Vaccine passport pathway to freedom, not so fast says Barr

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has cautioned against creating a two tier society.

Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr has cautioned against putting Australia’s freedom eggs in the vaccine passport basket, saying such a move may be unfair.

Barr said the ACT would not force businesses to introduce a vaccination passport system.

“We don’t need the QR code and vaccine passports to drive up vaccination rates,” he said.

“It’s not an issue in the ACT. I understand it might be in other jurisdictions and they might pursue it.”

Barr is the first leader to question the philosophical implications of creating a society based on different levels of freedoms for their citizens according to their vaccination status.

Barr said he had raised concerns at national cabinet about “human rights issues” surrounding a vaccine passport system that refuses services to unvaccinated people.

”It’s not a path the ACT will go down in that regard,” he said.

The ACT’s current check-in app does not verify the identity of its users, similar to apps used in Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

NSW, Victoria and South Australia use check in apps that are linked to existing government services apps that contain personal data.

In the meantime, NSW and Victoria are pressing ahead with their carrot and stick approach to vaccinations, offering extra freedoms to those who are double jabbed.

“If you want to go and buy something which is regarded as a non-essential shop, you will put up the QR code and if it is not a green light saying you have been vaccinated, you won’t be welcome inside,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“We are giving venues plenty of notice and businesses plenty of notice, they can prepare for what that looks like.”

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said they were heading towards “a vaccinated economy, a vaccinated cultural life, a vaccinated world operating for those who can demonstrate they are fully and safely vaccinated”.

“The critical role for government is having systems in place firstly to get as many vaccinated as possible and then to have those foolproof and fair systems that can demonstrate who is and isn’t vaccinated,” he said.