Vaccination passports plan facing resistance

By Chris Johnson

Thursday September 9, 2021

Chief minister Andrew Barr has expressed opposition to a vaccination passport being added to the app.
Chief minister Andrew Barr has expressed opposition to a vaccination passport being added to the app. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Federal government plans for vaccination passports to start being issued from next month are facing hiccups in some states and territories.

The proposed phone app will add a QR code to regular passport information that shows the holder’s vaccination status. 

The hope is that the passports will help facilitate the reopening of overseas travel, and the aim is for the apps to be able to be accessed by border officials around the world. 

But it’s not other nations causing the initial concern for Canberra’s plan. It is at the state and territory level where the ambition is proving somewhat problematic.

Concerns over the cost, legal and privacy issues, the potential for fraud, the rush to open up overseas travel, and even technical issues are already being expressed by some premiers and chief ministers.

The QR app being used in the ACT is also used in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania. The ACT holds the intellectual property rights for it.

Chief minister Andrew Barr has expressed opposition to a vaccination passport being added to the app. He said his government wouldn’t allow it on its app and at this stage probably won’t allow it to be added to the app being used in those other jurisdictions.

“The Commonwealth will have to do a lot more work to ensure these things are secure,” Barr said.

Queensland is yet to decide whether to adopt the vaccination passport, with premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying she is still mulling it over.

She has cited privacy concerns and difficulties in verifying passport information as the main areas where she is wanting more information.

However, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia seem to be onside. 

“I’m absolutely confident other states will come on board and I’m confident that Victoria and NSW will work together to make that happen,” NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Technical and security experts are also already raising concerns over QR apps being converted into passports. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison doesn’t like the term ‘vaccination passport’ but agrees with the argument for it. He has lumped the topic in with the general principle that more freedoms will be afforded the fully-vaccinated.  

“Any venue, any pub, any cafe, any restaurant, any shop can, has every right under Australia’s property laws to be able to deny entry to people who are unvaccinated,” he told Sky News this week.

Passports are the next step.


READ MORE:

Forging ahead with replicable vaccination certificates

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