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'Australians will start to regain freedoms when the nation is 101 per cent vaccinated...'

31 July 2021

1:18 PM

31 July 2021

1:18 PM

Australians have been promised they will start to regain freedoms when the nation is 101 per cent vaccinated, under a deal struck in National Cabinet.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said borders would remain closed – except to politicians and celebrities – until an impossibly high number of people had received the jab.

He said state premiers had agreed that lockdowns would end when 101 per cent of Australians had been vaccinated, or when Afghan astronauts colonised Mars – whichever came first.

“These are targets for all Australians to achieve,” he said.

Mr Morrison said National Cabinet had resisted the urge to put timelines on when more people than existed could be vaccinated.

“The Premiers and I agreed that it would not be good for our mental health to be locked down,” he said.

“But Australians can rest assured, their human rights will be restored when we restore their human rights, and we will get there when we get there.”

Mr Morrison said there had not yet been a decision on the vaccination rate to reach the final stage of the plan, which was living unrestricted.

“It is too hard to say what the situation will be in 2054,” Mr Morrison said. 

“There are too many unknowns before we can understand life as normal and, besides, who even remembers life as normal.” 

While Mr Morrison was stressing that “Australians will get this done by working together” the West Australia Premier Mark McGowan was insisting his state would do its own thing, reserving the right to enact lockdowns anywhere, at any time, for any reason, forever. 

Mr McGowan also hinted that his state might never reopen its borders.

“Why would we?” he said.

“If people from the eastern states are anything like those I’ve met in the National Cabinet, then we will have a ring of steel stretching from Eucla to Kununurra. And I mean literal steel.”

Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk — who has just returned from watching the Tokyo Olympics, and in November will see her Chief Health Officer become the state’s new governor — said she saw no reason to return to normal as she ordered 11 local government areas into lockdown.

“I quite like the new normal,” she said.

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