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Morrison attacks state-imposed vaccine mandates

Scott Morrison believes unvaccinated Queenslanders should be able to go into a cafe for a coffee.

The prime minister considers vaccine mandates limiting entry to retail and hospitality venues an overreach.

“They should be able to go and get a cup of coffee in Brisbane when you’re over 80 per cent, regardless of whether you’ve had the vaccine or not,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

“As we get above 80 per cent in particular, when the scientific advice shows us and the research shows us, that means Australians can have their lives back.”

The prime minister indicated the only mandatory vaccines he supported were for healthcare workers.

“We’re not in favour of mandatory vaccines imposed by the government. Businesses can make their own choices under the law,” he said.

Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles accused the prime minister of stoking division.

“He is so desperate to claw together a coalition of anti-vaxxers for his own political benefit,” he said.

“(Queenslanders) do not deserve to be undermined by a PM more interested in currying favour with coffee baron donors and lunatic backbenchers than the health and the jobs of Queenslanders.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was reluctant to buy into the argument but criticised the lack of federal action on vaccination.

“The only reason we had lockdowns in this state is because we didn’t have a vaccine,” he said.

“It’s time for us to deliver the national plan that was agreed to by national cabinet, which (the prime minister) chairs.”

Victoria will scrap all remaining COVID-19 restrictions from midnight as the state nears a 90 per cent fully vaccinated rate.

Double-dosed Victorians will able to dance in nightclubs and have unlimited visitors to their homes, while cafes and restaurants will no longer be subject to density caps.

The state recorded a slight uptick in COVID cases, with 1007 infections and 12 deaths reported on Thursday.

There were 262 cases and three deaths in NSW, while a further 25 cases were detected in the ACT, the highest daily figure for nearly a month.

No new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Northern Territory overnight, following a cluster in Katherine and a remote Indigenous community.

The national double-dose vaccination rate for over-16s stands at 84.2 per cent, while 91.1 per cent have had their first dose.

More than 128,000 vaccines were administered nationally on Wednesday.

AAP

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