“If you thought last year was hard, you should see the next three!”

If your child received this text from a bully at the school “Break Up”, you’d be concerned.

But this was from a 44 year old father of three. This was the Deputy Premier of our State, sneering at the cross-benchers in our Queensland Parliament on Wednesday.

“If you thought last year was hard, you should see the next three!”

Tell that to the 12,000 Queenslanders still  locked out through no fault of their own.

Especially tell that to the Queenslanders in “refugee” camps on the wrong side of the Queensland border. Aren’t we all proud of that!

“If you thought last year was hard, you should see the next three!”

Tell that to the Queenslanders who – no exaggeration - have been left maimed, crippled and even dead from their treatment in the Queensland Health system.

Tell that to the Queenslanders whose loved ones have died in their arms waiting for an ambulance.

“If you thought last year was hard, you should see the next three!”

Tell that to the 400 small business owners whose fire service businesses were closed by the Palaszczuk Government.

For that matter, tell that to all the small business owners worried about enforcing Palaszczuk’s vaccine passport rules from December 18.

“If you thought last year was hard, you should see the next three!”

And maybe the Minister for State Potholes can tell that to the families of the 250 people killed on Queensland roads so far this year.

The Bully’s Promises

Sorry to repeat myself. Just like a playground bully, Miles’ promise is childishly sinister.

But it is also quite sincere – so that is something for us all to look forward to after Christmas!

(Poor old Queensland.)

Playground Parliament

It didn’t feel like the Queensland people’s parliament this week. Instead, it felt like part of Labor’s federal campaign machine.

Treasurer Dick used ministerial statements to take us on a ramble to France. It seems he is concerned about their national interests and it is all the PM’s fault!

Reckless Coffee Drinkers
Meanwhile, the Premier accused the PM of being “reckless” for suggesting that unvaccinated people should be free to buy a cup of coffee in Brisbane given the 70% vaccination mark has been reached.

Show Us the Advice
The Premier didn’t have any medical advice that makes this comment reckless. The PM has shared his advice-  at National Cabinet and publicly.

Furner Fails at Comedy, too!
Having to impress the ministers’ bully-bench, on Wednesday even the Minister for Agriculture joined in the arrogance.

I asked him what his plans for the Longreach Pastoral College are.

Available for Photo Ops

This is the same Minister who flew all the way to Longreach on December 5, 2018 for a media photo op of him padlocking the college gates.
Three years later – we still don’t have a plan. Minister Furner has refused to fund the RAPAD  business case to restore training at the campus – because that would mean admitting he was wrong to close it.

Not a Ratepayer Responsibility
The Longreach Regional Council has declined his “kind” offer to purchase it. Ratepayers should not be funding this undertaking. They certainly don’t have to in SEQ.

Meanwhile, AgForce surveys show an unmet need for agricultural training in the west and north.

Bully-bench Jeers
It would appear Labor has no answers. Only sneers and winks and chuckles amongst the bully-bench.  I got the Speaker’s boot and was sent from the Chamber, but I responded the next day. You can read my speech here.

Journalists Protected…

And so the week wore on to a weary end. The new evidence laws were introduced. These are overdue. If passed they will give journalists protection from being forced to reveal whistleblower identities. Only they won’t protect them from the CCC and the OIA – so it is no real protection.

Coercive powers have been left intact at both the CCC and the OIA.

The Most Cynical Award

Last sitting week it was tie between Steven Miles announcing an Inquiry into the OIA and Mick de Brenni announcing an Inquiry into the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Both Ministers will be able to say that asking any questions – rude or otherwise – about the activities of either body is  out of order because there is an inquiry underway.

Federal Health
This week there was a clear winner – Yvette D’Ath’s Inquiry into the federal health system. Whacko! It reports just in time to help Labor’s federal election campaigning. Groans from the Queensland taxpayer who is funding all of this.

The Hail Mary Answered

Despite the politics, Queenslanders keep humbly trying to do their part.

Last time I wrote, I said we needed a Hail Mary Pass to lift our vaccine rates and it looks like Queenslanders have delivered. We are now over the 70 per cent double-dose rate and on our way to 80 per cent.

Much of the credit for this is being given to the Premier’s plan to punish unvaccinated Queenslanders when we reach 80 per cent – on or before December 18.

Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

What happens then? Unvaccinated Queenslanders will be unable to fully participate in community and economic life.

And the kicker is that their fellow Queenslanders will be expected to enforce this.

An Army of Unpaid Enforcers
The idea is the gawky 15 year old boy working weekends at your local café is supposed to evict the big beefy bloke refusing to show his vaccination certificate.

Acting at their Own Risk
The Police Commissioner has said the police will attend to enforce the rules, but Gregory has huge distances and a thin blue force trying to cover it. By the time that lad calls the police and an officer turns up, the offender will have done his worst and be long gone.

You can click here to read about the new regime, the full exclusions and see the Frequently Asked Questions.

They Will Get the Basics of Life

Under the Premier’s rules, unvaccinated Queenslanders will still be able to get the basics of life. They can go to supermarkets and pharmacies.

Then there are the 50:50 Propositions

Unvaccinated people will still be treated at hospitals, but they won’t be allowed to visit other people in hospital.

They can stay in a hotel; they can’t eat or drink there. Merry Christmas!

No Jab, No Job

Unvaccinated business owners will not be able to attend or operate their businesses. In essence, the government is saying “No Jab, no job” – even for business owners.

Vaccine Mandates Expanded

The Palaszczuk Government has also expanded Vaccine Mandates. Now  all health sector workers must now be double-dosed. This whether you work for yourself or someone else. Whether you are clinical (i.e. treating clients) or non-clinical (answering the phone).

Doctors, Pharmacists and Allied Health

Having had to sack their own Queensland Health employees for not being vaccinated, the Palaszczuk Government has now applied the rule to – among others - GPs, pharmacies, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, psychologists and so on.

Volunteers, Too
Most of these health workers operate as small businesses. The vaccination orders will apply to all their non-clinical staff as well – shop staff, receptionists and typists.

For groups like BUSHkids, the mandate also applies to their volunteers.

Wrecking our Rural Health Services

We don’t have the workforces to easily replace these people in rural Queensland. If the Labor policies drive them out of business, it will be hard to replace them or get the services back.

How Does This Help?

Sacking workers seems an odd way to prepare the health system for a surge in COVID19 cases.

Doesn’t Vaccination Do That Anyway?

Nor is it clear how any of this increases the protection of the average person on the street. The whole point of getting the vaccinated rate to 80 or even 90 per cent is to protect us while we learn to live with COVID19.

If we do that, why would we need to discriminate or have vaccine passports?

Anti-Mandate is Not Anti-Vaccination

Nearly every person who has contacted me about their concerns with “No Jab, No Job” mandates or with the separate issue of vaccine passports, starts the conversation by saying “I am vaccinated but…”.

I, too, am fully vaccinated. I am doing everything I can to urge people in Gregory to get vaccinated, as you will know from my newsletter.

It seems to me that both the mandates and the passports are being used to force the vaccination rate up as quickly as possible.

Why Queenslanders Had Ground To Make UP
After speaking against Astra Zeneca and doing very little to supplement GPs through mass vaccination hubs, it is like the Palaszczuk Government suddenly woke up to the danger they had put us in.

 Now they are kicking the cat for their own mistakes.

Other Options to Punishment?

All week, Queensland Labor took potshots at the PM because he has said he is against a general vaccination mandate.

While taking swipes at him, Queensland Labor said nothing about why they had to deny the human right to choose. They said nothing about what other options might work to get Queenslanders vaccinated.

Access Has Been an Issue

It is undeniable that access has been a big issue on the Central Highlands which missed out on the involvement of the RFDS enjoyed in the Central West. At the start, only one GP was administering vaccinations for an area as big as Tasmania.

This has really improved, and we now have GPs and pharmacies involved. But Queensland Health’s efforts are still sporadic. Through the Central Queensland Health and Hospital Service, I have asked for after hours vaccinations to be offered.

Young Workers Need After Hours Access

Our weakest rates are in young, healthy people who don’t normally go to the GP or chemist. On the Central Highlands, all fit young people work. After-hours access is so important because GPs and pharmacies are closed after hours.

Last week, PHN finally offered after hours jabs but in a side-street location that few people knew about and where there would be little drive-by visibility. This is an access problem.

Thanks to the Bosses
The Central Highlands has now reached over 70 per cent single doses. In three weeks that should become 70 per cent double dosed. The unsung heroes have been the private bosses in businesses – small and large – who gave workers support to get jabbed.

Will We Get Locked Out At Christmas?

The Premier has said that after December 18 surges of infections will be controlled by “local” lockdowns. She said the decision to lockdown a shire would be linked to low vaccination rates.

Given the number of Gregory people who travel away during the Christmas summer holidays, we need to keep lifting our vaccination rates so we don’t get caught like the Queensland “refugees”.

My Question on Notice

If I visit family at the Sunshine Coast and the west gets locked down, can I still get home? This week I lodged a Question on Notice asking whether absent residents will be stopped from returning home if their area is in a local lockdown.

Equally, if family visit me and the area goes into lockdown, will they be prevented from leaving?

Please Get Vaccinated

Whatever the answer to my question, the real solution lies in the choices we are making about vaccination now. Your decision really does help your community as well as yourself.

Vaccination Locations

If you are still waiting to get vaccinated, you can find the nearest GP or pharmacy provider by clicking here.

It seems impossible to discover when Queensland Health is doing pop-up clinics in one of our towns or at one of our schools. If you want to try for that, my suggestion is to ring 134 COVID, the Queensland Government helpline.

Passport Concerns Lead to Tears in CQ

This week small business owners in CQ have been rallying to express their concerns about the impractical requirements placed on them to enforce the exclusion of unvaccinated Queenslanders.

Two Months to Flatten the Curve was Two Years Ago

I would like to tell you that it is so impractical that surely it can only be a short term stick to beat us with? But then again, two years ago this started as “two months to flatten the curve”.

How do I get my Vaccination Proof?

Each time you receive a vaccination you are updated on the national immunization register. You can now download proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations through your mygov account. If you don’t know if you have one, or what it is, you can click here to learn more.

If you do know, click here for instructions on how to download your vaccination certificate.

Now Link to the Check In Qld App

From today, you can then link it to your Check In Qld App. Click here to find out how. Apparently this will make it easier to both check in and give proof of vaccination quickly.

Parliament Gets the Blues

Queensland Parliament House was lit blue and white this week to mark national asbestos awareness month.

8,000 Deaths in Two Years

Over the past two years somewhere between 900 and 1500 Australians have died of corona virus.

In the same period, more than 8,000 Aussies have died of asbestos-related diseases. It is a terrible death.

3,000 Products

Sadly the number of cases are increasing every year.

Asbestos fibres were used in more than 3,000 building and decorator products, for decades, right up until 1990. For commercial buildings it was 2004.

Check Before You Chip, Cut, Sand or Bash

These days, most tradies are asbestos aware. Most home renovators are not.

 Before you start chipping or bashing away, you can check the safety at www.asbestosawareness.com.au . They have a comprehensive asbestos products data base and over 1500 downloadable resources to help you.

Finally – Congratulations to the Class of 2021

I can’t finish today without congratulating the Class of 2021. You did it! Today your school journey is over and you step out on your first adult chapter of life.

We wish you well and hope your futures bring everything you hope for. I know the path to success is never without thorns but, believe it or not, your parents and teachers have prepared you well. So enjoy the journey.

Thanks for Reading

Thanks for reading. Remember, if I can help in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The Longreach office phone number is (07) 4521 5700. The Emerald office phone number is (07) 4913 1000. Or you can email me at [email protected]

If you wish to share this email with a friend or relative, you can simply forward it to them. If you wish to subscribe you can do so for free at my website here.  If you no longer wish to receive this email, simply unsubscribe by clicking on the link below.

Kindest Regards,

Lachlan Millar MP
Member for Gregory