I knew my speech against Senator Pauline Hanson’s COVID discrimination bill was going to get under a few people’s bonnets. Wouldn’t be the first time.
But I was still surprised by how wild and extreme the yelling from the cheap seats almost immediately became.
Egged on by political opportunists, they cracked open Photoshop and made the weirdest, ugliest memes you can imagine.
I had one anti-vaxxer One Nation candidate publish my phone number online.
I had people launching into my comments on posts from years ago, completely unrelated to COVID, just to call me a ‘slut’ or a ‘bogan’.
Thousands of angry comments. Some people commented 50 times, attacking anyone who supported me.
Some accused me of treason. Said I should die. Said I was crazy, stupid, ugly, fat, not good enough to be a Senator. Lovely stuff.
And you know what is crazy? I took the position I took on vaccinations because I still want these people to have happy, healthy lives.
I want them safe, even if they want me dead.
I don’t think unvaccinated people are bad people. I think they’re wrong, but I think that’s OK.
I’ve made the wrong call before, and if people wrote me off for being a bad person whenever I made the wrong call I’d feel pretty cross with them too.
I don’t think they should be forced to get vaccinated either.
What I support is choice.
I’m all for choice. I’m all for freedom.
And nine in 10 Australians have already chosen to do the smart thing.
These vaccines are a weapon to get our lives back to normal.
Some people are afraid of them, but they shouldn’t be.
The data is clear. Unvaccinated people are 10 times more likely to get COVID-19 than vaccinated people, and three times more likely to give it to someone else.
When they get it, the effect is much worse than if they’d had the vaccine.
By the time you’ve got it, it’s too late to get vaccinated.
People who can’t get vaccinated, they don’t get the benefits of becoming vaccinated.
Some people can’t be. Some people are going through chemo. Some people have immune system problems. Some people are too young. Kids. Babies.
If you’re pregnant and you get COVID-19, you’re up to three times more likely to have a premature birth.
Over the past 18 months in the UK, more than 600 pregnant women have been hospitalised with COVID-19, and given birth to a baby unable to breathe.
The mother, who was unvaccinated, had chosen not to get the vaccine because she was worried about what she’d read online of the effects of the vaccination on pregnant mothers.
She’d been lied to. What she’d read was wrong.
It was put out to undermine confidence in the vaccine, and that’s exactly what it did. And so she’s turned off her baby’s life support.
People say, ‘You’ve got the vaccine, you’re protected. What do you care if I’m vaccinated?’
We don’t get vaccinated just to protect ourselves. We do it to protect those who can’t protect themselves.
Everyone who does, does it to make us safer. We should celebrate them. Because they chose to side with the angels.
Nobody should be forced to do anything. But the freedom to choose cuts both ways.
Businesses that would shut down if they had a COVID case deserve a choice on whether that level of risk is acceptable to them.
Worksites deserve the choice of whether to employ unvaccinated people who are far more likely to get COVID-19, because it’s an OHS issue.
People carrying on about having their choices taken away from them around COVID-19 are getting things topsy turvy.
You can choose not to get vaccinated. And I support that.
But you can’t choose how the rest of society responds to your choice. Because we have freedoms too.
We won that freedom by rolling up our sleeves and getting the jab. We’re winning it for those who aren’t vaccinated.
You’re arguing there should be no consequences for you choosing not to get vaccinated. Sorry, that’s not how things work.
If you choose to smoke in a taxi, the taxi driver can kick you out.
You are not being discriminated against. You are experiencing the consequences of your choice.
That’s the real world. That’s what it means to be an adult.
I served in the Army for 10 years.
You don’t sign up in the army to make yourself safer. You sign up to put your life on the line so that other people’s lives will be protected.
It’s that spirit that our country’s built on. To do right by your mate.
I don’t want people getting sick and dying from a disease they don’t have to catch.
I want them healthy, happy, prosperous, living long enough to forget about the comments they left on my YouTube channel all the way back in 2021.
That’s why I hope they choose to get vaccinated.