OPINION: Pasin on vaccine mandates and the principle on freedom

OPINION: Pasin on vaccine mandates and the principle on freedom

As the vaccine rollout gathers pace and we look forward to re-opening Australia's international and domestic borders, more and more emphasis is being put on the requirement to be vaccinated in order to fully participate in society.

In this regard, I am becoming increasingly concerned by the actions of State Governments effectively mandating vaccinations.

I expressed my concerns with this approach last month in the Federal Parliament.

While I am fully vaccinated, I made this choice freely.

I was not coerced or made to take the vaccination against my will.

My job was not threatened nor was I facing the prospect of being unable to take my daughters to the Monarto Zoo, Adelaide Oval or a play café.

Instead, I made a free choice to get vaccinated to protect myself and my loved ones because I believed taking the vaccine was the best thing that I could do to help keep our community safe.

We live in one of the worlds great democracies.

That democracy is underpinned by the freedom of the individual.

Vaccine mandates, indirect or otherwise, threaten this principle.

Faced with a national emergency Australians have always done the right thing freely.

Men left our shores in 1914 to defend our freedoms and our way of life and when asked to vote in the conscription debate in 1916 and 1917, those same diggers voted against mandating enlistment because they knew matters as significant as this had to be made by individuals of their own free will.

Individuals must be free to choose and as individuals, they must take responsibly for the consequences of their choices.

Living with Covid, should not involve the need to flash our vaccination status around to get about our daily lives.

Outside of an aged care setting you should not need a vaccination to get a job, sit in a café or watch your favourite sporting team.

To be clear, I am a pro-vaxxer.

I encourage all Australians to roll-up their sleeves and get vaccinated, but importantly, I want a post-COVID society that does not impinge on our freedoms and a community that remains inclusive, regardless of an individual's vaccination status.

As a society we need to stop and think about the consequences of, effectively, forcing vaccinations on the unwilling and what this means for our fundamental freedoms.

- Tony Pasin.