Interview – The Quicky, Mamamia podcast
Gemma Bath: Dan let’s start there, how long is it going to take for us to get to phase B and C of the Government’s transition plan?
Dan Tehan: Well, ultimately, as the PM said, it’s now in the hands of all Australians or really in the arms of all Australians. What we’ve got to do is roll our sleeves up and get vaccinated. And my hope would be that we would be looking to transition well before Christmas.
Gemma Bath: Do you think a vaccine passport is the best way forward for Australia?
Dan Tehan: A vaccination certificate, I think, will be a key part of Australians’ ability to be able to travel. And, as you know, if you’re vaccinated, every Australian gets a certificate which is available on your myGov account and my expectation is when people do travel that they will be asked by countries that they’re going to to show proof of vaccination. So that’s why having a vaccination certificate or proof of vaccination will be a critical part of your ability to travel once we’re able to travel freely again.
Gemma Bath: How do you see it working here, domestically?
Dan Tehan: If, for instance, you wanted to go to a concert or the theatre or a sporting event and it required proof of vaccination, then you would be able to use your vaccination certificate to be able to get access to that event. So that would be the way it’s envisaged that it would work.
Obviously, it wouldn’t be expected that this would be a requirement in crossing borders, it’s more about being able to use it to identify having had the vaccine for events or other things which might require proof of vaccination.
Gemma Bath: What do you say to those that are concerned it will create a two-tier nation, that it’s an infringement on personal freedom?
Dan Tehan: Well, no-one is requiring anyone to get vaccinated, but what is absolutely evident, and all the medical expert advice points to this, that the best way that we can keep everyone safe in our community is for everyone to get vaccinated. And, as we progress, if there are events, especially mass events, where it is a lot safer for the community, for people to attend that, to have been vaccinated, then that’s something that obviously the government, business, event organisers is going to have to look at because, ultimately, in the end, it’s the best way to keep our community safe and that’s what the plan is.
Gemma Bath: Do you have a message for Australians that are apprehensive about this new step? Change is scary, even if you’re all for the idea, we’ve dealt with a lot of change over the past 16 to 18 months.
Dan Tehan: What I would say is that we do need a plan as we continue to deal with the virus, and we need a plan going forward and this plan has been well thought out. It takes into account all the information that’s been provided by medical experts here in Australia. They’ve mapped the virus. They’ve mapped the impact of the virus. They’ve mapped the vaccine rollout, and they’ve put together a plan which they think can work for our nation and we have to have a plan for the future.
So, although the last 16 to 18 months have been a time of considerable change, and I think had an impact that none of us could have ever imagined, what we do have to do is trust each other to get ourselves out of this and back to a normality. It will be a different normality, but there is a plan which is based on the best medical advice. It’s had the best minds look at it. It’s been done taking everything into consideration and if we do it together, I’m incredibly confident that we’ll come out of this virus even stronger as a nation than when we went into it.