Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner called all people who are against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, or supports those who are against the mandates, “anti-vaxxers.”
“If you are anti-mandate, you are absolutely anti-vax,” Gunner told reporters today. “If you support, champion, give a green-light, give comfort, support. Anybody who argues against the vaccine—you are an anti-vaxxer, absolutely.”
Gunner then told NT residents who were against mandates to “stuff it” as the NT government was going to ensure that as many Territorians as possible are vaccinated.
Referring to the National Cabinets’s COVID-19 modelling report which the governments have used to plan a COVIDSafe recovery for Australia, the Chief Minister said the report had outlined the vaccine target for reopening at 80 percent double-dose.
“Our vaccine mandate is absolutely crucial to protecting lives, particularly Aboriginal lives, and I will never back away from supporting vaccines,” he said. “Anyone out there who comes for the mandate—you are anti-vax.”
When asked if the community become more comfortable with accepting new cases as the territory opens up, Gunner said, “you are absolutely going to get COVID and you will get COVID either vaxxed or unvaxxed … and I would much rather you get COVID vaxxed.”
Gunner revealed that around 400 public servants in the NT government have had their employment terminated due to their vaccination status.
“A small number of these are frontline roles that will be filled with new hires, but overall, there will be a reduction in the public service of about 300 positions,” he said.
The comments by Gunnar came after Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Nov. 18 called on governments to step back and let Australians take their lives and freedoms back.
“We’re not in favour of mandatory vaccines imposed by the government,” Morrison said. “Businesses can make their own choices under the law, but we’re not about telling them what to do or telling Australians what to do.”
However, Morrison has received criticism for his comments with Labor MP Josh Burns asking the prime minister in parliament during question time on Monday why his video clip on Facebook excluded his comments denouncing violence during the Melbourne protests and only included the section where he criticised vaccine mandates.
“I have been very clear in denouncing those things,” Morrison told the Parliament.
“My government stands for the national plan that we took forward and we need to ensure that all Australians can look forward with confidence.”
“That’s what we’re focusing on, the positives of the future about where we’re heading as a country,” he said.