Main Image: Church Vaccine Mandate Question

Labor Dodges Question on Church Vaccine Mandates

14 September 2021

1.9 MINS

On a recent edition of ABC’s Insiders program, the former Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, avoided questions concerning church exemptions from vaccine mandates.

Plibersek Comments on Mandatory Vaccines for Churches

The ABC released the footage on Twitter on Sunday, showing the current Shadow Minister for Education and Training emphasising the importance for public health of all eligible citizens getting their COVID-19 shots.

The post poses the question, ‘Should church leaders be granted an exemption from vaccine mandates for churchgoers?’ and quotes Plibersek’s response:

“Community leaders have a responsibility to talk to their congregations in this case and convince them that vaccination is a gift…” (Tanya Plibersek)


In the video, Speers did not attempt to clarify Plibersek’s position, leaving it unclear what the Federal Opposition’s position on mandatory vaccines for church attendance is.

The Vaccine Apartheid Controversy

It comes in light of recent revelations that the New South Wales government was considering banning unvaccinated individuals from church attendance.

The Ezekiel Declaration, a popular online statement opposing government passports, had suggested that such a move might take place.

“…we as Christian leaders find it untenable that we would be expected to refuse entry into our churches to a subgroup of society based on their medical choice.” (The Ezekiel Declaration)

Consequently, the Declaration was criticised by some Christian leaders, who suggested that these suggestions were ‘preemptive’ and ‘premature’.

9News’s Chris O’Keefe originally broke the church passport news, putting the lie to suggestions that the Ezekiel Declaration’s claims were outrageous and unrealistic.

“Roadmap to Freedom”: For the Vaccinated

Since this controversy, the NSW government has released its official so-called ‘Roadmap to freedom’, which includes churches and places of worship on the list of venues and services to which only vaccinated individuals will be allowed access once 70 per cent vaccination has been achieved.

“Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap.” (NSW Government Roadmap)

With over 3,000 church leaders and almost 24,000 members and attendees adding their names, the Ezekiel Declaration, the main statement opposing the recent government measures, continues to gain traction.

Pushback from the Christian Community

The controversy around vaccine mandates for churches and the Ezekiel Declaration has sparked significant uproar from Christian leaders online, with many high profile personalities weighing in.

Senior leaders in the Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian denominations have voiced their opposition to any form of divisive vaccine passport system in the church.

Responding on Facebook, Martyn Iles, the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, stated the following:

“The vaccine itself is not a major concern of mine, but coercion is a very, very serious misstep.” (Martyn Iles, ACL)

This recent episode on Insiders has raised questions around the federal opposition’s position on mandating vaccines for church attendees, with Plibersek unwilling to show either support or opposition to the measures.

You can add your name to the Ezekiel Declaration here.


Image by Crawford Forum on Wikimedia Commons.

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