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‘Potential for discrimination’: Human rights body urges caution on vaccine passports

The issue of vaccine passports remains contentious within the Coalition, with several MPs from its conservative ranks voicing their opposition against any mandatory system. Several more MPs are prepared to support the system for both international and domestic travel but want it ruled out for supermarkets and other essential activities.

Victorian Liberal MP Russell Broadbent, who has not ruled out voting against the measure in Parliament, put a call to constituents to hear their views and had been receiving about 1000 responses a day.

“There are strong arguments on both sides, and others are concerned about preserving the freedoms that are enjoyed,” he said.

In a sign of the sensitivities within the party, Mr Morrison attempted to bat away a question from a journalist on Sunday who asked whether there should be a nationally consistent approach.

“What the government simply does is provide a digital certificate of vaccination,” he said. “There are discussions that are being had to try to seek to have some uniformity about how exemptions might apply to vaccinated persons at the state and territory level because that is the only place those exemptions can be provided.”

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The Opposition’s industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said on Sunday any move to mandate workers be vaccinated must be made by an official public health order and not by individual businesses.

“We don’t want a situation where these rules are different from one workplace to the other, not based on a health reason but based on where an employer goes,” he told the ABC’s Insiders program.

Australians can download a vaccine certificate from their MyGov accounts – a secure online portal that stores Australians’ personal information – onto a digital wallet on their phone.

The government’s expenditure review committee of cabinet last month backed a proposal for QR code vaccination certificates, which would eventually lead to quarantine-free international travel. It would involve linking people’s vaccination status on their MyGov accounts with new digital vaccination certificates and border declarations.

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