Prime Minister Scott Morrison has slammed Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese’s proposal to pay people to get Covid-19 jabs. During Parliament on Tuesday, Albanese proposed $300 payments for everyone fully vaccinated.
However, Morrison has since criticised the proposal, calling it “a bad idea” and “an insult to Australians”.
“The leader of the opposition’s proposal is a vote of no confidence and an insult to Australians,” Morrison said during question time on Tuesday afternoon. “Suggesting they won’t get vaccinated unless you dole out the cash … that is an insult.
“That is an insult to every Australian, those 80 per cent of older Australians who have turned up and rolled up their sleeves — they didn’t need the cash.”
Earlier, Albanese told Today the cash incentive was the only way forward. “This is something that we need to do,” he said. “We need to get our vaccination rates up; we are running last in the developed world.
“This would be good for our health, but also would provide a much-needed stimulus at a time when workers and small businesses are really struggling to get by.”
So far, only 15.5 per cent of Australians are vaccinated — that’s a stark contrast compared to the United States (50.2 per cent) and the United Kingdom (57.7 per cent).
However, while Morrison wasn’t a big fan of the cash incentive, he did flag an incentive like a vaccine lottery may be a better fit.
“The fiscal difference is pretty huge … and we’ve had lots of private offers of how things like that might work.”
Some countries such as the US have already introduced things such as lottery schemes to get more people onboard. Free beer, doughnuts and veggies have also been up for grabs. Meanwhile, in Serbia, people are being offered the equivalent of $40 just to get their first dose of the vaccine.
The comments come just a few weeks after Australia’s biggest lottery provider Tabcorp flagged the possibility of hosting a draw to encourage people to get the jab. In a statement provided to 9News at the time, the lottery provider said while it was all for offering a dedicated lottery, it needs to work out some “complex considerations” first.
“The conduct of lotteries in Australia is highly regulated in each jurisdiction,” the statement read. “Introducing a dedicated lottery for those vaccinated would require, among other things, navigating the requirements of our state lottery licences and responsible gambling practices, the approval of state government regulators, gaining clarification from the Therapeutic Goods Administration around incentivising vaccinations, and maintaining customer privacy.”
Tabcorp added it’s “happy to consider other suggestions to support the vaccine roll-out”.