Labor Government to listen to Queenslanders and provide another alternative such as the KAP’s COVID-19 self-testing solution.”
Member for Hill Shane Knuth the State Government’s regulations were ‘un-Australian’.
“A segregation policy like this should never be accepted in our modern, free society – it is completely un-Australian and we are fuming over this Government mandate,” he said.
“All the Government has done is anger people to the point that those who are fully-vaccinated are now united with those who are unvaccinated against these draconian measures.
“The tourism industry, cafes, pubs and clubs have already suffered enough and are now feeling pressured to enforce and police patrons visiting their premises.
“It’s a ridiculous policy which was made on the run, without any thought into the massive impact this would have on people’s everyday lives and small business throughout the State.”
Mr Katter said most Western countries had adopted an approach similar to one the KAP had proposed.
For example, the European Union have put in place EU COVID Certificates across 27 EU Member States, 3 European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Switzerland, and 12 other countries and territories. 
The EU Digital COVID Certificate acts as a proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or demonstrates that the individual has recently received a negative COVID-19 test or is protected against the disease after being infected.
As of October 2021, almost 600 million EU COVID Certificates have been issued through paper or digital formats.