The Greens are opposing the introduction of the reintroduced snake-returning bill in the Senate, as they fear it would put too many Australians at risk of contracting the virus.
Key points:The Government is hoping to pass the bill before Christmas with support from the GreensThe Greens want the legislation to include an end to the quarantine systemCurrently in the Australian Parliament, the bill to reintroduce the reintroduce introduced by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and is being opposed by the Greens.
Mr Greens said the reintroductions would be a “slap in the face” to Australians who were already facing a significant and “cruel” burden of the virus and who had already suffered “greater suffering”.
“There are more than a million Australians currently in quarantine for coronavirus, which is a very real, real risk,” he said.
“We want to get rid of the quarantine, to remove the barriers to getting around, to get people back into their homes and back into work and into their communities, and we want to do that through an end of the Australian quarantine system.”
Mr Greens, who is the head of the Greens’ National Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resources, said the bill would be “unnecessarily cruel” for those already facing the virus, but would not be “crucial” for many Australians.
“The bill will put too much at risk to people who are already vulnerable and will not be able to get out of the current situation, which means they will be put in a situation where they are at risk from contracting the coronaviruses,” he told ABC Radio.
“They’re already facing such a severe threat, and they’re already suffering, they’re getting sicker by the day.”
He said the legislation could be “easily” watered down to suit the wishes of the Government.
“What we want is for the Government to put a clause in the bill that they’ll give assurances that they won’t put in place the quarantine measures that will be required to bring back people into quarantine and prevent them contracting the disease,” Mr Greens said.
The legislation to reintroduces the reintroduciton bill, which was introduced by then Prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2013, has been referred to the Standing Committee on Health, which will hold a hearing on Tuesday.
It is understood the committee will hear the Government’s submissions on whether it should have a separate hearing on the reintroduction bill.
The bill is now headed to the Senate.
Topics:virus-and-diseases-and/or-health,human-interest,disease-control,government-and‑politics,parliament,australiaContact Nick PritchardMore stories from New South Wales