29 June 2021 | Michael Moore | firstname.lastname@example.org
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(Video) Committee on the 27th April 2021
Extract from the Committee on the 27th April 2021
It speaks for itself.
CHAIR: Senator Lambie.
Senator LAMBIE: I just wanted to speak about the no-fault vaccination compensation scheme. It would give government support to people who have had a bad reaction to a COVID vaccine without them having to win a case through the courts. We know that complications from the AstraZeneca vaccine are rare but extremely serious. I want to know why the government hasn't stepped up to help a few people who get very sick after having a vaccine. More importantly, I want to know where that recommendation came from. Was that from the department, or was that a decision of the government?
Dr Murphy : The previous decision not to go down that path was a decision of the government. I think it's important to note that the government believes that there are very adequate protections for people who might suffer an injury related to a vaccine in our current system. Ultimately, it's a decision of government. We can't comment further than that.
Senator LAMBIE: Okay. If they say compensation is available through the courts, and they're giving indemnity insurance to vaccine suppliers—
Dr Murphy : Correct.
Senator LAMBIE: People can only get compensation if they go through the courts. Obviously, the government would know this, and, if it doesn't, it needs to get a handle on the situation. Most people cannot afford to go through the courts. The government is delusional; that's the first thing. And, by the way, the courts are chocked. Even if they win, that would be an uphill battle for them. Do you think that the lack of a compensation system has something to do with why people are so hesitant to go and get a jab? Trust me, Dr Murphy: as a senator, I'm saying, 'You're not going to be compensated.' I'm making that very clear to people out there. I'm not going to sit there and lie to them. I'm telling them how hard it's going to be if something goes wrong. That is my job, as a senator. How do you think the government is going to go by us telling the truth out there to the people, saying, 'You know what? If something goes wrong, you're stuffed, because your government isn't going to look after you and you're not getting compensation'?
Dr Murphy : I would hope you wouldn't say to the public that if something goes wrong they're stuffed. That would not be good for—
Senator LAMBIE: That's the truth, Dr Murphy. It takes years to get through the court system. If you do get sick from this stuff, you will get sick—I'm not going to sit here and pretend that's not happening or that it won't happen, because then I'm not telling the truth, Dr Murphy.
CHAIR: Senator Lambie, let Dr Murphy respond.
Dr Murphy : I don't think I can add anything more to it. It's been a decision of government to not go down that path. The government believes there are adequate protections in our current system. I don't think we can advance that discussion any further.
CHAIR: Would that be something that the Attorney-General's Department would be looking at, though? That wouldn't necessarily be in your patch, would it?
Dr Murphy : I imagine, in the past, when a proposal like that was considered, it would have involved Attorneys-General's, Treasury, Finance and a range of departments, including Health.
CHAIR: You'd provide some advice on it?
Dr Murphy : It was before all of our time, when it was last considered, but I think those departments would have provided advice on it.
CHAIR: Senator Lambie—final question.
Senator LAMBIE: So 25 other countries have a no-fault compensation scheme. New Zealand has one. The United Kingdom has one. The United States has one. Has the department looked at how the schemes work in those countries to see if we should run something similar here? Better still, has it thought about the cost, if COVID-19 does spread, for the people that didn't show up to get the vaccine? Has it thought about what that cost is going to be, up against the cost for the ones that may get sick—the few that do—who we're not going to compensate?
Has there been any comparison done on that?
Dr Murphy : We have looked at the schemes in other countries. We've looked at those, and I think those were looked at before when advice was provided to government. And, obviously, when this matter was considered previously by government, the cost of a scheme would have been considered then. I don't think any comparative costing has been done the way you suggested.
CHAIR: Senator Lambie, I'm going to intervene there because we are after eight o'clock and I think it is important that we let people go home at this late hour of the day. Thank you to Health officials for attending today. Please provide answers to questions on notice by 10 May. I thank every witness who's given evidence to the committee today. I thank my colleagues for attending. The committee now stands adjourned.